There’s a lightness to Madison Beer’s voice as she dials into our call from sunny California. Perhaps, it’s because the 24-year-old artist has recently got a lot off her chest. After releasing her intimate new memoir The Half of It earlier this year, which unpacks an honest experience of navigating life in the spotlight, the artist is lending her voice to a new medium: her music.
If Beer’s acclaimed debut studio album, Life Support was like falling down the rabbit hole of lyrical magic, experimentation and a generous dose of limitless imagination, then her new single ‘Spinnin’ marks the end of a cathartic spiral, as Beer emerges from the chaos and comes into her own. Reflecting on the past two years, her new music takes audiences into an introspective era best describes as ‘Madison through the looking glass.’
Breaking onto the scene at just 12 years old, Beer has spellbound audiences (with over 2.4 billion streams earned worldwide) with her hypnotic vocals and complex lyrics that unpack the human experience of love, heartbreak, and self-discovery.
Ahead of the release of her new single ‘Spinnin’ the platinum-selling recording artist, songwriter, producer, and author opens up about the empowerment in being fearlessly vulnerable, her new music and how Lana Del Rey helped her rewrite the narrative of female comparison.
Marie Claire: Congratulations on your new single ‘Spinnin.’ Tell me about the inspiration behind your new music.
Madison Beer: After touring, I was excited and eager to return to the studio. I feel like I’ve grown and have learned a lot about myself in the past couple of years and this music was really me wanting to showcase and articulate that.
MC: You were signed and moved to L.A. when you were 12 years old. There’s a lot of negativity around growing up online and achieving such a huge following so young, and of course, it does come with its challenges, but what has been the best opportunity or experience that your music and your career has afforded you?
MB: That’s a very interesting question. I always get asked about the negative stuff and I am very vocal about the negative side of [social media and growing up in the spotlight], but it’s nice to hear someone ask me about the positives. That puts me in a different mindset. I did have a good time [growing up] there were times that were awesome.
I remember shooting my first music video and I couldn’t believe that people were funding this video for me. The teenage years were quite crazy for me and the biggest perks have been my fans, getting to know me and loving these people that I would have never gotten the chance to know if it wasn’t for my career and my music and the opportunities that were given to me. I feel very grateful for the life that I was given and the work that I’ve put in and the people that have supported me, that’s the best part of everything.
MC: In an interview with Lana Del Rey, you said that in your earlier years, you felt you couldn’t talk about who you were inspired by. How did you make peace with that?
It’s still something that I teeter with. It’s hard, being someone like me, who’s been compared to [other artists] my whole career. I’ve always been vocal and honest about who inspires me as a musician. I make music to inspire people. I’m hoping that somebody out there hears my music and says ‘Wow, I would love to create something that makes me feel the way that song made me feel.’ For me, saying ‘Lana Del Rey inspired me’ has never been a negative thing.
I think a lot of it has to do with misogyny; when a woman references another woman, it’s a competition. And it’s a fight. It’s who’s better, who’s prettier and who’s skinnier. It becomes so toxic. I’ve seen that so much. Lana [Del Rey] is a great example of undoing that. She’s been so supportive and has instilled more confidence in me [than anyone else]. She told me that she feels inspired by me with some of my music, which is insane. Whereas, if I ever say someone inspired me I get attacked for it. I don’t really understand that. Why are we making music if it’s not to inspire each other?
MC: Your music videos are always so beautiful and iconic. What can fans expect to come as you enter this new era creatively?
MB: For the last 12 years, I’ve gotten dolled up and worn these very styled outfits in my videos and while I loved having fun and playing dress up, I always have felt like I was playing a character. For me, it’s all about returning to myself. ‘Spinnin’ is very stripped back and I compare it to the video for my song ‘Selfish’ and I remember feeling so myself when I was recording that video. I felt like me and don’t get me wrong; I love makeup and full glam, but my new music feels very raw and to the bone of who I am.
MC: It’s interesting because often we find comfort in playing characters where we’re not as exposed and vulnerable.
MB: I think it has a lot to do with the growth and the progress I’ve made mentally. I’ve been on the self-love journey and I know it might sound really silly like ‘What’s the big deal it’s makeup,’ but it can be intimidating when you’re used to wearing a full face and makeup and having constant touch-ups. It feels so good to me.
MC: I read that you’re currently collecting vintage books. Is there anything still on your wish list that you haven’t sourced yet?
MB: I’ve been doing this for as long as I can remember. There are so many books that I am looking for but I can’t even name them because they’re so secret that I don’t want to put it out there for anyone else to snag them. But I’m currently looking for a first-edition copy of Alice in Wonderland. If anyone is reading this who has one, I’ll pay any price.
MC: What song on your new album do you resonate most with right now?
MB: Spinnin’, that’s the song that’s closest to my heart at this moment.
Madison’s new single Spinnin is out now.