IT has been an emotional and often difficult journey for Madison Beer in the run-up to her debut album’s release.
She was discovered at the age of 12 by Justin Bieber after uploading a cover of Etta James’s song At Last to YouTube.
It has been an emotional and often difficult journey for Madison Beer in the run-up to her debut album’s releaseCredit: Matthew Priestley
But today, at 21, she says the experience made her stronger and helped her grow into the artist she has become.
Madison has recorded songs inspired by her mental health battle and the effects of being trolled
“I look back and it was so difficult for me to even wrap my head around it, as it hurt so much,” says Madison on a call from her home in Los Angeles.
“Then, I was 16 and I thought my world had been ripped out from under me.
“It was terrible. But I look at it now and it was a blessing in disguise.
“I am who I want to be and I have my artistry, so I’m grateful that it happened. And in Life Support, I’ve made the album I wanted to make.”
It has not been easy for the singer, who has struggled with mental-health problems and been the target of hateful abuse through social media — including comments about her looks and career that left her plagued with self-doubt.
The New York-born singer thought her dreams had ended when she parted company from Scooter Braun, the former manager of Taylor SwiftCredit: Getty Images – Getty
She says: “For a really long time, I didn’t love myself and I didn’t feel worthy of anything.
“I’d be scrolling on Instagram for hours down this rabbit hole of negativity. Now, my biggest tip of advice to anybody else going through this would be to develop a strong relationship with yourself, first and foremost.”
A diagnosis in 2019 of borderline personality disorder helped Mad-ison come to terms with those uncertainties.
She says: “It gave me a lot of insight. I felt really drained. I was put through the wringer of the psychiatric world. I’d been told it was schizophrenia, then bipolar.
She was discovered at the age of 12 by Justin Bieber after uploading a cover of Etta James’s song At Last to YouTubeCredit: Getty Images
“When I finally got the diagnosis of BPD from multiple psychiatrists, it felt really good.
“It gave me insight — and a reason why I do certain things or am a certain way.
“I was able have some clarity on who I am.”
And it was the therapeutic studio sessions she underwent while making the record that led her to name it Life Support.
She says: “It’s a very emotional record for me. There were some days I went to the studio and it was my refuge.”
Despite the bumpy road after being discovered at 12, today, at 21, she says the experience made her stronger and helped her grow into the artist she has becomeCredit: Getty Images
Effortlessly and Good In Goodbye are gorgeous songs inspired by Madison’s battle for mental health and the effects of being trolled upon her anxiety.
She says: “I’ve developed a thick skin because I’ve been through pretty difficult things — offline as well. And so I’m kind of a tough cookie at this point.
“Now I’m, ‘I’d rather be the bitch getting talked s**t about than the miserable one talking the st.’
“But it took me a long time to stop seeking that outward validation from random strangers on the internet. I’ve limited my relationship with social media.”
It has not been easy for the singer, who has struggled with mental-health problems and been the target of hateful abuse through social mediaCredit: Getty Images – Getty
Madison reckons the worst of the online abuse came when she was only 16.
She says: “It was vile and vicious. There’s so many people online who are brave when they’re behind a keyboard.
“They say things they would never say in person. It’s cyber-bullying. And it’s human nature to hyper-fixate on the negative, even when there is so much positive.”
She adds: “Now I mute anything about myself because it makes me upset. It’s hurtful.
“It used to destroy me. I’ve been doing this since I was little, so I grew up as somebody who had a value put on my looks.
“That’s been a thing since I was a little girl — since I was on the cover of a magazine when I was four years old.
A diagnosis in 2019 of borderline personality disorder helped Madison come to terms with her issuesCredit: Getty Images – Getty
“It’s something that I’ve been conditioned to think about my whole life, which can really dehumanise you. It can make you feel like that’s all you’re good for.
“And as someone who has much more to offer than something so superficial, it can suck sometimes.
“It can affect my relationships and it can affect the way I view myself. It’s something my therapist and I try to work through.”
Three things were essential to Madison as she set about crafting her debut album.
Those were, she says: “That it was genuine, authentic and em- powering. There’s no point singing songs which are reading off a script.
Madison says the messages in her songs are really important to herself and her fansCredit: Getty Images – Getty
“And I want it to empower but not in a preachy way.”
Madison says the messages in her songs are really important to herself and her fans.
She says: “I want young girls to listen to this album and feel empowered — about themselves, about their relationships.
“If he’s making your mascara run more than he’s making you happy, then maybe it’s time for him to go. Growing up is such an important time.
“With a song like Blue, I want them to know when it’s time to leave a relationship.
Talking about online abuse, she says: ‘It was vile and vicious. There’s so many people online who are brave when they’re behind a keyboard’Credit: Instagram/@madisonbeer
“With a song like Selfish, I want them to know that it’s OK to reminisce and get sad about somebody who treated you poorly.
“I’m trying to show all the different sides of empowerment. I hope this record encourages people to have strength and provides healing.”
Our talk turns briefly to the new documentary Framing Britney Spears, which debuted the night before our chat.
Madison says: “I haven’t watched it all yet but I’ve seen parts and it was crazy (for Spears).”
Life Support reveals the life and energy in Madison’s music — and with 17 songs on the album, she gives fans enough to make up for the long wait for her debut.
Blue is very Lana Del Rey, while other standouts include the dreamy pop numbers Baby and Stained Glass.
Madison says she is ‘trying to show all the different sides of empowerment’Credit: Instagram/@madisonbeer
Inspired by Del Rey, Radiohead, Depeche Mode and Tame Impala, Madison says it was important for her to take the creative lead on Life Support, the singer sharing co-production and co-writing duties.
She has been involved in creating her music videos from start to finish.
Madison says: “I know how I want it to sound and look and I plan out how I want to do that.
“I visualise what it’s going to be then we go into production. I’m just very involved in all of it.
“Bringing a song to life visually is so exciting and I’m lucky that I’ve been able direct multiple videos. I am a big fan of cinematography, music videos, directing and editing. It’s all fun to me.”
Madison reckons the worst of the online abuse came when she was only 16Credit: Instagram/@madisonbeer
On reflection, Madison admits the support she got from Justin Bieber was “over-whelming” at first.
She says: “It was super-cool, as I’m a huge fan of his.
“So I was extremely grateful that he was providing me with such validation.
“That he thought I was actually talented enough to tweet about me was really affirming.
“I’ll always be really grateful to him for taking a chance on me early on. And I was being bullied at school at the time, so to go in the next day after Justin Bieber contacted me obviously shut everybody up.
“It was really cool.”
Stepping away from her manufactured bubble-gum-pop sound was exactly what Madison needed to truly find herself as an artistCredit: Instagram/@madisonbeer
However, she parted ways with Scooter Braun — whom Taylor Swift has accused of bullying her — due to differences in their vision for Madison’s career.
But it turns out stepping away from her manufactured bubble-gum-pop sound was exactly what Madison needed to truly find herself as an artist.
She says: “For a long time, I was very much a circle put into a square mould. It just didn’t work and I was tired of it.
“I wanted to be authentic. It’s exhausting not being authentic.”
Madison’s enthusiasm is obvious for her album’s release, following a delay caused by the pandemic.
She says: “I’m so excited to get my songs out there and I’m doing a live-stream concert a week after it drops. I’m dying to get out there and perform.
Madison’s dreams for the future include selling out (New York’s) Madison Square Garden and winning a Grammy, she saysCredit: Instagram/@madisonbeer
YOU’RE NOT ALONE
EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.
It doesn’t discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.
It’s the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.
And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.
Yet it’s rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.
That is why The Sun launched the You’re Not Alone campaign.
The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.
Let’s all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You’re Not Alone.
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:
“There’s a track called Sour Times on the album and even though it was written a year and a half before the pandemic, it’s so ‘now’ as we are in weird, sour times.”
Despite the problems she has faced on her journey, Madison still harbours the same hopes and dreams she has held from the start.
“To sell out (New York’s) Madison Square Garden and to win a Grammy,” she answers.
“When I started posting YouTube covers at the start, these were the same dreams. They just weren’t realistic! They were in my head.
“When I posted the song covers online, it was solely hoping the kids at school would think I was a good singer.
Life Support is released on Friday, February 26Credit: Instagram/@madisonbeer
“I didn’t really think I could ever do this seriously.
“But now, with my album coming out, I get a chance for my dreams to come true.”
- Life Support is released today.
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