Cover Feature Girl On Fire: Beabadoobee

Skyrocketing to fame over a rollercoaster last few years, Beabadoobee is now gearing up to release her highly anticipated debut album ‘Fake It Flowers’, and she’s not holding anything back.

Bea Kristi is running late, but it’s easy to forgive her as she’s had quite the shock. Emerging from Euston station about half an hour earlier, Bea - better known as Beabadoobee - encountered a sight that would make anyone stop in their tracks: a humongous billboard of her own face. “There was a family looking at it and then looking back at me and I was like, ‘Fuck!’. Oh my god, it was so trippy!” she laughs, now safely back in her teenage stomping ground of Camden.

Having been through a whirlwind last three years, it’d be easy to think that Bea would be used to ticking off huge milestones by now. Critically acclaimed EPs? Already got several. A sold-out tour with one of the biggest bands in the world? Smashed it. A viral song on TikTok? Currently at a cool six million views, and counting. What’s a huge billboard zoomed in on your face to add to the mix, eh?

It’s easy to forget that, only a few years ago, the now-20-year-old songwriter was chilling on Camden Lock, where we sit now, her biggest goal trying to convince a woman “who looked just like [her] mum” in one of the market shops to let her have a job when she was 14. “There was definitely a similarity between us and she got really sad when she found out I was too young [to work there],” Bea recalls.

The location of many of her teenage ups and downs, NW1 has seen what Bea describes as “different phases” of her life. There were the lows when she’d sit by herself by the canal feeling lonely and depressed, but, walking around, most of Bea’s memories centre around the rite-of-passage of getting “super fucked up” with friends. “There was one time when I really needed a piss and we were by the canal and it wasn’t dark enough to piss by the bush,” she begins through giggles. “We ended up getting on this guy’s canal boat; he was a complete stranger and I pissed in his canal boat. It was the grimmest thing I’ve ever done. To be honest, he did give off quite strong Pete Doherty vibes…

“When I was 15, that was when the crazy shit happened,” she continues. “I was just a very rebellious teen. It sounds really cringe but me and my friends just did a lot of bad shit around London. We did these all-nighters. It was terrible. We’d have a house to sleep at and then not go. So I’ve slept on South Bank beach, Primrose Hill, a Hammersmith roof…”

Nowadays, however, her nights out look a little bit different (though the getting super-fucked-up bit still remains strong). Walking past a bar that’s only five minutes away from where she used to take singing lessons back in the day, she remembers the last time she did karaoke. “It was in Dublin where I got this tattoo,” she beams, pointing to the alien-esque figure on her forearm that makes up one of her many pieces of ink. “Yeah, Mac DeMarco stick and poked my arm in a dingy karaoke bar in Dublin.” Any, um, sanitation, Bea? “Vodka!” she laughs. “My bassist was so drunk, she had to be carried away and her tattoo was only half finished. I was like ‘What is going on?! Mac DeMarco, who I’ve looked up to since I was 14, just stick-and-poked my arm in a karaoke bar?!’ It was really weird.”

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As featured in the October 2020 issue of DIY, out now.

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