Baby Queen: In Conversation With One Of Anti-Pop’s Most Essential New Voices

Jasmin Lemarie

Sitting in front of a wall lined with guitars and with the music world at her feet, Baby Queen opened up to Impact about her 90s music education, songwriting process, and eclectic pool of musical influences.

Whilst other people took to baking bread during the first lockdown, Bella Latham, better known as Baby Queen, released her first single which was followed by a whirl of success. Now, a year later, she has acquired over one million streams on Spotify and is lined up to perform at numerous festivals in the summer, as well as going on tour with band Seagulls. 

When asked about how and why she chose a stage name, Latham said that she wrote the music first before coming up with the name and that “the music was just so not my name, and I knew that the name needed to be lilac purple, which is dumb as shit but that’s what I felt, and so I went through this notebook that had the lyric in that said ‘I’m your little Baby Queen’ and I had written it a couple of months prior, and I was like, that’s the name, that’s the one!”

“I’ll send my really s**t produced song to my really good producer and then he makes it really good.”

Latham recently released single Dover Beach which features dreampop sounds against a backdrop of lyrics that focus on her feelings of frustration that she can’t seem to stop thinking about this one person, no matter where she goes. When talking about the artists who influenced the sound behind the song, she mentions that when writing the song, “I had this playlist that I was listening to on repeat – I like to do that when I go to a new place. I was listening to a load of Caribou and some Chapterhouse, LCD Soundsystem, and a lot of this really dreamy, whimsical dreampop. When I go back and listen to Dover Beach, it feels like it could be on that playlist for me.”

Latham also revealed that for the process of making Dover Beach, she came up with the melody first which she recorded on her phone whilst sitting on the beach, and then came up with lyrics, after re-writing them. This differs from her normal song writing process, which Latham describes in a step- by-step process: “If there’s a song I know I want to write, I will have the title of the song, or what it’s about, and then I’ll have lyrics that I’ve collected over a period of time. Then what I like to do is create a chord sequence that is on loop on garage band and then write to those on loop so I don’t have to think about playing anything or doing anything other than just like making the lyrics really good.” She also mentions, in between laughter, “I’m a s**t producer, and then I’ll send my really s**t produced song to my really good producer and then he makes it really good.”

Latham first got into music through writing poetry – “I love words and I had an old piano in the hallway outside my bedroom when I was younger” the singer said, talking of her childhood, “my uncle was an incredible musician, and he would just come over and play the piano with me.” However, the one thing that solidified her interest in making music was watching Taylor Swift’s Love Story music video “as a kid I was like freaking obsessed with her, and as soon as I saw that, it was like this is it.”

It was obvious from the way Latham spoke about Taylor Swift that she was a huge musical influence on her, and she also mentioned that Taylor “definitely taught me how to structure a song, and how to build eras, like album eras, and cycles.” Latham also grew up with her parents listening to a lot of soul and funk, including bands such as Sister Sledge, Earth, Wind & Fire, and The Jackson 5. She admits that she didn’t really listen to many 90s rock bands growing up, and has gone back to listen to them now, such as “Nirvana, Nine Inch Nails, and Smashing Pumpkins,” and her favourite artists now aside from Taylor Swift, are The 1975, Lorde and St. Vincent, and she “really dived into their discographies.”

“I’ve got quite a clear idea of the journey I want to take. I think it’s important to continually shift your sound.”

Before we dived into Latham’s plans for the future, we reflected on her music that is currently out, and Latham decided that Want Me is her favourite single released so far, “just because it’s my favourite song to play live – the outro is just so full of energy,” and also mentioned that Raw Thoughts is a favourite as it “just fills you up with feelings.” My personal favourite single is These Drugs, and after mentioning that to Latham, she said that “it’s definitely my favourite lyrical thing that I’ve ever done.”

Latham spoke of her plan for the way she wants her music to go in the next eight years. “I don’t have the music yet, I still have to write it, but I’ve got quite a clear idea of the journey I want to take. I very much think it’s important to continually shift your sound, and do something new that you haven’t done, and be risky so I’m going to be doing that in the next album.” She is currently working on her debut album and knows that it will be released in 2022, and that her second album will be released in 2024.

When asked what advice Latham would give to her younger self, she replied, “stop berating yourself because you’re never going to be your goal weight, and you’re never going to look the way you want to, even when you are the weight that you wanted to be, you’re not going to be happy with it. So just live in the moment, be happy and try to love and accept yourself, and be careful what people you surround yourself with; you are just a reflection of the people that you keep around, so don’t keep dicks around you.”

Baby Queen is performing at a few festivals this summer, including Oxford’s Truck Festival in July, and is planning on releasing more music throughout the year. You can listen to her latest single, Dover Beach on all streaming platforms now.

Jasmin Lemarie

Featured image courtesy of Baby Queen via Chuff Media. Image use license found here. In-article image courtesy of Baby Queen via Facebook. Images granted to Impact by their owners. No changes made to these images.

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