Bebe Rexha: UnwrappedLEFAIR
The way the sun seeped into the LEFAIR North Hollywood loft and bounced off of the white walls would get any light junkie high. Singer/songwriter and popstar, Bebe Rexha, known for hits such as “I Got You” and G-Eazy’s “Me, Myself, and I”, sat on the white leather couch after a five-hour shoot. “I like you. You’re like me, bossy,” Bebe Rexha said to our Editor in Chief, Tracy Kahn. “But that’s okay,” she said, “Because that’s how you get what you want.”
Photographer John Russo @johnrussophoto
Writer Madeline Rosene @madelinerosene
Wardrobe Stylists Desiree Morales @desireemorales and Cassandra Dittmer @cdittmer
Makeup Artist Justin St. Clair @justinstclairmakeup with The Only Agency @theonly.agency
Hair Artist Ursula Stephen @ursulastephen
Videographer Brett Erickson @brettericksonphoto
MR: I feel like “Me, Myself, and I” has become a sort of mantra for people lately. Can you tell me why this sentiment is so important for people?
BR: I originally wrote it with Lauren Christie. It was just she and I at a piano. I was going through an interesting time in my life. I was in a very toxic relationship and I felt like I was basing all of my self-love through this one person. I wanted to break away from that relationship. We wanted to write a song about having your own back and not needing anyone but yourself. But it’s also a love song to music. It’s always been a constant in my life. I think people in general can relate to that. It really had an energy behind it.
MR: We love the song “I Got You” and we love the video. Where was that filmed?
BR: The video for “I Got You” was filmed at the Salt Flats in California. It was a two and a half hour drive. We got there super early in the morning, around 6 a.m. and then we were there until 12 a.m. It started out freezing cold and pitch-black and then it got so hot and freezing at night. It was fun.
MR: What was the inspiration behind that?
BR: The inspiration behind the video was earth, wind, and fire, like all of the things I would go through for you, but with more of an editorial vibe and fashion-y. The idea behind that video came from the meaning of the song, which is kind of obvious: when you find someone you really like and you say, I have been through the exact same thing. I can see that you’re hurt. I’ve been hurt too.
MR: So it’s about empathizing.
BR: Yeah, like this time it’s different: I don’t want to play games. I want to take this seriously. Will you let your walls down because I got you—it’s that kind of record.
MR: Who have been some of your biggest music inspirations throughout your life?
BR: My greatest music inspirations have been Lauren Hill, Destiny’s Child, Kanye West, Alanis Morissette, Bob Marley, Imogen Heap and Coldplay. The one thing that I really love in certain artists is when they’re very real, honest and raw with their lyrics. They’re able to kind of mold themselves. I feel that all great artists have been able to do that and that’s what I aspire to do.
MR: Alanis Morissette in particular is just so raw, especially with her lyrics.
BR: Absolutely. I mean Alanis Morissette wrote songs about her ex. About giving a blowjob in a movie theatre so I feel that it doesn’t get more real than that. If you write a song about going to the club and partying (and you write it to get people to buy the record — I think that’s kind of fake), but if I’m really going to the club, then I’m going to write about that and it’s based on a true story.
MR: Do you feel more like you’re a writer first or a performer first?
BR: It’s weird because in my career path I always looked at writing as artistry and I feel like for me, they’re both one. So I feel like when I write, the whole purpose of me writing the song is being able to perform it. Writing the song is half the battle. But being able to write the video treatment and perform it live goes hand in hand with the lighting, outfits, everything. It’s a marriage. So for me I think it’s 50/50—I’m 50% songwriter and 50% artist. When I’m in the studio, writing the song, I see the music video immediately and I have to write the treatment. It’s not like I just write the song and I’m like, “here we go!” I have to figure out the idea behind it. I see the forest for the trees and I think that’s what artists do.
MR: You’ve written a lot of songs for other people too, so when your songs are picked up by other artists that must be validating but at the same time, do you ever wish they had done something differently or that the music video looked another way for instance?
BR: Absolutely. When I have given away songs in the past, I’ve never regretted giving a song away to anyone because every song has led me to where I am today, including “The Monster” or “Me, Myself, and I” with G-Eazy. I feel like everything was a step to get to where I am right now. Especially in the music business it’s important for me to be respected by my peers and after writing those records it was hard giving it away.
MR: I’m sure—it’s like a child in that way.
BR: I’ve heard my version and then when you hear Rihanna singing “The Monster” or Selena Gomez doing a song you’re like, oh man, damn—I wish they would’ve done it like this but I’m like they’re artists and I really respect them so I want them to do that. I’m proud of giving those songs away because people have respected me for them and they’ve allowed me to do what I want with my artistry now so I’m really proud of those songs.
MR: Thank you for being here with us— the shoot looked fantastic.
BR: I had such an incredible time! I found a rack and we were able to try on different things and throw things on it, so it was very fluid. The photographer, John Russo, was incredible.