“Oh god, I think we need coffee.” Bebe Rexha’s Staten Island drawl incorporates over the early-morning hush of one of London’s oldest hotels. A waiter in a starched white waistcoat comes with a silver bowl, pouring us both a steaming cup. He turns to go away however she stops him. “Do you realize what?” she says, beaming politely. “Can you just leave the whole pot? Rexha reveals a shocking fact of fashion industry.
We’re in a non-public room the morning after Rexha landed from LA and, apart from the prevalent uniform of the jet-lagged (black hoodie, joggers, sliders, zero make-up), you’d have no concept that she’s battling through a fog of exhaustion. It’s 8am and she or he has a day-long photoshoot beforehand of her, but she bounces between topics with the sort of electricity you don’t normally get from musicians at this time in the morning.
With her first cup of espresso gulped down, she ponders our old style surroundings. “I sure hate the lights in here. If my room wasn’t so messy & dirty, I’d say let’s go up there instead,” she starts off evolving out. She said- that’s growing into a lady for you – you realize what you like.
That’s Bebe Rexha who is now a 30-yr-old girl & who knows precisely what she loves and what doesn’t. But it wasn’t usually that manner. Like many women in the public view, and especially those inside the murky, cut-throat global of the track industry, she has had to learn the hard way what she will and won’t tolerate at the course to achieve and stardom.
Raised in New York via Albanian parents, she signed her first document deal with Warner Bros at 23 and traveled to LA alone. She told that she didn’t forget after she saw Britney [Spears] made it large for the initial time, she became 17. So after she(Rexha) had become 18 she changed into like, ‘That’s it, I didn’t make it.’ I felt the same once I hit 21, and for the duration of my twenties. At 27 I had a breakdown.’
But although she had but to find fame, her skills changed into quietly garnering attention. Rexha has become a back-of-the-scenes writer for artists like Selena Gomez, Nick Jonas, and Iggy Azalea, and had Eminem and Rihanna’s ‘The Monster’ via 24. The Grammy-winning No1 hit became a prime raise to her CV, and he or she began being featured as a singer at the tracks she had co-written (inclusive of David Guetta’s ‘Hey Mama’ and Louis Tomlinson’s ‘Back To You’) earlier than subsequently scoring her solo breakthrough closing yr with the single ‘Meant To Be’, arriving two Grammy nominations proposal of her own.
It’s fitting, therefore, that her debut album & record, which has had over 1.3 billion streams, is known as Expectations – due to the fact she is an artist who has been both combating to uphold those located on her and concurrently smashing them to portions ever in view.
Because whilst a signed artist, Rexha just didn’t inform the mold. She said that When she had first signed, the label said, ‘Are you geared up to get in boot-camp shape?’ They wanted her to lose 20lb. After she grew 130lb which could be said to be almost equal to 9 stone. It f*cked her up. She became so bloodless all of the time & might starve before filming a song video. Without pausing for breath, she says matter-of-factly about a lady innovative director who made her work out twice a day. She said- She’d sit across from me at the dinner desk and say, ‘You’re now not losing enough.’ All I became ingesting changed into a salad.
To be fair, the female facing me is a healthy and curvaceous size 10. Smaller than the common UK girl (a length 16) and actually than the average girl within the US (UK length 20). But in her world, especially at the time she came up through the top ranks, hers became an enterprise dominated by using a body preferred that, for most, feels unrealistic, and borderline risky at worst.
After seven years of dealing with length discrimination behind closed doors, of facing producers and administrators and sellers who mentioned her weight as although it wasn’t something bound up with her emotions and feelings of self- worth, something happened. In January 2019, Rexha needed to get dressed for the Grammys. After weeks a text message came from her stylist saying that people are stating she is too large to fit into their dresses.
“It broke my heart. I changed into so sad, so depressed. I felt like garbage to myself.” That sorrow hardened into something much powerful – rage. I thought to myself that this is bullshit-explained by her & words tumbling out of her like lava. “I become mad. I wasn’t trying & working on getting lower back at anyone; however, I wasn’t standing for it any greater. I turned within the studio, and I just left, went into the kitchen, and made a video on my mobile.”
That video has been seen over 2 million instances on Instagram and shared worldwide. Her information hit home: “If a [US] size 6/8 is too large then I don’t know what to inform you… That’s crazy. You’re pronouncing that each one the ladies within the globe which can be a length eight and up are not beautiful, and they can’t put on your dresses… f*ck you, I don’t need to put on your dresses.”
“When I first got signed, the label wanted me to lose 20lb”
Her submit galvanized an international verbal exchange approximately body photograph and length discrimination that even reached industry icons just like the late Karl Lagerfeld (who despatched her portions to strive on) and caused an outpouring of love and admire for Rexha on different social media site.
On our shoot in north London a few moments after she told me this story, I can understand why I fell in love with her. As she sets approximately smashing the mannequins on our set, lifeless symbols that represent the impossible splendour requirements she and different stars like her are frequently measured in opposition to, a middle of steel emerges. That same combat, the outrage that led to her growing that video, is what sets her aside for her fans and followers.
That nerve may additionally have stored her career – due to the fact it isn’t merely the amusement industry’s damaging mindset to her weight that has compelled Rexha to place her gloves up. She’s needed to combat to protect her skills from the music enterprise’s intuition to take advantage of her.
Rexha stated that When she first was given to LA, she worked with a very big producer. He placed her in a room with lots of different songwriters and engineers who all looked high [on drugs]. One writer walked in and told, ‘Listen – you haven’t any hits, but I have loads, so I’m going to go down to a birthday party with my pals, and you’re going to write a track, document the vocals and edit it. That may be our tune that we wrote together.’
That encounter came about at the home of producer Dr. Luke, actual name Lukasz Sebastian Gottwald, who had dived Rexha to LA for her big break.
Just a yr later, his profile turned into raised when the singer Kesha filed a lawsuit against Gottwald, citing numerous allegations, inclusive of emotional distress and employment discrimination. He arranged a countersuit alleging defamation, and all claims were ultimately dropped, with Kesha remaining in a recording contract with him that supposed she didn’t release any tune for four years.
When I ask her approximately Kesha, she says quite simply, “I became scared that might be my situation. I do not forget being at a dinner party with [Kesha and her mother, Pebe Sebert]. Her mom came to me and whispered, ‘Don’t do it.’ She was speaking to me approximately working with Dr. Luke. The track enterprise may be a darkish place, and she could have been seeking to forestall me from moving into her daughter’s way. But I listened and honestly? Trusting her turned into the quality aspect I ever did.”
Worse yet, Rexha has thought about the pressure of predatory sexual exercises and insidious bullying on her way to the top. Earlier, a producer tried to sexual harassment. But she grew & raised to never let anyone reach her body if she doesn’t need them to.
Still, he persisted. Once his assistant manager called her at midnight to say the producer in question wanted to shop for Rexha a sundress to wear with “no underwear.” “He’s virtually famous,” Rexha says, unblinking. Her former managers said that ‘Just paintings with him, you need a hit song.’
Has she ever felt scared for her life? I ask. There’s a pause. “There turned into one night time. I changed into alone within the studio, and a [different] producer had a group of 5 or six men with him. I had heard some things about him from his history, and I couldn’t take it anymore. I sensed like I was going to get raped. I quietly have known as myself a taxi from the recording booth, which became enclosed, and I was given the f*ck out of there. It became the worst night ever.”
It became that moment, and lots of others like it, that led Rexha to begin Women In Harmony in 2018, and leadership to help girl creatives in the tuning industry support her differently. So in a way, she has hosted dinners in LA and London, attended with the aid of the loves of Rita Ora and Charli CXX. She decided she would have someone to talk to after she came through all of that. They need support. She wanted to build up a safe atmosphere for ladies to come together.
Her succeeding album, due in 2020, is “deeply personal,” she says to me – a set of songs that cope with the insecurities she has battled due to the fact that she became 11. If her debut album, the response to Grammy-gate, and this year’s slew of stay dates are anything to move via, it could tip her from “one to watch” to worldwide stardom.
“I couldn’t take it. I felt like I turned into going to get raped.”
Post-shoot, as Rexha washes off her make-up, shrugs on her hoodie, assembles her all-lady entourage and prepares to head back to the inn where we commenced our day over 10 hours ago, I’m relieved. Not just due to the fact she loves the snapshots or that she’s glad about our choice of soundtrack for the shoot (paradoxically it’s On A Roll by using Ashley O, the manipulated pop celebrity played by using Miley Cyrus in Black Mirror), but relieved that the tuning industry is still capable of generating stars like her inside the first place.
Someone who isn’t continually prepared to toe pop’s birthday celebration line and – as with the mannequins she smashed up prior – who knows that on occasion you have to break things aside earlier than they can be rebuilt.