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GET TO KNOWBER

by Megan Bowles

It’s official, breakups suck a whole lot less with Ber as company.

Rising artist Ber is here to speak to your past (or maybe present) self, the one that’s been through a breakup that seemed like it would never end. Her new single, ‘Halfway’, plays with the transitional moments of moving on, where you’re not yet over it, you’re maybe seeing someone new, but sometimes you just want them back.

The title-track teases the release of her upcoming EP, out in February 2023. Halfway features 6 songs, including ‘Slut Phase’, ‘Boys Who Kiss You In Their Car’ and ‘Superspreader’. The singer-songwriter says ‘I wrote this 6-song EP about not being over a boy that ghosted me (but really trying to be). They all come from that funny and uncomfortable place in between heartbreak/happy and paint a picture of how I felt when I finally felt like I was Halfway through my breakup.’

Ber’s first EP And I’m Still Thinking About That came as a result of lockdown isolation spent in her Uncle’s basement, with the lead single ‘Meant To Be’ propelling Bur to overnight internet stardom. The song has since amassed over 60 million streams globally and garnered attention from Zane Lowe, Travis Mills, BBC Radio 1, Triple A Radio and other industry tastemakers alike. An incredible debut as an artist to say the least, we can expect Ber’s new EP to build on her natural storytelling, relatability and heartfelt lyrics. We caught up with Ber to hear all about the making of Halfway, her musical journey, what it’s like being a young creative in the industry and more…

Congrats on your new single ‘HALFWAY’, tell me a bit about the making of that song.

Thank you so much! I wrote it with one of my best friends and favorite collaborators Brandon Hill and one of my songwriting idols Caroline Pennell over zoom in December last year. I was sitting in a New York City hotel room with no windows, Brandon was in Nottingham and Caroline was in LA, and I was filling them in on the perils of my love life (as per) and remember randomly saying that if healing from heartbreak had a timeline I felt like I finally was maybe halfway. And then the song just immediately spilled out of us, because there was something very real to all of us about that weird void that I found myself in for about a year before I was ready to actually move on from the relationship I was holding onto for so long. I sat on the demo of it for about 8 months, knowing that I’d finish it eventually and that it was going to be the centrepiece of my EP, and eventually I brought it to my friends in Now Now, who helped me convey the emotions I wanted to with it and got the track across the finish line. It’s so lovely to have all of your favorite people ever work on a song that means so much to you.

Where do you feel this song is leading you to next?

I’m really not sure what’s next outside of this EP, which I wrote with Halfway in mind. All of the songs on this EP circle around it, and are about the experiences and emotions I discovered while really just trying to get out of that void that I mentioned. I’m not sure I’m done writing about it if I’m honest, but I’m excited for that project to be out in the world, I’m really proud of these songs and I think they show a different side of me than what I delivered with my debut EP this last spring.

What makes you want to make music?

I’m not sure there is a certain thing, I just wake up in the morning and its the only thing I want to do. I have 3 cups of coffee and I play guitar, which, in a very dynamic few years of my life, has been the only constant in my every-day routine. I love the feeling of writing a song and sending it to my best friend with a text that’s like “I made this today!”. Writing and making music is definitely an outlet for me and allows me to spend time and really process something/make something out of it, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. It’s also such a cool way for me to connect with other people and relate to them, whether its a collaborator or a listener, I feel like I find my people when I’ve written something and another person is like “I know exactly what you mean” and building that community has felt so good.

What are your earliest memories of music?

Oh, gosh, my mom’s side of the family is very musical, and I grew up around big sing-a-longs at Christmas and performing gibberish for everyone when I didn’t know the words. Music was everywhere around me when I was very young, and my parents always supported that and signed me up for piano and guitar lessons as soon as they could, and instead of always learning other peoples songs, my teachers were great about encouraging me to write my own and show them at the next lesson. I remember the first song I ever wrote was called “Inside my Head”, and I managed to write it over loops on GarageBand on my parents Mac when I was 7. The chorus was honestly pretty good, haha.

"Writing and making music is definitely an outlet for me and allows me to spend time and really process something/make something out of it, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything."

How would you describe your work in 3 words?

Honest, reflective, witty? Haha. This recent project feels pretty self aware, tongue-in-cheek. I’m sorry that was more than 3 words.

Every artist has their muse. Who or what is a source of inspiration for you?

The songs I write are very autobiographical, I find it hard to write about something I haven’t lived, or about something I don’t feel like I can explain to myself. I think a lot of the songs I write are just to help me better understand my emotions, explain them to myself when I need the reassurance. I’m always very honest in writing sessions and I tend to overshare, so my “muse” is certainly just whatever has been in front of me at the time. My last project revolved almost solely around all the weird hinge dates I went on and how strange it was to date again after heartbreak… which is exactly where I was emotionally when I was writing those songs. Haha

What are the five albums that you feel have shaped you the most personally?

Oh gosh!!!! Okay…
Lennon Stella – Three, Two, One.
Taylor Swift – 1989
Lorde – Melodrama
Jeremy Zucker, Chelsea Cutler – Brent (this is an EP but it is SO fantastic)
Maggie Rogers – Heard It In A Past Life

How do you navigate the music scene as a young creative?

I am absolutely winging it, haha. I’m really out here just doing my best. I’m very lucky to have an incredible team around me that I can turn to when I feel lost, which I’ll admit is increasingly more often nowadays. I think that the songs that mean the most to us are the ones that stand the test of time, so I am just aiming to really only release music I love and work hard to keep making it. I reflect quite a bit, and do my best to keep in touch with friends that are also in the industry and doing this too, because it does get lonely. It’s definitely about having a community that will be there to keep your head afloat.

What should be the role of new-gen artists in modern society?

I think it’s on us to just create really honest work. This feels like a HUGE question for some reason, haha, but with the amount of pressure on artists now to find success in so many avenues (radio, social media, festivals, touring, more social media), I think it’s easy to get lost in this world we’ve created and so many people who make incredible art feel as though they get swept under the rug when their song doesn’t go viral or start a new “trend” (I’m including myself in this, absolutely). If we play any role in society, I just hope it’s one where we celebrate art for what it is and create music that brings people together for the right reasons.

"I’m always very honest in writing sessions and I tend to overshare, so my 'muse' is certainly just whatever has been in front of me at the time."

What do you hope people take away from your work?

I definitely just hope that people find a piece of themselves in it. Releasing music for me has been such a validating experience, and not because people tell me my voice is pretty or that I’m a good writer or musician or something, but because the songs I write are very personal, and the stories people share with me make me feel so much less alone in these emotions that I would otherwise deem very complicated. Halfway and Meant To Be are really good examples of that, these songs feel like they live a life of their own outside of me, as people message me to tell me they get it, which is so crazy to me and undoubtedly my favorite part of this. So I guess I hope my songs just help people feel less alone.

Where do you to see yourself in five years?

Touring! Wherever I am I hope I’m touring. Let’s go big and say a world tour followed by some vacation that I’ll probably need, because I don’t plan on taking one between now and then. Lol.

What’s next for you?

My sophomore EP “Halfway” comes out in February, which I’m so excited about, and I’m looking forward to touring that collection of songs and playing a few festivals next summer, as well as growing and being more active in the twin cities music community while I work on my next project. 🙂 I’m really looking forward to the next few years!

Press play on Ber’s ‘Halfway’ below now…

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