In a world of infinite content and endless scrolling, growing up in Generation Z has never been more intense. And then there are those few who not only grow up with the internet, they grow up on it. As one of those few, Madison Beer has been a searched name since she broke out with her extraordinary voice with a Bieber-shared cover of Etta James back when she was 13.
Now with over 20 million followers on Instagram alone, Madison has reached a level of fame very few ever achieve and she’s done it by the age of 21. Of course anyone could talk about what’s negative about that experience – and she herself could tell you too – but Madison Beer has come leaps and bounds personally and professionally. “I’ve felt myself evolve in a lot of ways over the past few years,” Madison tells us, “I’ve gone through a mental health journey, one i’ve been on for a long time…and artistically, I feel like I’ve really been able to find my sound and hone in on what feels me, what sounds like me, what messaging I want to be putting out. I’ve really been able to define myself as an artist.”
Recently, it’s been an exceptionally difficult time to be a creative, with people all over the world losing work and opportunities as well as motivation over the past few months, but it’s also a time when people really need creativity to inspire them. “At the beginning it was very hard”, Madison Beer explains “but I’ve adapted and actually been quite creative over the past few months. I’ve been able to find space to create: whether that be writing music or poetry, painting or whatever.”
Having always turned to music for help, Madison let’s tmrw know that’s in fact the inspiration behind her new album title, Life Support: “It’s definitely therapeutic to be making music, it’s a form of therapy for me for sure: that’s where the title came from, it really was my life support, music in general is.” “It’s my outlet of escape, a place to find peace and clarity, to write down my thoughts and ideas. I have a bit of a scatterbrain and am a bit all over the place, so writing really helps me get my feelings onto paper and pour my heart out into my music.”
So pour she did, making an album so full of heart and soul, a project to inspire and empower. Madison Beer’s newest single, ‘Baby’ is probably her most empowering yet. “We had a lot of songs in the album that were very emotional, raw and honest,” she muses, “so I felt I wanted to make one song that makes people want to dance.” A vibrant, playful track, it’s got Madison Beer written all over it: “[‘Baby’ is] the song to make you feel sexy and empowered, to play with your girls getting ready.”
Wanting to create music to inspire her fans, who are predominantly young women, Madison hopes that “people get some sort of clarity from my music”, as she does. “I think that Life Support is a very empowering album, it has a lot of themes in it that aren’t spoken about often in the music industry. I hope it brings somebody out there some peace of mind, or a place to go to when they’re feeling down or need an escape from the world. That’s all I ever really hoped to do with my music, is to touch people and make someone’s day better. That’s really the goal.”
“That’s all I ever really hoped to do with my music, is to touch people and make someone’s day better. That’s really the goal.”
However, it’s not always easy to be a role model for her youthful fanbase, it’s a challenge in itself to know what to share and what not to. With 20 million eyes watching what she posts on her Instagram feed, Madison admits “that part’s a little scary… Like say I go live, there’s only a fraction of my following in that moment and I can’t ever reach every single fan of mine.” Having fans look up to celebrities as role models to live their lives is a bizarre concept to many, especially for a young person making their own way in life.
“I feel like there are going to be case studies in like 10 years that are going to show what social media and the internet has done to the development of a young brain. I don’t think we were made to process the amount of data we do… I mean I was on socials at 12 years old… You’re constantly comparing yourself and beating yourself down. That’s a lot.” On top of that, there’s a whole new issue of internet consent, which Madison has been talking about with her friends a lot recently. “There are kids whose parents are literally sharing their image on social media from birth, there’s going to be a lot of backlash from that generation later too. It’s a whole new part of history, families with millions of followers sharing infants, those infants will be adults one day and they might not be down with that.”
One of the other dominant issues with social media and the way it affects our psyche, especially for young people online, is the way it makes strangers feel as though they know the people they follow personally. Madison is very aware of this, urging her fans to understand that what she shares on her socials is only about “5% of her real life”. She confides, “whilst it might look glamorous on the outside, I only post what I want you to see. I don’t post any of the ugly shit.” Having become used to this way of life from a very young age, she’s vocal about the other Instagram-famous people out there: “At the end of the day, I’m a 21 year old human who’s going to fuck up and that’s okay, that needs to be normalised. There’s a really toxic and scary thing going on where kids are getting famous at 14 years old, and they feel like they can’t make the kinds of mistakes that help shape them into adults. I don’t think that’s right, we need to be growing and evolving.”
Yet, Madison Beer is incredibly grateful for her platform too, and is happy to have her fans look up to her. Having shared a lot of her troubles through her work, Madison understands that people admire her strength and relate to what she’s been through: “I do keep it real. I think it’s good to be a celeb who’s had some scandals, who people have talked crap about, who’s had their nudes leaked. That’s a big reason I connect with my fans, to show them I’m a full person who has flaws.” “Whilst I do hate this idolising culture that we’ve created, that anyone in the public eye is put on a pedestal” she goes on to explain, “I’m more than happy to be someone’s idol or inspiration, but to me it feels like that should stop with my music.”
After all, that’s what it’s all about for Madison: “[Music] means everything to me, that’s the simplest way I can put it. I truly have so much love for music; it’s never abandoned me, it’s never made me feel like it didn’t want me or love me, music has been the thing that’s been consistent in my life. Being able to create my own is so special to me, it’s everything to me: it’s the through line in my life.”
“One of my earliest memories is of being on the beach in Miami when I was about 6 and I sat down with this guy playing a guitar and I just started singing this song I had made up. I still have a recording of what we sang back from 2005, I think it was called ‘Butterfly’, I mean it was written by a 6 year old but it was a sweet idea… I look back at that and see how this creativity was running through me even then.”
With so much still to give, Madison is excited to be making and sharing new music with the world. It’s through this work that she connects with people, that she finds commonality and reaches the fans who need her creations. “It’s human nature to want to be understood by other humans and to connect. I don’t get the luxury of that, I walk into a room and everybody has their interpretation of me, they’ve made up their mind, they have a judgement. That’s been a major part of my mental health journey, is realising that I don’t need you to know who and what I am, because I know.” Madison Beer has found her style, her sound and herself, and we’re blessed she’s sharing even 5% of that with us after the tumultuous journey she’s had so far. “I know I’m good at the end of the day and I’m the one who goes to sleep with myself every night,” and we, along with the rest of the world, think she’s pretty damn good too.
Watch Madison Beer’s new single ‘Baby’ below now and stay tuned for her new album, ‘Life Support’, out later this year.