Madison Beer Is Freer Than Ever

Madison Beer Is Freer Than Ever

The rising pop star talks about her newfound independence and the daring video for "Say It To My Face."

The rising pop star talks about her newfound independence and the daring video for "Say It To My Face."

Photography: Raf Tillis

Text: Jake Viswanath

Madison Beer emerged on the music scene as the next teen-pop sensation, a young girl primed for cookie-cutter pop success. But say that to her face, and she’ll prove you wrong immediately—just one view of her new video for “Say It to My Face” shows that she’s not down for anyone’s agenda but her own. “I want the real me to always shine through and that’s how I am,” she said about the video when she swung by V’s office for a chat. “I’m not perfect, I’m not polished. I kind of curse a lot… I’m not this pop princess, so I wanted that to be visible.” 

“Say It to My Face,” both song and video, serves as a mission statement and turning point for the artist, who is now independent after fleeing her former major label and relishing in her freedom. “I used to just let people tell me what to do, I didn’t really have a mind of my own and I couldn’t really say yes or no to things because I didn’t really know what I wanted, but now I feel really confident in the fact that I can really be distinctive on what I want and how I want to do things.”

And judging by the clip, what she wants is to get a little dangerous, as she experiments with bondage and fire tricks that veer the line between sensual and scary. She cites Fiona Apple’s music video for “Criminal” and the Megan Fox trash-horror flick Jennifer’s Body as inspirations, references she was able to incorporate without hinderance as she took the director’s chair for the first time, helming the video along with co-director Luke Gilford. “I have a very active mind and I’m always writing stories, so it was awesome for me to be able to [direct], it was really fun.”

Sonically, “Say It to My Face” is a departure from her more traditional electro teen-pop fare like “All for Love,” with Madison snapping and crackling atop an acoustic mid-2000s bass line with ease, but not enough of a switch to be polarizing to her fanbase, whose already putting the song to good use. “I saw a girl tweet yesterday the lyrics, and her friend was like, ‘@ me next time,’” she recounted with a giggle. “And I was like, ‘Oh my god I’m starting beef with people because of my lyrics!’” But in a way, that’s exactly what she intended, as she wanted her fans to relate to the song in different ways and come up with their own interpretations. “I think that it could be directed toward anyone, that’s what I like about it.”

And although “Say It to My Face” marks a major transition for the starlet, don’t expect it to define anything, especially her upcoming EP. “There’s a lot of different sounds, a lot of different mixtures of tones,” she explains. “I try to show a lot of different parts of me in my EP, and I like to keep it very personal, like things that I really like that my fans know about and things that are going to be apparent that are me.”

The one thing she has managed to carry over is her ultra-close relationship with fans, who pick up on every little tidbit about the star they find, whether it be a relationship or a hobby, and can detect how it’s incorporated into her work, not unlike the dynamic of Taylor Swift’s mega-fanbase. “I think being recognized at such a young age, they were so young at the time as well, and we really grew up together and we’ve all learned a lot about ourselves and about each other over the years.” And it’s that fanbase that she hopes can take her to even bigger places. The aspiring artist even performed at V's Maybelline Mansion soiree. “I hope to sell out Madison Square Garden one day, I hope to get nominated for a Grammy one day,” she remarked. “I just hope [the music] keeps evolving with me. One thing I love about Lady Gaga is I feel like her sound is always evolving and changing with her and her phases of life. I want to continue to evolve.”

  

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