Last year, Beabadoobee was surprised anyone knew her in the U.S. — now she’s playing Coachella – San Bernardino Sun

When Beabadobee opened her U.S tour in Washington D.C. five months ago, the Filipino-British singer-songwriter wasn’t just surprised by how many fans at the show knew the words to her songs.

She was also kind of amazed they were there at all.

“I remember coming off stage being like, ‘I thought no one was gonna come,’” says the 21-year-old whose given name is Beatrice Kristi Laus, though most everyone just calls her Bea. “Like I didn’t realize people knew who I was here.”

They’re learning fast.

After playing the Head In The Clouds festival in Pasadena in November, and a pair of shows at the Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles a few weeks after that, Beabadoobee returns to Southern California this month with an even higher profile.

She’s on the Sunday lineup for both weekends of the sold-out Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in Indio, and also has stand-alone shows at the Glass House in Pomona on April 25 and Humphrey’s by the Bay in San Diego on April 26.

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Still, it’s a fresh experience, traveling in the United States and discovering how much her music has spread in just the four years since she wrote her first single, “Coffee,” in her bedroom at home in London.

Her original version has been streamed 94 million times on Spotify, which seems a lot until you learn that a reinterpreted version by rapper Powfu, on which she’s a featured artist, has been streamed 1.2 billion-with-a-b times.

“To hear people sing it back to you on the complete opposite side of the world is like crazy for anyone if you were that ‘Coffee’ girl in high school, do you know what I mean?” Bea says. “It’s just wild. It feels very rewarding, and especially after COVID, it feels like everything is really, really fun and exciting.”

Songs from the bedroom

If Beabadoobee hadn’t been kicked out of school with one year to go she might be a preschool teacher instead of a rising indie pop star today.

“I got given a second-hand acoustic guitar from my dad when I kicked out of school,” Bea says. “I think he noticed I was very sad and had nothing to do. I was writing music as a hobby primarily. I really still want to be a nursery teacher.

“It’s always been a dream of mine,” she says. “I saw music as like a side fun thing. And it’s still a super fun thing, but not it’s like my life. Which is crazy.”

The situation at the girls Catholic school she attended was “a tricky situation,” Bea says.

“I wasn’t necessarily a really good student, but I didn’t get bad enough grades or wasn’t badly behaved enough to be kicked out,” she says. “It was weird because they kicked out all the girls that were quite misbehaved and didn’t get the best grades, but also the ones who were poor, who didn’t have much money as the other girls.

“It was very, very dodgy,” Bea says, adding that when the school was threatened with a lawsuit, it reinstated all of the girls, though by then she’d already found a different place to finish her final year.

By then, though, she was already deep into making music. But she never expected anyone outside of family and friends would ever find and listen to “Coffee,” her first-ever single.

“It was definitely overwhelming,” Bea says of the moment she realized the song was bigger than she’d dreamed. “I’m not going to hide the fact that I was terrified, especially coming from someone who’s just wanted to be a nursery teacher.

“I started noticing it when I’d released ‘Coffee’ and was still in school,” she says. “I got loads of comments on my Instagram saying, ‘You’re that ‘Coffee’ girl!’ And I was like, ‘I have never worked in a cafe in my life. I don’t know what they’re talking about.’

“Then I was like, ‘Oh crap, it’s my song.’”

The accidental nature of her career is also responsible for the cheeky nature of her name. When a friend told her she’d need a name under which to release “Coffee” she casually picked the name of her Finsta — her secret Instagram account — and called herself Beabadobee.

“It was called Beabadoobee because I thought it sounded funny, like a Minion on acid,” Bea says. “I was like, it’s just be funny, and no one’s gonna listen to my music anyways.

“But yeah, now I’m stuck with it forever,” she says, laughing. “But it’s OK.”

Early inspirations

When Bea started making her own music as a teenager, she had a breadth of musical knowledge that allowed her to explore sounds and songs much older than she was.

“I guess I’ve always been a music lover when I was kid and growing up,” Bea says. “I went through a lot of phases and had, you know, the classic emo phase. Then, around my debut album, I started getting loads of electric guitars, and got really into Pavement and, like, Sonic Youth and Veruca Salt and all these crazy bands,” she says. “And almost kept myself in that bubble.

“Everyone tied me in as like a ’90s grunge girl, which I love. And I never look back at (debut album) ‘Fake It Flowers’ and cringe.”

Her boyfriend’s brother introduced her to bands like Pavement, whose music inspired her to write the song “I Wish I Was Stephen Malkmus” about that band’s front man. Watching videos of performances by bands such as Sonic Youth, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and My Bloody Valentine also added to her musical vocabulary.

“It wasn’t a specific thing where I’d get a Sonic Youth song and be like, ‘Right, this song is going to be like this,’” Bea says. “Because it was in my world, it almost like threaded itself way in my music without me realizing.

“It happens subconsciously, where it’s like, ‘Oh, this tone of guitar sounds like My Bloody Valentine guitar,’ but I didn’t do that on purpose,” she says. “I like the sound, and then sometimes I was like, ‘Oh, (shoot), it’s too alike, I have to change it.’”

Welcome to ‘Beatopia’

A second full-length album, “Beatopia,” arrives in July, though its roots reach back her childhood.

” ‘Beatopia’ had always existed,” Bea says. “It was a world I created when I was 7. There was a lot of things going on at home, so me and my friends made these made-up worlds.”

The friends lost interest quickly, but Bea was all in.

“I made this massive poster,” she says. “Created the names of towns and cities, and even the alphabet. I just got obsessed with the idea of Beatopia.

“And I left this poster in my class when I had to go to my violin lesson, and when I came back, the whole class was staring at me,” Bea says. “I was like, ‘Why is everyone staring at me?’

“The teacher, who stank of cigarettes and was a total (jerk), was like, ‘Do you have anything tell us?’ I was like, ‘What?’ He was like, ‘Beatopia?’ He had sticky-taped the poster on the whiteboard for everyone to look at, and everyone starts laughing at me.”

She put away the Beatopia and “erased my memory, deleted it off my mind,” Bea says. “Never thought about Beatopia again. Until lockdown, and then I was like, ‘Yep, the next record is gonna be called ‘Beatopia.’”

Its first single, “Talk,” is what Bea sees as “a sister to ‘Fake It Flowers,’” a catchy rock song in the same vein as her debut album. But from there, the new record goes in its many different directions, she says.

“I had so much more influences on this record,” Bea says. “Like Broken Social Scene, like Stereolab, Chemical Brothers, and this amazing artist called Stina Nordenstam, who’s a Swedish artist.

“I think the main misunderstanding that people will probably get after hearing ‘Talk’ is that this going to be a rock record,” she says. “Which, obviously rock records are great, but I really don’t want to limit myself to any genre.”

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