Bea Miller talks touring with Selena Gomez, spreading positivity and recording her second album
By: Gibson Johns
Bea Miller has made it her mission to keep absolutely nothing from her fans. From the good to the bad to the ugly, the singer lays it all out there, but not for publicity or attention or likes or followers. Instead, she's doing it for the young girls that were once like her: Struggling and eager for a role model that they can look to and know that that person also struggles from time to time.
The 17-year-old phenom, who first garnered a following on the second season of the American version of the "X Factor" in 2012, has steadily made a name for herself in the music business, thanks in part to an intensely supportive fan base (she has a cool 1.5 million Instagram followers).
As she works on the follow-up to her 2014 debut album Young Blood, Miller is continuing to prove to her fans that she's here for -- and because of -- them. She recorded a cover of "This Little Light of Mine" for her uplifting #ThrowShine campaign with 3 Musketeers in an effort to spread positivity to those fans and beyond.
I caught up with Bea Miller on the phone earlier this week to talk about her open book mentality, touring with Selena Gomez and her recording process for her upcoming second album, which included writing over 70 original songs.
See photos of Bea Miller throughout her career:
Check out my full conversation with Bea Miller below:
You're partnering with 3 Musketeers on the #ThrowShine campaign. What's it all about and why did it feel like such a good fit for you?
I try to really connect with my fans on a personal level and let them know what's going on in my own life, the struggles I face on a day-to-day basis and the things that happen to me that are really awesome, because part of having a positive message is being truthful and saying that things that suck will happen, but it's going to be okay. I'm always trying to find other people and companies that have those same feelings and want to spread positivity, and the 3 Musketeers is doing their #ThrowShine campaign ... it's essentially the opposite of throwing shade, which is very prevalent right now. The internet isn't always a super safe place for people: You see a lot of people being nice to each other, but you also see a ton of people not being nice to each other.
It's a really good campaign, because it's really about inspiring people to say nice things and do nice things to and for other people, instead of spreading negativity. I just thought it was an awesome message.
How do you personally spread positivity in your everyday life?
I like to be truthful with my fans. When I was younger, I always wished that I had a young female artist or actress or someone in my life that I could look up to who wouldn't only tell me about the positive things, but would also tell me about the things they struggle with. I always felt alone when I had a problem that I had to face. So, I feel like my own positive mission is to be there for people that need that person that I wish that I had had growing up.
And your fans will also have your "This Little Light of Mine" cover, which you recorded for the campaign. Can you tell me a bit about what it was like recording the song?
That was actually a whirlwind recording that I was really excited to do. I found out with pretty short notice that we had to record it, and I was really writing every day for my album at that point. I was really busy, but I really wanted to do it. I usually I start my studio sessions at 1 p.m. and go really late so that I can sleep in the next morning [Laughs], but the day after I found out I was going to record ["This Little Light of Mine"], I went into the studio at, like, 10 a.m. and I recorded that song. We just had a lot of fun with it, because it's less stressful to sing a song that somebody else wrote. It's a cute song and one that everyone knows, for the most part. It was fun to put my own spin on a classic.
You recently toured with Selena Gomez as the opener on her Revival Tour. What was that experience like?
Yeah, it was really awesome. It was inspiring to be on tour with someone like Selena who, you know, has been doing this for such a long time, and [she] is a young woman who is doing what she wants. She's making the music that she wants, and we all have our ups and downs, but I find it really inspiring that through it all she has managed to remain herself and has been there to inspire and help other people. That was a really cool thing to be a part of.
You mentioned that you've been writing and recording a lot recently. What can we expect from your next album? Will some of the songs sound like your recent single "Yes Girl"?
I'd say that some of the songs sound similar to "Yes Girl," but I have a lot of different musical tastes that I pull from. All of my songs are cohesive, but musically they're all kind of inspired by different kinds of artists, and my own personal taste mixed together. So, that probably didn't help me very much [Laughs], but I am releasing new music in February, and I would say that I wrote like 70 songs over the course of a year [for it]. It was very hard to narrow it down, but we are hopefully going to release the best ones of all of those.
70 songs?! How are you able to narrow it down from so many?
I feel almost bad about that, because you can only use, like, 12 of them! You have to part ways with things that have really important messages to you or are really close to your heart, but they might not necessarily be as good as other songs you've written. That being said, you can still pitch them to other artists to sing them and maybe if they speak to other people then they can spread that message. It's kind of a yin and yang of feelings.
Lastly, I loved watching you on "X Factor" back in the day. What is one thing that you learned during that experience that has stuck with you all these years later?
What I learned the most from that is that you can't let other people's judgements of you make you change who you are. You can't let that affect you, and you can't stop believing in yourself just because someone else did. I came in ninth on that show, but right now I'm doing so many things that I'm so proud of myself for doing. I'm making my own music! Even though I wasn't first for everyone else, I'm first for myself. Don't let anybody else's opinions of you affect your opinion of yourself.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
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