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  • Baby Queen Releases Debut Album “Quarter Life Crisis”

  • London-based South African singer-songwriter Arabella Latham, aka Baby Queen released her debut album “Quarter Life Crisis” on November 10, 2023 via Polydor Records.

    The album comprises 12-track (deluxe edition 21-track), including preceding 6 singles, produced by King Ed, Mark Ralph, Cam Blackwood, and Baby Queen.
    Baby Queen said of the album, “This album tells the story of my journey through my early 20s - leaving my childhood and my adolescence behind but never really losing my childlike wonder and never quite growing up. The songs are all facets of what early adulthood has been like for me while discovering new parts of myself, my sexuality, my past and my place in this world.”
    She continued, “It has been lonely, chaotic, beautiful, devastating and inspiring and I think these songs reflect that, creating a space in which innocence and experience can live side by side as two conflicting entities. I'm not sure anybody ever truly feels like they have it all figured out - I certainly don't, but it has been the greatest joy of my life to be able to share my experiences with those willing to listen to my stories.”
    She added, “I really want this album to leave people feeling hopeful, because there is so much beauty to live through and look forward to and it truly is magical and extraordinary to be alive and to have the very short opportunity to experience every emotion imaginable.”
  • Baby Queen shared on social media, “Making music is like walking through the mist. The song doesn't exist before you create it. You can't touch it, you can't pre-empt it. It's only always possibly there, if you're willing to pull it out of thin air. Throughout my life, there have been songs that I have loved deeply and listened to on repeat, but nothing has affected me in quite the same way my favourite albums have. your favourite albums become soundtracks to periods of time in your life and they define entire eras of your past in a very visceral way.”
    She continued, “I realised during this process, that it is incredibly difficult to predetermine what kind of thing you're going to create before you create it and that much of the creative process is allowing the thing you're creating to take its own form naturally.”
    She added, “Really, you're just winging it. This album has been my obsession for the past three years. Every single word in every single sentence is there for a reason. every single note and harmony has been overthought a million times. Now it belongs to you. I hope it makes you laugh and cry and dance and reminds you that in amongst all the chaos and the pain and the confusion, life is really beautiful and worth living.”

  • Baby Queen explained track-by-track for the album via Apple Music.

    “We Can Be Anything”
    “I had a completely different song and the lyric ‘We can be anything/That’s awesome, don’t you think?’ was the outro. I realized that was the best bit of the whole song so I scrapped the rest and made it the chorus. I was trying to understand those lines and what they meant to me—it just felt so powerful. I have always been incredibly existential, but this is, I guess, a way of telling the listener how I have gone from thinking there’s no fucking point to allowing that same fact to liberate me and give me freedom to make of my life what I want to. I wanted the album to start hopefully, and I wanted it to end hopefully too.”

    “kid genius”
    “A very bratty little number. I came up with the line ‘It’s all so tedious when you are a kid genius.’ It was a very frustrating time for me—I feel like I’ve worked my whole life to be a musician, but everyone was signing these TikTokers who had made one single. The artistic wealth and depth and intelligence just didn’t feel like it mattered. I was probably just sour and jealous, but this song was cathartic for me. It’s got full-on Baby Queen swagger.”

    “Dream Girl”
    “I’m incredibly proud of this, lyrically. When I wrote it, I was staying in this little Victorian house by the beach and was obsessed with this girl who had a boyfriend—and, by proxy, I became obsessed with the boyfriend. The first verse is very much about him and you would think it’s a song about a guy, and then there’s this pivotal shift when it gets to the chorus. By the second verse, it’s very obvious that I’m only obsessed with him because he’s with her. As someone who is bisexual, it’s an interesting song because you can feel the bisexuality in the lyricism, which is really fun. It’s asking to be a big song, but at the same time it’s quite a tender sentiment. It’s actually quite heartbreaking if you read the lyrics without the music there.”

    “i can’t get my shit together”
    “I love switching between different voices. Here, it’s this very childish voice and I really enjoy falling into that pocket. It’s nice to use it as a tool. The whole point of this song is the juxtaposition. Visually, I was imagining walking around with your friends and everything’s great and stunning, and you walk into your house and you open your cupboard, and all this shit just falls on you and you’re lying underneath. It was a really fun and easy song to write, a breath of fresh air.”

    “Love Killer”
    “A lot of this album is about being lonely. I see people in my life who have their person and I’m quite bitter about it. During that time, I was incredibly cynical about love. Some of my very favorite lyrics are in this song—I felt proud of the wit in this song.”

    “Grow Up”
    “This feels like a sonic shift. [The album] starts: bang, bang, bang, bang, then ’Grow Up’ is getting a bit more of the actual emotion underneath some of the themes. When I was writing this, I went, ‘If I could grow up, I would grow the fuck up’ and got a shiver down my spine. It’s such a rare feeling—to know that you’ve spiked something. It was very obvious what that song was about. I’ve always felt like somehow I’m just unable to step into responsibility or to function like a normal human being. When this song came into the fold, it became a really defining characteristic of this album. I think it’s how the album ended up getting to a place where it was called Quarter Life Crisis—it was very foundational. It’s raw and it’s one of the top three emotional ones for me.”

    “Quarter Life Crisis”
    “The album was called Kid Genius for a really long time. I was so obsessed with that phrase. Then my mom was like, ‘But you’re not a kid, and who even knows if you’re a genius?’ Then I had a conversation with my cousin’s girlfriend about the album and how I was feeling, and she said, ‘I think you’re having a quarter-life crisis.’ And I immediately felt like I’d been gagging to find that phrase. Lyrically, it feels like one of the simplest songs. And I could not believe how many words rhyme with crisis. When I said, ‘like some fuckin’ hybrid’ I winded myself. I couldn’t believe it. I was like, ‘Wow, you’re something else.’”

    “Die Alone”
    “I never, ever feel nervous about people hearing my music and it being too personal. I’m always trying to push honesty so that it’s even more shocking to the listener. But there’s always a wink to the camera. The lyrics for this one were like Tetris—it was a tough one. But what I really love about the song is the vocal layering towards the end and the spoken-word, almost-rap bit. And I love where the song goes and the journey of [it]. When we produced it, we brought it way down, and right up on the mic. It really exposes me. I’m very proud of it.”

    “An absolutely devastating song to write. This is the one song on the album that I 100 percent wrote every note of. I think it had to be that way. Every time I sat down to work on it, I couldn’t stop crying. I’d been holding onto these feelings of guilt for leaving home [in South Africa]. When I moved to London, it was such a whirlwind, especially when Baby Queen started taking off. You just don’t stop to think or look backwards, and this felt like dealing with the grief of what I had lost. I hadn’t been back to South Africa or seen my dad for five years. I felt so guilty. My house was sold; I didn’t have a bedroom anymore. Everything was gone. I wondered about putting this on the album—it feels too Bella and not enough Baby Queen. But ultimately I decided it gave more context to the story I’m trying to tell.”

    “‘Obvious’ ends on ‘One day you’ll wake up and be 23,’ and then this starts playing. I was very excited about that! It brings us out of ‘Obvious’ in quite a good way. I’m unpacking my sexuality and my inability to come to terms with it. I wrote it after a night out in London and there was a really pretty girl. It’s almost a conversation I’m having with myself. This is just the way I feel, it’s fundamentally who I am, I can’t turn my back on it. After this song, I basically just want to make rap albums now.”

    “every time i get high”
    “This song was written before [debut single] ‘Internet Religion.’ I wrote it when I first started smoking weed. I feel like getting stoned has been literally my whole twenties. There is the existentialism in there, I would lie on my bed and be like, ‘What’s the point of life?’ Lyrically it’s a really powerful song, and psychedelic rock is one of my favorite genres—it’s one of my dad’s favorite genres, and I listened to it a lot growing up. This is going to be really fun live.”

    “a letter to myself at 17”
    “I had this idea of writing a letter to my younger self. It became me telling the story of what I’ve gone through by telling it back to myself. I knew it was going to close the album when I came up with the last lyric, which was ‘Try to be happy. You might be if only you knew that your wildest dreams came true.’ Again, we start with hope and we end with this hopeful, happy thing.”

    “video games” and “u suck!”
    “I don’t really like the idea of bonus tracks—I kind of hate it, actually. But I guess you’re just trying to give your fans something extra. With ‘u suck!’ It was like, ‘I fuck with this song!’ I like it. It’s really cool. And ‘video games’ was meant to be a full song. Maybe I’m going to flesh it out in the future and make into a full song. But I know that the fans had heard that snippet before and I just really wanted to put it on the album.”

    Deluxe Edition Tracks
    “These are eight songs that had been on Heartstopper. That was a moment where Baby Queen really started to be discovered on a big level. I think that was a lot of people’s introduction to me as an artist. It felt really important to bring that into the conversation of the first album because I really want people to go back and uncover the rest of the discography. I think a debut album is your introduction. It’s you saying, ‘This is who I am as an artist’ and inviting people into your world. But I do think that these songs here are as much who I am as an artist as the songs on this album.”
  • source : Apple Music
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