Madison Beer caught Justin Bieber’s eye with a YouTube performance when she was just 13. Now, she’s 19, and, well, she’s catching everyone’s eye. The singer and actress posed for some sultry photos in Flaunt magazine and it’s fair to say, she’s all grown up.
Beer trended on social media after Bieber tweeted a link to a YouTube video of her singing a cover of Etta James’ hit “At Last.” It’s been viewed more than 1.4 million times. (See below)
The Biebs, who also launched his career on YouTube, personally got her a deal on Island Records and his manager Scooter Braun, picked her up as a client. Then… nada.
Her relationship with Braun didn’t last long. “It didn’t work out with him,” she acknowledges. “A lot of people could have just said, ‘Well this is the end of the line, I could give up, I’m just 15 years old.’”
Instead, she’s released nine singles over the past five years, with only modest chart success, which may explain why that long promised album never materialized. In February, she finally released a three-single EP titled As She Pleases.
It managed to break the top 100 on Billboard’s album chart and peaked at No. 93. The music video followed in June and racked up a respectable 6 million views. (See below) She followed that headlining a sold-out, 30-city international tour.
It’s hard to say where her music career is headed now. Beer is currently dwelling in that social media netherworld between pop star and media influencer, according to Flaunt.
Beer is adamant about one thing: She says she’s in control of her identity. “I have such a strong sense of my artistry and I want that to be conveyed. I don’t want people to think that I’m just a product of the industry. I want people to understand that I actually love music and music has been my life,” she asserts.
Hmmmm… Actually, Beer seems just the opposite.
The clarity of voice and soulful emotion that caught Bieber’s eye on her James cover is gone. Instead, she’s got a totally different style. In her “Home With You” video, she sings in a lispy rap style. Think Izzy Azalea lite.
The visuals are equally cliched–lanky skateboard kids, skate parks, dirt bikes and urban streetscapes. Think Avril Lavigne, circa 1995.
Incidentally, the video’s hard-scrabble urban vibe is about as far from Beer’s upbringing as you can get. She grew up in the well-to-do New York City suburb of Jericho, on Long Island. The median family income exceeds $100,000 a year.
“I create everything—everything that you see is me,” she proclaims in the interview.
Except, her song “Home With You” was written by a team of well-known pop music writers, Rachel Keen, Fred Gibson, Leroy Clampitt and Janée Bennett. Nothing unusual about that, and that’s the problem. Every other pop singer also employs teams of, often the same, writers.
“I didn’t write ‘Home With You,’ but I still took it, I made the edit and I changed certain lyrics to match my style. I made it more for me,” she says.
These days, she’s officially “independent.” But trying to make it on your own is no easy feat, even when your as talented as she is.