“I’ve been singing my entire life. Since I could talk, I honestly think I started singing before I started speaking. So I have known that I loved to sing since I could crawl.” -Madison Beer
For sixteen-year-old pop star Madison Beer, success seemed to be written in the stars – and found through her voice. She was twelve when she decided, during a car ride to school with her mom, to upload to YouTube a mash up of Bruno Mars she had written. Her success began to foment immediately. “On the way to school I was like, ‘Mom I wrote this mash up and I would love to sing it for you.’ She was like, ‘That sounds great, what do you want to do with it?’ And I was like, ‘I don’t know, maybe I’ll record a YouTube video.’ Literally the next day I went to a studio nearby and recorded the video and uploaded it. I remember being in math class and it had a thousand views. I was freaking out. I thought it was like ten million. I was like, ‘Oh my god, I have a thousand views!’ I was really excited.”
MADISON BEER BEHIND THE SCENES VIDEO – THE #GIRLPOWER ISSUE 8
Photography and Video Direction by Indira Cesarine
Beer was discovered at the age of twelve when Justin Bieber tweeted a link to her video cover of Etta James’ “At Last.” “That was actually my grandma who decided for me to do that. She was like, ‘You should cover this beautiful song called “At Last.”’ And I was like, ‘Grandma I know “At Last,” I’ve heard it before!’ And she was like, ‘You should cover it. It’s a beautiful song. You should definitely do a cover.’ I listened through it a few times, and I listened to other people’s covers and I just kind of posted it. But yeah, that one was my grandma’s complete idea.”
She went viral seemingly overnight and was shortly thereafter signed to Bieber’s label, Island Records, and picked up for management by Scooter Braun, who also manages Bieber. A “mega-belieber” herself, Beer says, “I think Justin was a definite huge part of my inspiration, because he was kind of recognized the same way, and I always looked up to him as a young little girl. I loved him and I thought he was super talented, and I really aspired to be a lot like him.” When Scooter brought her into the studio to meet her hero and the man who discovered her: “I had the basic reaction you imagine a sixth grade girl to have… I was freaking out… I’m pretty sure I was wearing this turquoise-colored sweater and I walked into the room, and Scooter said, ‘Justin is here, do you want me to introduce you?’ and I was like, ‘Yeahhhh.’ I remember Justin was like, ‘Oh that color is really pretty on you.’ And I remember being like,’…uh, uh, uh yeahhh.’ I had no idea what to say back to him. But honestly we bonded instantly. We had a really nice relationship from the start. I always looked at him like a big brother, and I think he always looked at me like a little sister who he has taken under his wing.” When Beer debuted the music video for her very first single, “Melodies,” Bieber made an adorable cameo.
“I remember the moment Scooter sent me that song. He was like, ‘This song is so awesome you should totally sing it and see how it sounds.’ I remember listening to it and I was like, ‘This song is so cute.’ I was obsessed with it the second I heard it.” “Melodies” is pop gold, but as Beer grows older, she’s looking forward to fans seeing a new and more serious side of her. “Now that I’m sixteen, I wear black… I’m not wearing pink little skirts anymore. And my new work is so much better but [“Melodies”] is still a piece of me as an artist and I’m really happy that people got to hear that side of me.” In her single “Unbreakable,” the first from her upcoming debut album, Beer shows a deeper side to her artistry. “I think that song is super magical and really amazing because it’s about loving yourself and being unbreakable and not letting people tear you down, because no matter what you do you’re always going to be judged. There are always gonna be haters, and you just gotta push yourself through, because it will always get better.”
As far as what’s on the horizon, Beer is excited for the release of her upcoming singles, which will lead to her album and a tour to follow. “I’m really looking forward to what this year will bring. I’m definitely going to have a ton of new music out because I’ve just been working really hard on it. There’s so much music that I can’t wait for everyone to hear.” In addition to everything her busy schedule holds, she still finds time to give back, volunteering to help at children’s hospitals. “I like to sing and talk to them and hang out and get to know them, not talk about their sicknesses. Talk about their life. Talk about their friends. Just make them feel like they’re back home for an hour.” It’s evident that Madison Beer will continue to evolve as a role model for her younger audiences, helping them navigate through the perilous jungle of growing up. Her feel-good anthems will surely bring her fame, but it is her sincere optimism and love for music that will solidify her place in pop stardom. A mantra she suggests? “Treat people how you want to be treated.”
Photography and Interview by Indira Cesarine for The Untitled Magazine #GirlPower Issue
Stylist: Kelly Brown
Make-up by Elie Maalouf
Hair by Aaron Light
Photographed at Mr. C’s Beverly Hills
This article originally appeared in The #GirlPower Issue of The Untitled Magazine (2015), pick up a print edition of the issue today!