Artist on the Rise: Baby Queen

With the release of two new very open and authentic singles, “Raw Thoughts” and “These Drugs,” Baby Queen is making a name for herself. 

Are you ready to discover your next favorite artist? Well look no further, because it is going to be Baby Queen. Baby Queen is a stage name for Bella Latham, 23 year old South African-born, London based multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter. She grew up in South Africa, started making music at the age of 10, but did not become serious about it till she was 16. At the age of 18, she decided to pack up her things and move to London to make a name for herself, and that is when she adopted the moniker Baby Queen. She immersed herself into the life of influencers and parties in London, and that is what inspires all of Baby Queen’s music, along with issues like internet addiction and mental health. She released her debut EP, Medicine, in November of 2020, that was filled with upbeat melodies and dazzling pop-hooks, with lyrics about her struggles with depression, body dysmorphia, and so much more. She describes her music as, “intelligent pop”, which I think fits perfectly for her sound. 

Even though it has only been a few months since the release of her debut EP, Baby Queen is back with two new very honest singles.

Raw Thoughts

Baby Queen started off the year strong, with her first release on January 13th, “Raw Thoughts”. Bella said that this is the only song that she wanted to start 2021 with, and I am so happy that she did. “Raw Thoughts” was inspired by the most horrendous, soul-destroying breakup that Bella went through in 2017. She felt like her world had ended, and was even more crushed when he started dating a beautiful model shortly after. Bella and her friends decided to have a night out in London, which turned out to be the wildest night of their lives. She woke up the next morning, feeling a mix of freedom and despair, and the pain of holding onto something that made her feel safe for so long, and wrote this song. The writing of “Raw Thoughts” made the weight on her shoulders disappear and she felt like she could breathe again. The lyrics are open and honest, while the sound is the polar opposite of that. The song goes through ups and downs sonically, with her intelligent pop influences still being heard throughout. The chorus is my favorite part of the song because of the progression mixed with the lyrics. The beat kicks in right at the angriest part of the song, bringing the emotions to new heights.


Photo Credit: Baby Queen Raw Thoughts Cover Art from In2une

The music video for “Raw Thoughts” is almost that of a coming of age movie that you watched as a kid, wishing one day that would be you. It has clips of Baby Queen and her friends having fun, both on a low quality camera so it feels like you are the one filming, mixed in with moments on a higher quality camera that feel more music video-esque. The whole video just feels like you are one of Bella’s friends along for the day having the time of your life. It really reminds me of my own friends and the stupid adventures we used to go on in the middle of the night because we were bored.

If I had to give a rating for the song and video, it would be a 10/10. I love songs that make you want to get up and dance, but lyrically are a lot darker. “Raw Thoughts” is the perfect name for this song, because that is exactly what the lyrics, raw thoughts. If you don’t get up and dance during the chorus of this song, then you need to re-evaluate your music taste and maybe get your ears checked.

These Drugs

I got to be on a Zoom call with Bella over a month ago, and we all got to hear “These Drugs” a few days before it was released. From the second I heard this song, I was blown away, and I absolutely fell in love with her music. She later on performed the song acoustically, which of course was even more beautiful. “These Drugs” takes a heavy topic like depression and drug abuse marrying it to a catchy song that will get stuck in your head. The verses are very calming and slower than the rest of the song, with the guitar and synths mixed in the back. The simplicity and slowness of the song allows the lyrics to be the center focus. While the chorus is very simple, it is so powerful, especially with the lyric, “Every time I take these drugs to pick me up. All I ever do is cry.” The bridge is my favorite part of the song, as she lets down her guard and completely opens up with her emotions.

This song was written when she was in a really bad place and believed she wasn’t a good person or she didn’t deserve good things. Bella said, “I think for so long, there were so many parts of myself that I was refusing to acknowledge or pay attention to, and when you ignore your own pain or refuse to face up to your mistakes, you can get yourself into a self-destructive cycle, which is ultimately what ended up happening. I think escapism is necessary, and we all find our escape in different places, but some are just healthier than others.” She felt uncomfortable with being so open and honest with her lyrics in this song, and knew she was taking a risk with releasing it, but she wanted to share this story with everyone. With this song, she wants people to know that if you can accept all parts of yourself, even the darkest ones, then you can learn to like or love yourself and you won’t feel that need to run away anymore.


Photo Credit: These Drugs Cover Art from Baby Queen

In addition to the single, she released an accompanying music video, which the idea came from the first line of the song : “I don’t wanna do drugs anymore. If you saw me through the eyes of a bathroom stall, your skin would crawl.” This is one of her favorite lyrics that she has ever written and was inspired by her obsession of only ever seeing somebody through the eyes of different bathroom stalls. She felt like she had the most euphoric moments of her life in those bathroom stalls, and wanted to recreate that. The video has four different bathroom stalls with four different energies and narratives. I don’t want to spoil too much, but one bathroom set has neon pink lighting, Barbie dolls hanging from the ceiling, and glitter and balloons covering the bathroom. You will have to watch the video to find out the rest of the beautiful sets.

I love this song so much, and even played it on my radio show, Everything But Country, in celebration of International Women’s Month. “These Drugs” is so raw, so honest, and a song I feel like I can relate to, and so can many other 20-somethings. It is about this battle you have with yourself in your head, and trying to escape that feeling by partying and taking drugs. Even though you have those euphoric moments in the bathroom stall, you still wake up the next morning with those same dark thoughts. That escape can only last so long. If I had to rate this song and video, they would both get 10/10. 

Written By: McCaeley O’Rourke

Feature Photo Source:  In2une Music


Choker at the House of Blues

On October 28th, 2019, up and coming artist, Choker graced the stage at the House of Blues San Diego to deliver an intimate and beautiful performance. His mix of R&B, Indie, and Rap created a mix of emotions and ultimately left his crowd wanting more.

After hearing about Choker from one of my close friends we decided to go see him live at the House of Blues. Fast forward to Monday night, we made it to the House of Blues and waited in line to enter the Voodoo Room. I had never been to the House of Blues before, so it was interesting to have the Voodoo Room as my first experience. It was a very intimate room composed of paintings that, I am assuming, have something to do with voodoo culture. I noticed that Choker pulls a variety of fans, individuals mainly interested in R&B and Rap and a few Indie fans.

To my surprise, the opener for Choker was bLAck pARty. He is also an up and coming artist, that fuses R&B, electronic sounds, and Rap. He started off with “No Complaints” which created a mellow vibe where you could find yourself swaying. Next, he performed “Bloom” which picked up the energy and got the crowd moving and grooving. Throughout his performance, he mentioned how grateful he was to be on stage. Something I admired about bLAck pARty was his passion for each song. His passion was noticeable and made the crowd appreciate every word that was sung to them. After his performance, he hung out in the crowd as we waited for Choker.

Around 8:40 PM, Choker arrived on stage and immediately started his set with “Brown Steel” from his debut album, PEAK. After performing “Brown Steel” he shook everyone’s hands that stood in the front of the crowd. He captivated his crowd and manifested for all of his fans to be present at the moment.

Choker continued his set with a few slower songs from his PEAK and Honeybloom album. He decided to pick up the energy with “Suzuki Peaches” and got the crowd jumping with him. Keeping the energy up he delivers two more songs “Gradient” and “Petrol Bliss,” which successfully kept the crowd singing and moving.

After leveling the energy with slower songs like “El Dorado,” “Juno,” and “Lucky” he decided to go into the middle of the crowd to perform “Starfruit NYC.” When the beat dropped everyone started jumping and screaming, “S.D IS AN AIRPORT WITH NO WALLS.” After jumping and getting push around, he returned to the stage to wrap up his performance. As the show neared its end, Choker thanked everyone for coming out and said to meet him at the merchandise table.

We asked Choker if he had any advice to people that want to farther their music career and he said,

“Remember to be passionate and genuine about the music you make, the moment you lose your passion others will notice.”

Choker is as honest and genuine as his music. Check out his music here! If you are going to Camp Flog Gnaw this year he will be performing on Saturday at 3:35pm!

Written by: Jasmine Alexander
Photos by: Jasmine Alexander

Crumb: Jinx Album Review

Breaking through the boundaries of modern-psychedelic indie rock, Crumb’s latest album, Jinx, broadens past experiences of melodic and atmospheric twists in ten songs, extending it into the present, experimental dream-like state in which Crumb embodies.

Released on June 14 and about 27 minutes in length, the Brooklyn-based psychedelic indie-pop group bring about direct, engaging instrumentation through this newly released lyrical experience. Jinx is Crumb’s debut album, their first long play after releasing two EP’s in 2016 and 2017. The first two Extended Plays released were very heavily guitar focused— but, we can hear the maturity in the sound of this new album with a balance of dream-pop synth and defined guitar leads that almost sound vibrato. 

Crumb – Audiotree Far Out Session

Jinx feels like an elapsed, extended timeline of a change in emotional anxiety, atmosphere, and landscape. This grows through a multitude of time changes, gradual buildups, and lengthy, yet important self-realizing breakdowns. Reverting back to verse lines and stagnant leads in middle and end, the quartet keeps the listener wanting more, yet simultaneously feeling completely satisfied with the material.

Tempo changes in the songs create a tense new groove based on a faster beat and chord and melody changes. These newfound sections shift parts of the album from a slow, more temperamental song to an increasingly dancy, upbeat mediation. 

As we near the end of the album, “Part III” starts on a more dramatic note, but continues the slow guitar strums of Crumb’s signature sound that has developed throughout the listening and builds with airy arpeggio lines on the synth. This song is solely focused on keyboard chords and lead, where the guitar which blends into the background. A pause shifts the vocals onto falsetto and a dominant guitar line in front of the song, while octave bass lines build up towards the climax of the song.

“Jinx,”  the final song of the album, feels like an interlude and a release of emotion and feeling built up over the course of the ten song debut. The sound of water and waves especially gives a crashing sensation, as if we are coming down from floating in space.  

Above all, Jinx feels like a nostalgic spiral of changes in climate, ultimately leaving you with a breezy, strung out, and dizzy state that comes close to a fever dream in space. A personal favorite from this album is M.R. Crumb are establishing a new sound, whilst building on top of their old one, gripping and captivating us as we anticipate what is next.

Written By: Jesse Miller

Julia Michaels at House of Blues San Diego

If you want to have a great time at a concert dancing and singing the night away – Go to a Julia Michaels Concert!

You truly won’t regret it. Both Julia Michaels’ energy and her audience’s energy filled the room. I can honestly say that her concert was one of the most fun ones I’ve been to simply because she had the loudest crowd.

Julia Michaels performing at House of Blues San Diego

Julia Michaels sold out her 9th headlining show for her Inner Monologue Tour at House of Blues San Diego on April 20, 2019. She is a very busy artist as she is also currently touring with P!nk on her Beautiful Trauma Tour at the same time as her Inner Monologue Tour.

Many of you may know Julia Michaels. However, if you’ve never heard of her, then you’ve most likely heard her hit single, “Issues.” Before that, Michaels was writing hit singles for other artists such as Justin Bieber’s “Sorry,” Selena Gomez’s “Bad Liar,” Nick Jonas’s “Close,” and many more.

What is interesting about Michaels is she’s an intricate person – I’d describe her as a beautiful badass with her signature feminine floral dresses and her tattoo sleeves and nose ring. She has a very distinctive and different sound than most artists and her voice is easily recognizable.  Michaels is also a very open musician, which was the concept behind her “Inner Monologue” – those thoughts that she has that people don’t see from the outside. The stage represented what you see on the outside – everything is happy with smiley faces and flowers, but you listen to the lyrics and realize everything isn’t all sunshine and rainbows.

Michaels attempted to make her tour relatable by letting her fans know that it’s okay to go through depression or anxiety.

Julia Michaels made it clear that it was a judgement free zone and safe space for everyone to let go and sing and dance. Her music has a feel good vibe to it, and it was so much fun letting loose and relieving stress by screaming along to her songs. Additionally, her songs hold a lot of emotion and truth, so it naturally felt as though this was a place to just let everything out.

Julia Michaels has such a strong connection with her audience, she wanted to get as close to them as possible.

At one point, Michaels’ security carried her into the audience as she finished “Happy,” followed by a cover of Cee Lo Green’s “Forget You,” and then a ukulele rendition of her own song “Apple.” She also sat on the edge of the stage pointing out her audience’s posters and making eye contact with fans. I even heard from some fans that the meet and greet took two hours because she’s so genuine and her conversations with each individual were long and personal.

I love how you could tell the audience truly admires Julia as they all had matching floral dresses and sneakers similar to Julia’s. But despite their elegant appearance, they were definitely one of the loudest audiences I’ve ever heard in a venue. Sometimes, you couldn’t even hear Julia because the audience had so much passion and energy! It’s amazing when songs from concerts become your new favorites because of how amazing and fun they sound live – and for me those songs were“Into You” and “Happy.”


I loved getting the opportunity to see Julia Michaels. Her message she imparted that you shouldn’t be afraid to be yourself and let your feelings out deeply resonated with me. If you want to have one of these fantastic nights with an amazing artist, make sure to go see Julia Michaels on her Inner Monologue Tour.

Review By: Alexandra Will
Photos By: Alexandra Will