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


New Music Friday with Mike – February 28

New Releases this “New Music Friday” comes from Justin Timberlake, Lady Gaga, Jhene Aiko, and more.

Happy Friday, everybody! We’ve not only made it through another week but the end of the month. This is the last Friday in February! We had some excellent music released today and honestly the perfect way to close out February, so let’s dive in.

“The Other Side” (feat. SZA) – Justin Timberlake

Screenshot of tweet from @jtimberlake on twitter announcing new song “The Other Side”

On Wednesday, February 26, Justin Timberlake dropped not only a new song but a new music video for “The Other Side” which is the first single to be featured on the upcoming “Trolls World Tour” movie. Justin tweeted on February 26 “TURN THIS UP @sza” which was a small clip of the music video. The music video is giving me so many throwback vibes and I’m here for it. It pays tribute to Michael and Janet Jackson’s “Scream, Missy Elliot’s “The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly)) and TLC’s “No Scrubs” Check out the music video for “The Other Side” below, stream “The Other Side” on all streaming platforms, and check out “Trolls World Tour” in theatres on April 17, 2020.

Screenshot of YouTube Music Video for “The Other Side” feat SZA by Justin Timberlake

“Stupid Love” – Lady GaGa

Screenshot of Tweet from @ladygaga announcing the release of
“Stupid Love” song & music video

She’s back everyone and couldn’t be more excited. The singer tweeted “Stupid Love” new single & Music Video Out Now #StupidLove #ShotOniPhone”. The video shot entirely on an iPhone 11 Pro, similar to what Selena Gomez did her for her song “Lose You to Love Me” and “Look at her Now”.

GaGa’s music video is a futuristic type battle taking place in the desert with some power choreography. The music video opens with a message that reads “The world rots in conflict. May tribes battle for dominance. While the spiritual ones pray and sleep for peace, the Kindness punks fight for chromatica.”

My favorite lyric from “Stupid Love” is “Gotta quit this crying/Nobody’s gonna heal me if I don’t open the door.” No word yet on a new album, but could the new album be titled “Chromatica”? We’ll have to wait and see. Check out the music video for “Stupid Love” below and stream it on all streaming services.

Screenshot of Lady Gaga Music Video for “Stupid Love” from YouTube.

“Happiness Over Everything” (feat. Miguel & Future) – Jhené Aiko

Screenshot of Jhené Aiko “Happiness Over Everything (H.O.E) Music Video

Jhené Aiko came in full force this new music Friday. Jhené announced a new song, new album, and tour. The new song “Happiness Over Everything (H.O.E.)” features Miguel and Future and is about meeting someone, clicking with them, and letting your guard down to inform them of your intentions. The new album, “Chilombo,” will have features from Swae Lee, Nas, Big Sean, and more.

The tour titled “The Magic Hour Tour” with Queen Naija & Ann Marie will kick off in Boston on May 1 and wrap up on June 27 at the Saint Kitts festival. Unfortunately, Jhené will not be making a stop in San Diego. The nearest show would be in Los Angeles at The Greek Theatre, June 1.

Ticket sales for the L.A. show begin Friday, March 6 at 10 AM here. Check out the video for “Happiness Over Everything H.O.E.” above, stream the song on all streaming services, and check out the full tour date list below.

Screenshot of Tour Schedule from Jhené Aiko Instagram @jheneaiko

More New Music from February 28

Live Off My Closet” (feat. Future) – Lil Baby

not ur friend” – Jeremy Zucker

Rojo” – J. Balvin

God Whispered Your Name” – Keith Urban

Where Am I At” – MAX

Locket” – Lila Drew

Baby Girl” – Bryce Vine

That’s your New Music Friday update for the week. What music new music do you have on repeat Weekend? Let me know by checking in on social media, @mikestarkca on Twitter and Instagram.

Written by: Mike Stark

Album Review: Halsey’s Manic

Halsey album manic album cover. Girl with glitter on face.

On January 17, Halsey released her newest album Manic, giving listeners an uncensored look into the artist’s head and heart.

The wait is finally over, Halsey’s new album Manic is here and the singer couldn’t be happier. “The most torturing and beautiful wait of my life has come to an end. Manic is out now,” the singer tweeted on January 16. The wait was definitely worth it as the singer’s last album release was 2017’s Hopeless Fountain Kingdom. Manic gives us an uncensored look into the singer’s head and heart while also learning more about her past relationship, bipolar disorder, and constant struggle with self-doubt and confidence. Before Manic release, fans already had access to half the album with the following released songs “Without Me”, “Graveyard”, “Finally// Beautiful Stranger”, and “Suga’s Interlude”. The rest of the album is where Halsey gets raw and emotional. Manic has some special guests who are important to Halsey who include Dominic Fike, John Mayer (end of track 3AM), Alanis Morissette, and BTS member Suga.

Halsey album manic album cover. Girl with glitter on face.
Taken from Halsey’s Twitter

The album kicks off with “Ashley” her own name, Ashley Frangipane. This song introduces fans to her real identity, Ashley, not Halsey. She reflects on her past as the persona Halsey. We find out that when her character Halsey is no longer here, her musical legacy will remain. Halsey shared with Zane Lowe from Apple Music that “It’s arguably the most Halsey sounding song on the album…It was like a comfortable entry point for people.”

Second, on the list is stripped-back track “Clementine” which was released on the singer’s 25th birthday. The song addresses a romantic interest while discussing some of her mental issues in general. This all turns back to how vulnerable Halsey is in her character.

“Graveyard” is the second single off of manic to be released. This song is part of the album compared to just being a stand-alone single. “Graveyard” discusses being in love with someone who is not in a good place, yet you love them so much and are willing to go to that bad place with them. The song also teaches us that we have to take care of ourselves while still loving someone and not following them to the bad place their in.

“You should be sad” is the last single released and probably the best. This country-influenced track is where Halsey spills out her frustrations with an ex-boyfriend, while also throwing some shade about her ex’s character with lyrics like “No, you’re not half the man you think that you are,” “Cause, you can’t love nothing unless there’s something in it for you,” and “You can’t fill the hole inside of you with money, drugs, and cars.” On twitter, a fan asked Halsey her inspirations for this track (knowing that she is pop/alternative musician.) and she responded with, “the most petty and heartbreaking songs all come from country. I wrote YSBS (you should be sad) on my living room floor on my guitar. Lots of time in Nashville too.” The music video for “You should be sad” has little references to her idols which include Christina Aguilera, Lady GaGa, and Shania Twain.

You should be sad – Music Video *Viewer Discretion Advised*

“Forever…(is a long time)” is the first track of a trio that is meant to be listened in succession. The song starts in major key before switching over to minor. This style choice represents what happens once Halsey gets in her own head. The track showcases what happens when you fall in love and then sabotage because of your own paranoia and insecurities.

“Dominic’s Interlude” features Dominic Fike, the track discusses brotherly love which is why Halsey chose to have Dominic on the track. The interlude itself is a representation of unique relationships. This track is the second of the trio featured on Manic.

“I HATE EVERYBODY” is the final track in the trio. Contrary to the song title, she does not hate everybody all the time. Halsey shared that “’I HATE EVERYBODY’” is about when you’re young, your insecurities can get the best of you.” She also shared that “I shouldn’t be desirable because some rock star you think is cool thinks I’m desirable, no that’s not what this is anymore.” This is the perfect way to close out a trio with a little angst.

In “3am,” the song following “I HATE EVERYBODY,” Halsey chats about the calls you make to friends and lovers in the early morning hours in order to feel love. “3AM” also represents how drinking can seriously affect your mental state while causing you to doubt yourself. The singer tweeted that “After a night out, I came home and was ringing everyone in my contacts cause I was trying to talk to literally ANYONE so I wouldn’t have to sit with my own thoughts.” The Outro to the track is a voicemail from John Mayer which was unexpected but super cool.

“Without Me” – The first single for manic and released from Halsey after her last album, Hopeless Fountain Kingdom. This track was directed towards ex-boyfriend G-Eazy, after being cheated on by the rapper. Halsey shared that “Without Me” is the rawest thing she’s ever made. There is no character with this song, it’s just Ashley. The track is about her life and the relationship the entire world watched under a magnifying glass. Originally, the song was supposed to be a standalone single, however, in September 2019, the singer revealed that it would be number 9 on manic.

Without Me – Music Video *Viewer Discretion Advised*

“Finally // beautiful stranger” – In this slow romantic song, Halsey discusses the first time she met her boyfriend Dom, aka YUNGBLUD. Halsey was the one who asked Dom out and said, “do you want to go and get drinks.” They had never met one another before and just hit it off. This was the first relationship following her break-up with rapper G-Eazy. Halsey wrote this song when they first met, but when the song was officially released, the couple had already broken up.

“Alanis Interlude” feat. Alanis Morissette – This track features the very talented Alanis Morissette, someone with who Halsey looks up to. The interlude is reflective of relationships in her life. Her friend Dom is reflective of “brother love relationships and Alanis represents a sexual and professional empowerment.” For those who do not follow Halsey, in her previous albums, she has made it clear she is bisexual and she wanted to have a song that reflects all of her including her sexuality.

“Killing Boys” – “You are killing people.” “No, I’m killing boys.” Sound familiar? Well, that line is from the 2009 horror film “Jennifer’s Body” and it is a conversation between actresses Meghan Fox and Amanda Seyfried. The actual audio clip from the scene starts off this track. The song is about how a woman should be feeling after a breakup. Unlike the song “you should be sad” which directly talks about her frustration with a certain relationship, this one is broader and can apply to anyone. Ultimately, Halsey is communicating to women everywhere that you should be a strong and independent woman.

“Suga Interlude” – On this bilingual track, which is awesome by the way. Halsey brings on Suga from the K-Pop group BTS. The song is about falling in and out of love and fear of letting go of that relationship. The chorus reinforces this where Halsey says “I wonder what’s in store. If I don’t love it anymore (Hey) stuck between the having it all and giving it up, yeah (hey).”

“More” – This one hit me emotionally, why? Halsey opens up about her health and that she suffers from endometriosis and the three miscarriages, she tweeted on March 25, 2019. Endometriosis causes fertility issues. In More, Halsey states that all of her sufferings has increased her love for her future baby. More is not just another love song, this is a song to a person who has not been created yet, but when they are she wants them to know how much they are loved.

“Still Learning” – We all can relate to this song at one point in our lives. Halsey discusses her struggle to love herself despite the fact she is one of the most successful singers today. A couple of points she emphasizes in the song are troubles with self-esteem and self-love. The chorus of the song says, “But I’m still learning to love myself”. I appreciate this track so much because learning to love yourself is extremely important and this song emphasizes this perfectly.

“929” – The perfect way to close out her album. This song is just Halsey getting all her thoughts out. These thoughts include things about herself, her family, and her fans. At the beginning of the track, she shares something fun and personal about herself. She was born at 9:29 am on 9/29/1994.

You can catch Halsey on tour for the new album in various U.S. cities. Visit her website here to find a city near you, and stream Manic on Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music.

Written By: Mike Stark

New Music Friday With Mike – February 14

For this week’s “New Music Friday,” we have new releases from Justin Bieber, Billie Eilish, Sam Smith, and more.

Happy Friday and Valentine’s Day! We made it to the end of another week, phew. Welcome to the first “New Music Friday” where every week, I update you on what’s fresh out for music. This week we had a ton of new music drop from all of your favorite artists, so let’s dive right in.

Justin Bieber – Changes

Justin Bieber’s highly anticipated new album Changes is finally here and a great valentines day present for all. A lot of changes have happened since the singer’s previous album Purpose, which was released in 2015. He is now married to Hailey Baldwin, which has been an inspiration to the album. The singer also informed us of his battle with Lyme Disease. Justin stopped by the MTV studios and told MTV’s Sway Calloway the vibe of the album is “super R&B influenced” and features include Quavo, Post Malone, Clever, Lil Dicky, Travis Scott, and Khelani. You can stream Changes everywhere on music streaming platforms. You can also check out the tour schedule on his website to find if Justin is coming to a city near you. Good news local beliebers, Justin will be stopping in San Diego on May 26, 2020.

Justin Bieber – Intentions feat. Quavo | Music Video

Billie Eilish – “No Time To Die”

Screenshot of tweet from 007 twitter account stating that Billie Eilish will be performing "No Time To Die" as the theme song for the next 007 movie.
Twitter Announcement from @007 on Twitter announcing Billie Eilish performing “No Time To Die”

The theme song for the upcoming 007 James Bond movie is here. Billie Eilish with “No Time To Die.” Billie and brother Finneas co-write the song which was announced on the official James Bond 007 Twitter account back on January 14, 2020. Eilish, 18, is the youngest person to write and perform the 007 theme song. Other past theme song performers of the franchise include Tina Turner, Wings, Madonna, Adele, and Sam Smith. You can stream “No Time To Die” on music streaming platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music, Amazon Music, YouTube Music, and more. The movie No Time To Die comes out on April 10, 2020.

Sam Smith – “To Die For”

This week, New Music Friday falls on Valentine’s Day and, of course, I had to throw in a song that fits perfectly for all my single friends out there. Sam Smith’s “To Die For.” Sam expressed to Rolling Stone, “…This is for all the lonely hearts out there on another Valentine’s Day.” Thank you, Sam Smith, I truly needed this one. In addition to releasing “To Die For” Sam also informed us that his third studio album is set for release on May 1, 2020. Pre-orders for the album begin February 15, 2020.

Sam Smith – To Die For | Music Video

More New Music from February 14

Other songs that dropped today include:

What new music are you listening to or have on repeat this weekend? Let me know by hitting me up on Twitter or Instagram @mikestarkca See you next week for another New Music Friday update.

Written By: Mike Stark