Beabadoobee: 'I'm Going to Speak Filipino Onstage'

The Fil-Brit artist is hyped for her homecoming concert.
IMAGE ERIKA KAMANO

For the rest of 2022, expect a lot of concerts coming back to the consciousness of every music fan. Many K-pop idols are taking the stage in addition to a new crop of local artists coming up on stage to share the music they’ve been writing in the past two years. 

But there are also surprise artists who are coming home for the first time ever. Like London-based Filipina artist and Dirty Hit Records-signee Bea Kristi, or better known by her stage name beabadoobee, who is coming to Manila not just to play more than a couple hours worth of material, but also visit and catch up what she’s missed in the Philippines, both in a cultural and familial perspective. 

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Esquire Philippines caught up with Beabadoobee while she was hanging out at an airport in Australia. She shared her thoughts on what the brand new album means to her and how playing in the Philippines for the first time means to the young singer-songwriter and grunge-pop artist. 

The artist was having a meal all while chatting with local reporters based in the country. She expressed excitement about her upcoming concert in New Frontier Theater this coming Friday, September 16.

Photo by Live Nation.
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“It’s like how every show goes,” she says, “A lot of energy, some songs from the new album Beatopia. And I'm going to speak Filipino on stage, which I'm really excited about. Because I can understand fluently, like I could watch a whole Tagalog film and I could understand Ilonggo fluently, I just can’t speak properly which is really annoying. I’m gonna get my mom to help me say something in Tagalog on stage.”

Kristi elaborated on her roots and how music was able to sculpt her personality growing up. Hearing the “Kami nAPO Muna” Apo Hiking Society tribute album at the age of seven helped Kristi understand her Filipino roots. She also shared the alternative music that she listened to while growing up, name-dropping eclectic artists such as The Sundays, Cibbo Matto, and The Smashing Pumpkins as massive influences.

“Sonically, it was all part of growing up and maturing,” she says. “And I am labeled as this kind of 90s revivalist, which I'm not mad about, (if) they are able to find nostalgia in my music.”

 

Although her music is reaching people from all over the globe, Kristi thinks that touring is like getting closer to her home every single day of the week. It may push her back on writing new material, but the artist says she is excited about learning more about the world outside of London, England. 

“A part of me feels very blessed to have this sense of unknowingness and naivete to everything,” she says, “I appreciate everything, but I don't get completely overwhelmed and lost in like the ‘sauce.’ It used to be very much of an issue because touring is, like, you get so much love from the fans, and you feel the energy firsthand when you’re on stage, but being away from home is a battle that I continue to struggle with.  

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“Touring places like Asia and going back home to the Philippines is like very unspoken territory,” she adds. “It's like a new world. It’s like the feeling I had in Japan; just the idea of being that close to my actual home, it's really comforting, so I think I’ve been feeling really happy, which is really rare for me on tour. And I think it’s because I’m going back home.” 

 

Kristi admits that she’s only known the surface level part of her hometown besides the fact that festivities and family are things that people spend most of their time on. Still, she says she’s excited to meet family and new friends in the country.

“My idea of the Philippines is just SM and my house,” she admits. “I don’t know how to be a teenager or a young adult in the Philippines because it's just me as a child hanging out with my cousins and eating loads of food. I think No Rome has sent me and my band loads of recommendations.” No Rome, is of course, a fellow London-based Filipino artist also signed under Dirty Hit. 

Kristi further elaborated how much moving to London at the tender age of seven impacted her life. 

“The transition of living in the Philippines to moving to London is also a big inspiration for my music” she confesses. “That was pretty difficult for a little girl in a very white predominant all-girl Catholic school, so I had a lot of experiences to write about.” 

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Kristi sees her most recent album “Beatopia” as a manifestation of her feelings growing up. What seems to be packaged as an animated alternative-rock worldbuilding project involves Kristi and her friends-turned-bandmates, whom she met through other friends at parties during her formative years. 

“I think it's less of a concept now because I’ve grown up and I saw so much of the physical world and when I look back at it for what seven-year old ‘Be’ was doing,” she explains. “It was almost a way of escapism of everything that was going on in my life as a seven-year old should be going through. It was love and accepting feelings that I so long repressed and sort of pushed them under the rug. It’s just like rediscovering that and like living with it and growing from it and instead of using it as an excuse to act a certain way, I use it as a jumpstart to be like, ‘Yeah this is going to be the new Be’ type of thing.”

In the middle of talking about “Beatopia”, Kristi also expressed interest in checking out the Filipino music scene during her stay here in the Philippines. 

“I would love to watch a gig there while in Manila,” she says. “If you know any recommendations. If you know anyone playing, I would be so down to go and watch. You know how Filipinos go, ‘I'm going to meet all the 15 members of my family within the space of two days so it's going to be really packed.”

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Before the chat ends, Kristi explains that her music isn’t just plain imagination. It comes from a place of personal experience and has now reached listeners from around the world. She says listeners aren’t just listeners, but people who have also experienced situations as she has. 

“I love looking at art in general,” she says. “But then it mostly really does come from my experience in life and what I go through and what I feel because, by the end of the day, that's what makes my music sort of relatable to other people. So I write about things that I go through and there’s always gonna be one person that goes through the same thing as me.” 


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