Singer, songwriter, and producer (“and dancer, but nobody's seen my dance moves yet”) Blackbear is at it again. Today, he drops his latest track, “Queen of Broken Hearts,” the lead single from his upcoming album, Everything Means Nothing, which will be released in two parts later this summer.
In 2012, he co-wrote Justin Bieber’s “Boyfriend” with Mike Posner (which went to number 2 on Billboard Hot 100), and shortly thereafter started releasing music as Blackbear with his debut EP Foreplay. He released his debut album Deadroses in 2015 and has released three more LPs since—his third album, Digital Druglord, went to number 14 on the US Billboard 200. He’s amassed almost 21 million Spotify monthly listeners and shows no sign of slowing down.
In honor of his latest single, Blackbear talked to L’Officiel USA about his new music, being mislabeled as a rapper, and his newborn son.
L'Officiel: What have you been up to during quarantine?
Blackbear: Quarantine started for my family a little early because my son was on the way. My girl wasn't allowed to fly, so we couldn't really go anywhere. He was born in January, so like four months before that, basically in October, we stopped—I still had my shows here and there on the weekends—but we kind of started training ourselves for quarantine. It worked out for us a little bit because we were semi-prepared. I feel like I've been some sort of social distancing my entire life; I have a lot of social anxiety, and I'm not saying that to be cool, I go into a place and I actually feel like I'm crawling out of my skin sometimes. That's something I'm working on.
L'O: Have you felt creative during this time or the pressure to be creative?
B: Probably just as, or more, I would say. I just finished an album, that's gonna come out in two parts, six songs in six songs. I would say half of it was made in quarantine. Some of the better ones were made in quarantine.
L'O: Tell me a little bit about your music background and how you first got started.
B: I feel like I wasn't really good at a lot of things. I had friends growing up that were skateboarders and I would try to film them; I would be the VHS guy, which is like a camcorder for the nineties. I was doing some form of Tik Tok-ing, but I was the one with the phone, for instance, for anybody that's reading this that's younger. I was doing YouTube videos, but I wasn't the one in the YouTube videos growing up. I mean, maybe I was sometimes, but I wasn't really good at a lot of things and music just kind of stuck. I always had this rhythm in my head or a beat in my head and I couldn't stop banging on things. Maybe it's because I'm ADHD, I'm not sure, but music is good for people with ADHD, for sure. Clicking and tapping and all that kind of stuff.
L'O: Tell me a bit about your new single “Queen of Broken Hearts.”
B: "Queen of Broken Hearts" is a song about social media. Yay! Another song about social media! I feel like there are so many albums and songs about ‘the internet's ruined our lives,’ so it's a little bit cliche. The song is about media, but it's a different look at how it affects our mental health and about taking character defects and putting them out into the world. I feel like I was Taylor Swift-ing it; I feel like I was saying this is what's wrong with me and I'm going to wear it like a crown.
L'O: And you have a music video for that coming out.
B: We believe so. We have two different videos that we started. One, a definite lyric video is coming out, and that's done. The other video we tried making a quarantine, and we're still trying really hard to make it work, but if it doesn't work, then we'll just shoot one when people can get tested and shoot a video. But yeah, there’s an amazing lyric video coming out that features the LG phone with the double screen.
L'O: What went into the quarantine music video?
B: A green screen in my garage, a haircut from my dad's girlfriend, a blue hair dye job done by my girlfriend. My brother took on a whole new persona as a music video director. This is his first time ever shooting anything so that was really awesome. It was way different.
L'O: Tell me a bit more about your new album, Everything Means Nothing.
B: Like I said, it's two parts, six songs and six songs. The first six will drop sometime in July and the other six will drop sometime in August. The first six are "Hot Girl Bummer," "Me & Ur Ghost," "Queen of Broken Hearts" and then three emo songs in a row, just hitting them right off the bat with the emo stuff. One's an upbeat emo song and then one's like a proper emo song and then one is an emo-emo song. The next six are straight-up bangers. I think stylistically, it matches the best of Digital Druglord, the best of Deadroses, the best of all Blackbear plus kind of just new pop performer sensibility.
L'O: If you could collaborate with anybody, who would it be?
B: I feel like my answer changes every time someone asks that because like my heart and my angst wants to say Ariana [Grande] and Harry [Styles] and BTS. Then the people that I really want to collaborate with I'm literally starting to, like Stephan Jenkins from Third Eye Blind. I'm going to be working with his band on stuff. I think if I could work with one band it would be the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
L'O: What inspires you? Where or what do you get your inspiration from?
B: I definitely don't get it from just walking outside and breathing air, that's for sure. I have to do a lot of extra shit. We usually have to get a place far away from my home. We'll drive there. Usually, I have to take a nice long walk in a different area, surrounding myself with new things, not necessarily new people, but new things. Different surroundings and different parts of the world pull different things out of me. I get a lot of good shit in the middle of the night like if I wake up and I need water, I'll write something down. I think I wrote one down last night—I'm in my notes right now. Last night I wrote, "I was so blacked out I forgot to make a memory last night." There's a song idea right there.
L'O: What are some of your hobbies outside of music?
B: I dabble in the stock market. I collect vintage t-shirts. I like to keep in touch with friends. I think being a good friend is a great hobby to have. Being a better person is my top priority and hobby. I just like to check in on people and make sure they’re good. I think my hobby is being personal.
L'O: What do you want people to know about you or your music that they might not know already?
B: That I'm a pop artist and a singer and writer and producer and dancer, but nobody's seen my dance moves yet. A lot of people say like, 'you're my favorite rapper!' and I'm like, that's so fucking weird because I've never rapped before in my life. I've gone in interviews before and they're like, ‘do a freestyle for us’ and I'm like, ‘what is that? Is that like 8 Mile?’ They get this idea that I'm a rapper, I think because Google says rapper or used to say rapper or something. Maybe because I sing fast, I don't know why. It's really strange.
L'O: What's next for you?
B: Just the album and raising my son, making sure he knows good principles and is a good person. Family and music, really. I'm definitely going to do at least two to three more albums as Blackbear.