check out all “Modern Woman” Series
Photography, interview and styling by Lauren Engel
“Stop trying to grow up so fast. Now I look back and I’m seventeen now and I’m like, damn, I was thirteen wishing I was seventeen and now I’m seventeen wishing I was thirteen again. That’s what everyone tells their younger self– to slow down and chill a little bit.”
Madison Beer needs no introduction. If you have been on Instagram long enough we’re sure you’ve stumbled upon one of her selfies. But she’s far from just being an insta-chick. Justin Bieber scouted her a few years ago because of her YouTube Bruno Mars covers. Since then she has moved in LA, came out with a few impressive songs and has an equally well-known boyfriend (Vine star Jack Gilinsky, of Jack & Jack).
You started your singing career by uploading covers to YouTube. What made you decide to do that?
Honestly nothing. I just love to sing all the time and wanted to post my videos on YouTube. It was so easy and simple. There was no thought behind it at all. I was like, ‘okay, Mom, I want to post a YouTube video’.
Wow, that’s impressive! You were so motivated at a young age. Who inspired you back then?
I really love Justin (Bieber). That’s how he started so I was like, wow, you never know what will happen.
Why did you select those songs to sing?
The Bruno Mars mash-up was one of the first I ever did. I just love Bruno Mars and at the time his songs were in the top charts so I was hearing them all the time. I got home one day and I decided to put them all together in one video and song. It just came out really well.
You mentioned in a previous interview you love Britney Spears. What about her do you admire as a role model? Who are your other influences?
Yes, 100%. I loved Britney Spears growing up. I was Britney Spears for Halloween. I loved her so much and I still do, she’s amazing. Now I love Rihanna and Amy Winehouse is a big influence too.
What music was played at home? What did you grow up listening to when you first started singing?
My dad and I actually used to jam out to Grateful Dead and the Rolling Stones. I always grew up around really good music. I think that’s where my musical side grows from.
Sounds like you have a cool dad! Are your parents from a creative background?
Yes my dad was more into the music side. My mom is really creative, too. She was an interior designer for a long time.
Have they always been supportive with your music career?
Oh, totally. They know I’m in love with music.
Tell us about your relationship with your parents. Do you have any siblings?
I think that moving to LA has drifted me and my dad apart because he still lives in New York. But it’s okay because we’re still really close. It’s sad that I don’t get to see him everyday, but I see my mom everyday whom I am close to as well. We spend a lot of time together so we fight a lot (laughs) but we’re definitely really close. My brother is about to turn fourteen so he’s finally the age where we can start hanging out.
You said previously that your mom manages you. Is it difficult for your mom to be your mom but also a manager?
It’s been weird because when we fight we’re fighting about business stuff so it’s really difficult. I try and separate the two because I don’t ever want to ruin my relationship with my mom over business. A lot of business relationships end up falling out so I just want to make sure that we keep the two very separate. She can be a momager but can also be a mom.
Do you think that it’s sustainable or do you hope to get a manager?
I think she likes it but, yes, hopefully I’ll get to the point where I can just do it on my own.
You spent most of your life growing up in Jericho, Long Island. What was it like?
It was crazy; Long Island is a crazy place. It was really fun and I have my best friends from there who I grew up with but I like LA a lot better though (laughs).
How would you describe your personality in school before you were home-schooled?
I was teased a lot because I wasn’t really good in school. I didn’t get really good grades but I had my good friends so it was all good. I always focused on music. Music was my first love. I did gymnastics for six years and I was on a team. It was really fun and I loved it a lot. Then I sprained my neck and I was so scared to do anything ever.
Sounds like a big change in environment from Long Island to LA. Do you feel like you’ve changed since you moved from there?
I think that it’s definitely influenced me in a really good way. I think I’ve grown a lot as an artist and a person. I’ve made a bunch of really great friends and I love it out here.
How have you matured since you’ve moved here?
I think being homeschooled matured me a lot because I’m not with kids my age. Some people look at that as a negative thing but I think it’s positive because I’ve definitely matured a ton.
How did you make the jump to LA? Did family go with you?
My manager (back then) was basically like ‘hey, if you want to do this you have to come to LA.’ So my mom and I were like, ‘okay so let’s go to LA.’ We got on a plane a week later and stayed in a hotel for nine months. Then we ended up getting this house and now it’s where we live.
What would you tell your younger self before you moved to LA?
Oh my goodness, so many things. Honestly I try not to do that because if I changed something I wouldn’t be where I am. Everything is an effect. Just tell myself to have fun and live in every moment and stop thinking about the future so much. Stop trying to grow up so fast. Now I look back and I’m seventeen now and I’m like, damn, I was thirteen wishing I was seventeen and now I’m seventeen wishing I was thirteen again. That’s what everyone tells their younger self– to slow down and chill a little bit.
Let’s talk about your fan presence. Everything you do, people are watching. What does it feel like to have so much “power”?
It’s kind of really scary because anything I say, if I slip up and say something wrong it’s penalized and I get criticised for it. I try to be positive on my social media and influence people talking about my music. I don’t harp on negativity. I always try to inspire people and tell everyone they can do it.
What does it feel like to be a role model to so many young girls?
It’s crazy. I was just a random kid and I was cherry-picked from my friends. It’s amazing that I can have such a big influence on so many girls because I was their age one time; they are my age now or even older than me. I care so much about the future and what I can do to impact people is just incredible. I’ve just been so blessed to have such a big fan base and following to say things that I mean.
That sounds like a lot of stress too! Is it ever stressful for you?
Yes it’s hard because if I’m seen doing something that is not technically role model, I feel bad because I let my fans down. I try to do everything with caution and do everything with my fans in line. I want to make them proud.
People under the public eye are being watched more than ever before. What is it like growing up with social media where everything is documented?
It’s crazier than what people realize because everything you do is spread like wild fire. You post something then delete it and it’s everywhere already. Everything I do is being watched. It’s a blessing but also a curse because I get hate a lot and there’s ups and downs to it but I REALLY try to focus on the good stuff and beautiful things.
Do you ever have second thoughts about this industry?
Of course. There are times when I’m crying about something and I feel like no one’s there for me. If none of this happened maybe I won’t be feeling this way but you never know. Maybe I would be feeling even worse so you can’t look at your life and think ‘oh, I wish this never happened’ because you would never know where you would be if you did.
Music is often a reflection of musicians themselves. What does your music say about you?
It says that I’m edgy. It says that I’m definitely not a typical 17 year old girl. I’m into pretty weird stuff. We were just talking about ghosts (laughs) and murderers for the past hour (while hair and makeup) but I definitely always felt different from my friends. I think that my music speaks to that and speaks to the girls who are like me who don’t feel like they fit in all the time. I just try to make sure people know that they are not alone and they’re not the only weirdos out there.
Outside of music do you have other inspirations?
Yes there’s actually this girl called Casey Parker who doesn’t have one of her legs. She always tweets me progress photos because she lost her leg when she was really young so every time she grew she gets a new fake leg. I posted it on my instagram and just things like that are really cool. She says that I helped her through this whole thing and it’s been really hard for her. It’s amazing that I can have an impact on somebody like that. She inspires me so much.
What does true love mean to you?
I think true love is somebody who you can rely on all the time. Somebody who you can be their best friend but also be their girlfriend. I’ve been in a relationship for almost two years and I think that I’m definitely one of the true love cases. We just work and I can’t imagine being with anyone else. He’s also in the business so he gets it and I get it. I couldn’t imagine my life without him.
Top: Swim Like A Mermaid