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NUNN ON ONE: MUSIC Singer Bebe Rexha: 'Hearts' and soul
Special to the online edition of Windy City Times
by Jerry Nunn, Windy City Times
2016-05-31

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Albanian bombshell Bebe Rexha is burning up the charts these days thanks to guesting on G-Eazy's "Me, Myself & I." Her voice is also recognizable on Cash Cash's "Take Me Home" and David Guetta's "Hey Mama."

She started her career as the lead singer for the Black Cards created by Pete Wentz from Fall Out Boy.

Many will know her songwriting abilities on songs such as "The Monster," by Eminem and Rihanna; "Team." by Iggy Azalea; "Under You," by Nick Jonas; and "Like a Champion," for Selena Gomez.

She is breaking out on her own these days with "No Broken Hearts," featuring rapper Nicki Minaj, from her upcoming debut album.

Windy City Times went backstage when she opened for Ellie Goulding to learn more about the up and coming hitmaker.

Windy City Times: Hi, Bebe. First off, what are the differences between touring with Ellie Goulding and Nick Jonas?

Bebe Rexha: They are both amazing people and super-nice. The differences are these shows with Ellie are a lot bigger. I bet Nick is doing bigger shows now, but when I was touring with him he was doing club shows. It was 3,000 people a night, where this could be 10,000 to 12,000 people a night. It is a lot more pressure!

When you are doing arenas you have bigger backstage areas or your rider is bigger. You get fruits, vegetables with the dips or whatever, liquor or drinks you ask for.

WCT: Do you have something special you like to ask for?

BR: Throat Coat Tea because it is the best thing for singers. It is a tea that you steam for 14 minutes so when you drink it and will coat your whole throat. It feels amazing.

WCT: You have the neck collar you are wearing to keep it warm.

BR: Exactly.

WCT: I want to talk about your background because you have songwriting for a really long time. Did you always want to be a singer?

BR: I remember when I was 4 years old and I remember singing "A Whole New World" because I was watching a lot of The Little Mermaid. I have singing since 4 and it was kind of annoying to my family members but I love it.

WCT: Are you into musicals?

BR: I love musicals. I did Jesus Christ Superstar, Fiddler on the Roof and oh so many.

WCT: Do you have a favorite musical?

BR: I do love Phantom of the Opera. I was just talking about it.

WCT: You need a high range to sing that one.

BR: I have an operatic range called a coloratura. I got into a lot of classical and musicals because of it.

WCT: I know you are doing a club appearance while in town but we need to get you to the gay bars.

BR: I know. I am doing LA Pride this summer. I am performing at G-A-Y in London soon. In New York I live in the gay area and my best friend is making me do a lot of gay event appearances. In Chicago, is there a big gay scene?

WCT: Yes—huge!

BR: They need to send me some offers. I'm ready for a fun festival or something.

WCT: You have worked with so many artists. Let's play a one-word name game describing them. One word describing Pitbull?

BR: Gentleman.

WCT: The duo Cash Cash?

BR: They are a trio. Everyone gets confused because there are two brothers and another guy. Cash Cash? Jersey.

WCT: David Guetta?

BR: Sweet.

WCT: Selena Gomez?

BR: She knows what she wants so … assertive.

WCT: G-Eazy?

BR: Can I give you two words? James Dean.

WCT: Nicki Minaj?

BR: Anime. She comes to life. It's really weird! It is amazing watching her takes when she makes a video. It is unreal.

WCT: Tinashe?

BR: Soft-spoken. I know that is two words again. I am not giving you one word.

WCT: It is a tough game to play. Are you friends with fellow Albanian Rita Ora?

BR: I am not friends with Rita Ora, but I have met Elena Ora, her sister, and her little doggie in the studio. We were in a session. We both have the same manager. Hopefully, we can do a song together and put it out in Europe.

WCT: Were you hanging out with Snoop Dogg at the Stagecoach Music Festival recently?

BR: Yes. He is legendary.

WCT: Didn't you want to smoke with him?

BR: He walked onstage with a blunt. He was in front of 50,000 people and he did not care. I want to be that cool!

WCT: When is your debut album coming out?

BR: In the summer. It has had a very long life to it already.

WCT: You have collaborated with a lot of artists on it?

BR: A lot of great people.

WCT: The Nicki Minaj song is doing very well on the radio.

BR: I feel like it is starting to snowball, which is really exciting. It is fun making music that works. I have been an artist for quite some time. There is a lot of stuff that you put out that doesn't work and people don't like so it is cool to have this moment.

WCT: I was amazed to read all of the work that you have done.

BR: A lot of people don't know that. That is why it is important to do these interviews, talk to people, and let them know because then I think they understand where I come from. Your readers get to know me because I am more than the pictures or the videos. People might think I am just a pretty pop girl but there are a lot of layers.

I'm from New York City. I'm feisty. I am straight forward and one of the boys. I got to where I am from writing all these songs and really hustling. That is important to my story. I want people to know that I'm not just a regular glossy star. I may be pretty on the outside but I work really hard and love what I do.

WCT: With all the songwriting do you have more music coming out?

BR: I worked with Iggy Azalea on her new album. I also have a song with Nick Jonas on his album called "Under You" that is really sexy. It was originally going to be a song for me but it was too much but he kills it. He sounds amazing on it.

WCT: He is very James Dean.

BR: Yes, he is. I always bump into him in LA so we catch up.

WCT: When are you coming back to Chicago?

BR: I will be doing some radio shows this summer. It really works to meet other artists for these events. I remember meeting Nick at a radio event in New York and that is when he asked me to be on his tour. That is how a lot of collaborations happen.

Hopefully, I will be on tour in the fall.

WCT: I will bring some gay friends with me to the show.

BR: Yes, please. That is what my best friend/stylist always says, "If the gays like it then you are doing it right!" He has me saying "yas" and "slay." I think my goal in life now is to get on RuPaul's Drag Race. I am dying to be a judge. I am putting that out in the air so hopefully I can get on that show next season.

WCT: Do blondes have more fun?

BR: Yeah, they do. I think they have a lot more fun. I was originally a brunette. I wanted to dye my hair and have a good time. I am having a lot more fun!

Keep up with Rexha's work at BebeRexha.com .


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