A Mesmerising Look Within: In Conversation with Beatrice Blink

Beatrice Blink’s self – titled debut EP is nothing short of mesmerising and not just in the complementary sense but in that it is very dreamlike, immersive, and pleasurably intoxicating. The 3 track EP is laden with themes of love, loss, and the prosaic of life. The Philadelphia-based musician describes their sound as genre-bending pop and rightly so. Their sounds are mind-bending and unrestricted as different melodies and instrumentals blend to tell three different stories that have the same foundation. The singer had said about their choice of genre,

“I really don’t pay attention to genre very much when I write. Lyrics come first, sometimes melody, but never genre. In general, my lyrical style tends toward folk, with meandering, stream-of-consciousness narratives. My brother’s production style is more in the realm of house or electronic music. So, when we make music together it’s already a fusion. And I like to experiment and push boundaries with genre and the listener’s expectations,”

The opening track ‘wake up, so long’ has a calm ascent with a gentle guitar strumming that then increases in volume and intensity, preparing the listener for the explosion of the emotions in the lyrics. Beatrice’s voice accompanies the track well with a clear tone filled with sincerity and regret. They sing, “I can still see your back walking away from me. As they long for and mourn a love lost, they are forced to move on and let go of what is no more. The muted anguish in Beatrice’s voice almost feels like they are mourning a death but then again, love and loss are feelings and concepts so deeply intertwined. This track manages to blend so many of the complex feelings that are objectively truthful and subjective in a way that remains personal and reflective.

“Truth is something I reckon with a lot in “wake up, so long.” When I wrote it, I was thinking a lot about how me and the person the song is about would probably have very different recollections of what happened in our relationship. Sometimes people suppress memories, or embellish memories, and that doesn’t mean they’re necessarily lying. It’s true to them. I wanted to play with the idea of “this is what I remember happening, but you remember something different, and who am I to say which of us is right?” I feel like it validates both of our perspectives,”

The creative and production process further cements the fact that even music that is about the experiences of one person that music can be collaborative and thrive because of partnership; this is a sentiment that Beatrice Blink shares having worked on this record extensively with their brother for years.

I wrote all the lyrics, and my brother, Charlie Stewart, produced all the songs. We recorded “wake up, so long,” at Blackbird Studios in Nashville in 2021. My brother was friends with a bunch of really talented musicians, so we were really lucky to get to work with them. For “mirage,” Charlie sent me the whole instrumental already produced. From there I wrote the lyrics and recorded the vocals. For “life cycle,” I was visiting Charlie in New York and had just gotten my first ever guitar pedal. We were playing around with it and found this really cool setting that made a randomized beat when you played a chord. Off that Charlie created this amazing track and I took a poem I had written and modified it to become lyrics. We
made it in about 30 minutes.

Music is subjective not only for listeners but carries so much of the artist in its inner workings, this upcoming musician’s EP joins a list of other pop stars such as Madonna, Taylor Swift, and Mariah Carey, whose debut albums were eponymous and for me this such a significant choice because the artist gets to establish themselves fully and let personalities and work really shine through.

Beatrice Blink is my stage name for a very significant reason, and I wanted to draw attention to those words when I made my musical debut. For my whole life I’ve felt very surveyed. Even when I was alone, I felt like I was being watched. Being queer, my relationships were deeply affected by my and my partners’ inability to feel truly alone with one another. We always felt like we would be walked in on or caught. For me, the concept of a “blink” is a temporary reprieve from this constant state of surveillance. Even if you can’t truly defeat the surveillance apparatus, you can find a little window where it’s blinking, where it’s distracted, and you can live your life in those little blinks.

The storytelling on this project is also so intricate and complex that it comes to the forefront with every listen despite the heavy instrumentation and distinctive timbre and passionate vocals that help convey the various messages beautifully.

I usually write little lines down in my notes app as they occur to me, then synthesize them into a song when I have a melodic idea or a chord progression or a track from my brother. I think my desire to incorporate storytelling into my music comes from a desire to be understood. I have often felt the limits of language, especially spoken language. When I tell my story to people in words alone, they won’t understand the full range of emotions, the full complexity of what happened. When I add music, I can add that intangible element that expresses something beyond words.

Tune in to Beatrice Blink’s debut EP ‘Beatrice Blink’ out on July 19.

Written by Nthatile Mavuso