We Catch Up With BEKA, the Nottingham Artist Performing at This Year’s Hundred

Interview: Gemma Cockrell
Wednesday 12 July 2023
reading time: min, words

The Hundred, a relatively new innovation in the world of professional cricket, takes place this August including several games at our very own Trent Bridge. As well as eight men’s and eight women’s teams competing for titles, The Hundred also features live music and DJ’s each day. We spoke to music artist BEKA who will be performing at the event...

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How are you feeling ahead of your performance to a home crowd at The Hundred this year at Trent Bridge?
I am extremely excited about it. I think your hometown is always a very precious place to perform. It has this mix of both absolute excitement to be doing the thing you love in the place that made you and then also a little bit of nerves because you want to do well for your people.

Which other artists are you most excited to see perform on the day?
I am the biggest fangirl of Arxx. They are queens, I met them once at their show, which I had kind of stumbled into and was just so taken by them. And we've been fangirling each other ever since. But mostly me fangirling. And then also Dylan. What a babe, like a true rockstar, and also just such a down to earth, kind, gorgeous human being.

The lineup has been curated with BBC Music Introducing, how have they supported you throughout your music career so far?
I would say they've been hands down the most supportive people I've had in my journey so far from before any music had come out, or before I'd had any live shows. Dean Jackson putting me on headlining the Latitude stage for BBC Introducing, which was wild. I just think at every turn when a song comes out, they always back me so hard. And it's such an incredible thing as a new artist to have such a prestigious organisation really championing you. I could not shout about them enough.

How has your life changed since your breakout single I’ll Be There was released in 2020?
I think a massive thing has probably been that I've started to really believe lately that this is the thing I want to do and can do it. And I've known for a while it was what I want to do. But people are actually listening to the music and they know it. I was recently in Singapore, supporting a band called Honne. There was a 45-year-old man on the front row screaming the lyrics of the songs to me in my set and I was just mind blown by that. 

So I think life has changed in the sense that feeling much more free to be able to create and I think when the glass ceiling of your belief and imagination gets a little crack in it, and you start to see a bit of those dreamy sunbeams coming in, you start to think a bit bigger and I found that to be a really exciting experience. 

You recently released a new single, Tears. Could you tell us a bit more about the story behind it?
Last year I had been having a bit of a wild year, with some kind of personal internal battles that at the time, I couldn't really pinpoint as to what they were but just a consistent feeling of overwhelm, and not really feeling like I could adult properly in many ways, comparing myself to others. I was in this session with a dear friend, and was feeling that kind of familiar overwhelm. I just took a moment to step out and just make some tea, and had a little cry. And then suddenly I kind of had these little lines which were “I hope my tears don't dry up”. 

I think in that moment, I was saying, even in this forever, intense-feely space that I can be in, it's a beautiful thing to still be able to feel and that means that I'm not done yet, there's still things going on in my heart. I'm still alive. That means that I'm not done yet. And then over the year, in fact, the next day, I went into a session and was trying to talk about this feeling of always spilling over and lots of ways.

Amazingly, last year, Abbie McCarthy came out saying that she had ADHD, which kind of led me to read a lot about the symptoms, as I love her. And as I've read him about the symptoms, I was like, I can't believe that this is actually a thing, which led me down, you know, this pathway to researching about it and eventually get diagnosed with ADHD. This song started prior to this diagnosis and I think what I was describing in that feeling of overwhelm, and lots of those things were actually symptoms. 

The bridge of the song is me saying to myself, I'm not gonna mask anymore, I don't have to hide those things that feel like imperfections, and they're actually symptomatic and also the things in our life that I think we can find difficult or actually some of the things that make us most powerful. So you know, we're not done yet.

I think your hometown is always a very precious place to perform

You performed at Dot to Dot in both Nottingham and Bristol this year. What was this like and how did the two cities differ from one another?
It was great. I think what's so amazing about England is when people come to festivals, they are so up for the fun and I think that's what I really love. And the thing I love about Dot To Dot is it's so many people there simply to find new music which is a very admirable and amazing thing. People are mad attentive and want to hear your stories. Nottingham has your aunties and your friends and people you know but both are equally exciting because I think there's a real buzz when you don't really think you're going to know anyone in the room. 

You’re performing at Rescue Rooms in September, as well as other cities in the UK. How does it feel to be able to headline such an iconic venue in your hometown, and which other shows are you most looking forward to on the tour?
Rescue Rooms is somewhere that since I was about 18 I’ve been wanting to play and a place where I saw some really inspiring shows. I remember seeing Ella Eyre there once and just being in awe and completely mesmerised by her. I think even back then I hadn't even really let myself admit that this would be something I'd want. So it feels like a real moment to have done shows that progress enough to be able to play such an iconic venue, it's gonna be mad. 

And then also, I'm so looking forward to London, it's going to be wild. Lafayette is a venue I played once when I was supporting Griff and to be able to headline it feels kind of mad. I think everywhere everywhere is a city that has people who have been really kind over the last year and I think that's the thing that's mad about touring is you really feel your a bit of your journey and the progression and it's when it's your own show, you just get excited to be able to connect with all these different names and faces who've been really encouraging. 

What else have you got planned for the rest of 2023, and is there more new music on the horizon following Tears?
There is more music! Lots of things I can't tell you yet, but more music, which I would say is some of the most vulnerable yet. More visuals, and then just things that I'm not allowed to say but really excited to be playing boardmasters This year, playing The Hundred in Nottingham hometown, which is going to be exciting. And then lots of surprises and hopefully some more tutus, keeping things flamboyant! 


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