As an artist set to release a debut album, few things could be more derailing than a global health crisis. A component so crucial in promotion and connection between artists and fans, human contact has been completely removed from the equation. And while Madison Beer has been vocal about her relationship with social media, the highs and the lows that inevitably come with a following of over 20 million people, it has been one of the few doorways for connection in the last 12 months– something she is wildly grateful for in navigating this time in her life.
After working on the 17 track album Life Support for two years, “it was definitely a tough pill to swallow when I was told [the album] wasn’t going to come out on the original release date,” she tells Centennial Beauty. “And then again when it was pushed six months later and then pushed into the abyss and like ‘Well, we don’t even know when it’s going to come out.’” But, now seeing it top charts all over the world, she explains it all feels worth it. “Now we’re a year later and it’s finally out, so it does feel a bit weird. It’s a very multi-faceted feeling, considering these songs and these emotions are changed now,” she says of the writing and release process. “It was definitely a period piece in regards to [the album being a specific] time in my life that I was writing about…It was a break up, and it was a mental health journey, and it was a lot of factors that I was putting into my lyrics and my music,” Madison explains.
As for the touring and promotion that usually follows an album launch, for Madison it has ended up being a fairly non traditional pathway. “It sucks…I want nothing more in the world than being in person with my fans and hanging out with them, and listening to them scream and sing along, that [part] is so fulfilling, especially for someone [who’s] waited so long to put [the album] out. It definitely hurts,” she says. But with changing times have come shifting opportunities. The rise of the virtual concert has provided some semblance of normal– a way to connect, something that artists and fans alike are clearly craving. “I’m really glad I did that virtual concert,” she says of her Immersive Reality Concert Experience run in partnership with her record label Sony Music Entertainment and TikTok. “It gave so many of my fans such a happy few hours, and I don’t know, I’m going to just continue to do what I can with whatever cards I get dealt.”
Having a presence on social media since the age of 11, Madison is no stranger to using social platforms to forge connections, so while it’s not ideal, it’s a more natural transition for Madison than most. “Me and my fanbase have definitely built a very strong bond. I really speak to them and connect with them. I go live all the time from a more private account that has my core fanbase tuning in…I don’t know, I feel like they’re my safe space, as I am for them. I’m someone who talks about the negative effects of social media a lot, but that’s definitely one of the big positives — is the connections that I’ve been able to make,” she explains.
Another positive component? Beauty inspiration. “I’ve bought a lot of products off TikTok for sure, more than I would like to admit,” she says. But the ability to think critically and objectively about the role of social media is something that almost comes naturally to Gen Z, and ever insightful, Madison takes the good with the bad. “TikTok in particular is such an interesting and double-sided platform. I think it’s wildly negative and hateful, and can cause and spread a lot of bullying and hatred towards people who are very undeserving, but I [have also] seen such a splurge and rise in creativity and so many people are doing the coolest things– even if it’s just a new transition and makeup and hair and outfits…I feel very inspired and creative. I hope it goes more down that path, because it does bum me out when I see a video of a girl doing something random and then I read the comments and there is like 20,000 comments and they’re just ripping this random person apart. I just hope that aspect of TikTok goes away and we can all lean into the fact that it’s a really creative platform,” she says.
While she does credit a lot of her success to her Internet presence, the end goal has always been for her music to stand alone. A process which is well and truly underway. “I feel like musically I’m very separate from my social media per se, and my internet presence. I feel like my music actually lives on it’s own now, which is a really fulfilling feeling for me,” she says.
As for the next 12 months, Madison explains “I think last year taught us all that you never know what life is going to throw at you or what’s going to happen, so I think it’s important to be able to pivot and turn, and you know adapt to new environments. I think we’re all trying to do so, and I definitely am and will continue to. I’m praying that everything gets restored and I can come to Australia and the rest of the world as soon as possible,” she says.
Listen to Life Support here.