Lockdown has been a pivotal time for all of us, but one artist who has seen the most change is Bella Latham, more commonly known by her stage name, Baby Queen. While earlier this year she could be found working her 9-5 at London’s Rough Trade Records, that chapter of her life symbolically closed along with the store at the start of the government-mandated lockdown.
Between then and now, Baby Queen has officially signed a deal with Polydor Records, filmed her first music video while in lockdown and released her debut single, “Internet Religion”.
Baby Queen’s ascension to the Instagram throne would be interrupted by a sudden breakup initiated by her partner
The track is a scathing yet satirical critique of modern-day online culture and the shallowing hypothesis that plagues social media. However, she admits to, at times, being sucked in by the vapid lure of the influencer lifestyle. While the Durban-born artist moved to London in pursuit of her dreams of becoming a musician, she soon found herself sucked into a life of fashion events, influencer parties and prioritising her romantic relationship over the art she had ventured across the globe to create.
While the spellbinding lights of the big city almost pushed the once burgeoning socialite down the path of internet royalty, her ascension to the Instagram throne would be interrupted by a sudden breakup initiated by her partner.
“I was in a relationship at the time with my ex, who was immersed in the online influencer world. Because I was so obsessed with the relationship, that world became my reality, and I forgot that I wanted to be a musician…until I got dumped in Clissold Park. Being in that relationship was like being in a glass bubble, and when it suddenly burst, I was like, “sh*t!”.
With the valencia filtered veil now lifted from her previous life, Baby Queen channelled her heartbreak and newly recognised disdain for influencer culture into her debut single, ‘Internet Religion’. Laden with psychedelic synth shimmers, echoing vocal stabs and pop-rock guitar riffs, the track’s production features everything a classic pop hit should. However, the track’s foreboding lyricism sets it apart from the usual pop record we’ve come to expect in recent years.
I’m obsessed with satire; you’re taking the p**s out of everyone else, but at the same time, you are everyone else
Baby Queen joyously sings lyrics such as “Death and guns and beating the gay kids up, It doesn’t happen to you, so why give a f*ck” and “My friends own things you can’t buy, But all of them are broke, and most of them want to die”. Her delivery throughout the track is remarkably jovial, by design rendering the song uncomfortable to sing along to but infectious enough to try.
“I love that juxtaposition, and I love the fact that someone could hear the song on the radio and not realise what they’re saying,” she says. “I’m obsessed with satire; I think it’s the most intelligent way of conveying your opinion. You’re taking the p**s out of everyone else, but at the same time, you are everyone else.”