Bibi Bourelly arrived in 2016 via Berlin, Washington DC, Los Angeles and Kanye West’s studio. Since penning “Higher” and then the badass trap hit “Bitch Better Have My Money” (on which she shares a co-writing credit with Kanye) for Rihanna, Bibi has become one of the hottest studio properties out of the USA this year.
Now, with behind-the-scenes credibility assured (and some game-changing allies secured), she’s got two things on her mind: getting out of the studio and into the limelight and avoiding being seduced by the promises of money, free stuff and fame. The latter is an absolute priority. “I get so scared that I’m going to get swept away with it all. The music business is like a zoo. I have to remove myself from those industry situations,” she says, before giving a straight-up description of what keeps her feet on the ground, “I don’t work with everybody. I don’t go to all the parties. I don’t want to be in a generic pool of people networking. I spend time in Berlin. I take the subway. I eat good food.”
Those words could be cut straight from the lyric sheet for “Ego”, one of two singles that Bibi has online. It’s a stripped-back, acoustic R&B track that could easily act as a career blueprint. Bibi’s debut album is slated for release this summer and will represent a coming of age for an artist who saw music as the only option after quitting high school in Berlin and flying to Washington DC when most kids had their heads down for exams. The dramatic change of scene that would destabilise most people turned out to be an inspired move. “I went from being in high school to being in the room with the most famous people in the world,” she says, before insisting that no co-signs or Instagram name checks will change her outlook or creative drive, “I know there’s a long way to go. I’m never going to feel like I’ve made it. I’m a creative person.”
Critical acclaim, approval from her contemporaries and major deals have already arrived, but they all appear as distractions to an artist with the heart set on doing things the right way: “I’m in this to make great art and to challenge the people and to walk with the people and to be with the people. I don’t care what my peers say. I do this to be happy.”