Exclusive: Meet the 20 yr old Behind RiRi's #BBHMM
Bibi Bourelly has undoubtedly secured her place in the fast lane of pop production. The 20-year-old Berlin-bred songstress is the creative pen behind Rihanna’s ‘Bitch Better Have My Money’ and ‘Higher,’ and has recently come out with a song of her own—‘Riot.’ In a chat with Milk Made’s Jordan Allen, Bibi talks about her artistry, growing up in a musical family in Berlin, and how it feels to be working with Kanye and Rihanna straight out of high school.
When did you decide that you wanted to start making music?
I always knew that I wanted to make music. I never thought about it. I just made it—-the same way a baby naturally says “mama.” It doesn’t make the conscious decision to do it, it just does. I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I was around my dad and a bunch of musicians growing up. I just saw it all of the time so I kinda just started to imitate it.
Is any of your family in the music business?
Yeah. My dad is a super dope guitar player. He’s a professional musician of his own and I grew up around that. My mother worked for the House of World Cultures in Berlin. Like, when it was take your kid to work day I’d fucking be at a concert.
How’s the music scene in Berlin?
Berlin is really musically diverse. There’re house clubs, techno clubs, hip hop clubs. The same people that listen to folk and that singer-songwriter shit fucking listen to 90’s hip hop.
What are some artists that you’re into? Who do you usually vibe with?
OK so—because I started at a really early age, it’s hard for me to tell who’s influenced me. Whenever I ask my dad this question he says he used to play Stevie Wonder, (A Tribe Called Quest’s) Midnight Marauders, and India Arie CD’s. I don’t really remember. I just remember liking a song and being influenced by it. But, I do remember listening to Stevie Wonder and thinking: “Oh, that’s how you’re supposed to sound.”
How did you come about writing for Rihanna?
What was it like to work with Kanye coming right out of high school?
It was cool as shit, yo. Like, for anybody. It’s Kanye. We grew up on him. It was cool to be around someone that’s made so many large, monumental moves. I just went in grateful as fuck to be there. He’s putting people on the map and giving people opportunities.
Can you talk to us a little about your experience working with Rih?
It was chill. She’s mad cool.
Is there any backstory behind ‘BBHMM’? What inspired you to write it?
There isn’t really any back story. Everybody asks me that. I just went in and freestyled something and that’s what came out.
Are there differences in the ways you went about writing ‘Bitch Better Have My Money’ and ‘Higher’?
‘Bitch Better Have My Money’ was more of a strategic record. I wrote it for the club because I was really trying to figure out how to write club records and shit. I wrote one for Rihanna, and it worked. ‘Higher’ was more like “OK. I’m just gonna put myself out there.” It took mental preparation. Everyone left the studio when I wrote that record. I was alone and it took me sitting there and talking to my friends. In a lot of interviews, people say “Bibi took thirty minutes to write ‘Higher.’” But they don’t understand that I was preparing myself mentally, everyday.
What’s the story behind ‘Riot’? Is your process of writing a song any different when you’re creating it for yourself?
I don’t usually create for other people. Rihanna was the first time. I write songs like I am writing for myself. ‘Riot’ is a song that consists of a lot of built up frustration in me from my childhood. I’ve always felt a little surpassed and misunderstood. I’ve always felt like I’ve had to fight for the things that I believe in.
What are some other things that you’re into besides making music?
What’s crazy about my life is that like I don’t do anything else. Because I live in LA, I don’t have a lot of shit to do because I don’t know a lot of people. I need to meet one of those little skateboard kids that fucking ride around the city with the locals. But, back at home I like to chill with my friends, smoke, go outside, run around and drink beer.
Do you hang out in Berlin often? What are some dope places to visit there?
I haven’t been to Berlin in two years. But, I’m going back soon, so I need my people to let me know what’s in again when I go back there. A lot of my influence is coming from what I thought was hot two years ago.
Are there any places that you enjoy visiting in LA so far?
I literally don’t go anywhere. I’m serious. I need to find one of those skater, sporty kids that are from here that don’t give a fuck about what I do to show me around and introduce me to their friends and take me to their parties and shit.
Can you describe your aesthetic taste for us in a few words?
Raw, Authentic, Emotional—as in evoking any kind of emotion. I don’t want to box myself in either. I don’t know what I’m going to feel like putting out.
What are some of your favorite movies or TV shows?
You would never guess this but—A Walk to Remember. I love A Walk to Remember. I love Deja Vu. Fuck, I can’t choose there are so many out there. But, remember Dream Girls? Is that a bad answer? Don’t write that down. (laughs)
Who are some other artists that you’d like to work with?
What’s next for you?
My own shit, you know what I mean? It’s so weird that people refer to me as like a writer. I’ve only written for one person. I’m not out here writing for people and shit. So yeah, my own shit. I really want to focus on my fans. Building a relationship with the people and being cool, you know? I just want to be real. I hope this shit doesn’t come across as fake.
Check out Bibi’s latest single here