Madison Beer once felt 'silenced by older men' in the music industry. Now her voice 'deserves to be heard'

Elise Solé
·3 min read
Madison Beer released her first studio album Life Support on Feb. 26, an exploration of her mental health journey. (Photo: REUTERS/Mark Blinch
Madison Beer released her first studio album Life Support on Feb. 26, an exploration of her mental health journey. (Photo: REUTERS/Mark Blinch

Singer Madison Beer has learned a few things since becoming famous at age 13, particularly “how to stand my ground” in a room full of men.

The 21-year-old, who released her debut studio album Life Support on Friday, told NME that while she's learned how to pick her battles, “I’m at a point now where I’m almost 10 years into this game, and I have a voice that I think deserves to be heard. But for a very long time, I felt very silenced by older men in the industry who actually didn’t know what they were talking about and steered me in all the wrong directions.”

In 2012, Beer was an aspiring singer posting her performances on YouTube, when Justin Bieber clicked on her cover of "At Last" by Etta James. "Wow. 13 years old! She can sing. Great job," tweeted Bieber, who got famous on YouTube at the same age, after he was discovered by talent manager Scooter Braun.

Her new album features songs like "Effortlessly," which she told the Daily Mail is "one of the most vulnerable" pieces adding, "The struggles I’ve been through that led me to therapy and medication and what they forced me to confront. My mental health journey is not something I’ve spoken about before in my music."

Beer, who has a combined 36.5 million followers on Instagram and TikTok, says fame as it exists online, has been rough. “The worst for that is TikTok, which in my opinion has sparked this whole new wave of bullies,” she told NME. “Sometimes I’ll see a video of myself on my 'For You' page and I want to scroll past it as fast as I can. Because I know if I look at it, the comments are going to be horrible and hateful to me and below the belt. That stuff is really tough for me to look at.”

Last June, the hashtag #MadisonBeerIsOverParty surfaced when Beer was accused of staging a photo during a Black Lives Matter protest in Los Angeles, which she addressed by tweeting screenshots of messages between her and a photographer whom Beer accused of "spreading unclear information." Then, Beer issued an apology for saying during a fan Q&A that she romanticized the book Lolita, written by Vladimir Nabokov in 1955, about a middle-aged man sexually fixated on a 12-year-old girl.

She told NME of the hashtag, “At this point, it’s so triggering and traumatizing and scary – there aren’t really words for it." 

Beer took bold steps with her debut album, telling People she was "really frightened" to share so much. "When I was going through it, I felt really lonely and I felt this sense of shame because I feel like there's a huge stigma around mental health," she said. "Once I got a diagnosis and I actually realized that I was genuinely diagnosed and had an anxiety disorder, it doesn't feel so good."

"And then I started realizing there's nothing wrong with it and I shouldn't feel like that," she added. "I wanted to make sure that I was like, 'Hey, I'm going through this and this is what's happening.'"

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