Badriia Ines Bourelly’s vulgar simplicity belies a hidden depth. Out of context her lyrics seem banal and redundant (And I won't ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever give a fuck / Won't ever, ever, ever give a fuck). With the music and fists pumping, on the other hand, the conviction that backs her words is screaming, “Listen to what I have to say!” And listen, the world is, as the 21-year-old songwriter storms her way through the pop-soul scene.
A couple of years ago she got together for a writing session with Kanye West. Rihanna heard the collaboration, and Bourelly ended up co-writing “Yeah, I Said It” and “Higher” on Rihanna’s 2016 album Anti. She’s also worked with Nick Brewer, Usher, and Lil Wayne. She’s been on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon and recently released her own EP, Free the Real (Pt. #1)—not a bad start in the biz.
Her second single “Ego” peaked at #4 on Spotify’s global chart, although not particularly clever, at least on the surface. There aren’t underlying metaphors or novel turns of phrase, and yet it’s brilliant. Why? It’s an unapologetic testament to teenage self-assurance. In the chorus Bibi repeatedly tells us, “You won't bring me down, down, d-d-down / Down, d-d-down, down, d-d-down” She’s conversational. She’s relatable. She’s believable and passionate; her intentions are based in goodness, and she has heart. It’s not an ego built on wealth and fame, or that gets rubbed in our faces. She’s just real:
“They want me to be this picture-perfect girl
In a little picture-perfect world
But I cuss when I talk, and I lean when I walk
And I've been through some shit and I've gained and I've lost”
As simple and vulgar as her lyrics are at times, in June she showed the world the depth of her sincerity. In the wake of the Orlando tragedy, Bibi released the video for her “Riot” single, along with a heartrending call for peace. Emotionally and politically charged, the video is a black and white collection of clips of refugees, rallies, and protests. The images, and the accompanying letter to the YouTube video, most likely foreshadow more social activism from Bourelly:
Emotionally and politically charged, the video is a black and white collection of clips of refugees, rallies, and protests.
Sometimes when I’m on a plane, flying from country to country, city to city, chasing this peculiar dream of mine… I look down at the world beneath me and realize what we really are in the grand scheme of things. If you pay close attention, when the plane is just taking off you can faintly see people in action, living their own lives. It’s ironic and charming in a weird way because they’re not even aware that someone else is admiring them with fascination from a different angle of the world, as they walk this distinctive earth of ours.
Thousands of tiny, moving heads eventually blend in with the landscape as the aircraft rises higher. The large swaying trees that appear to be so mighty from the ground, shrink into what appears to be green fragments of leaves… and by the time we reach the clouds, everything that we thought to be its own individual thing, every detail of anything that we ever considered to exist on its own, melts into the scenery and we become one.
We are all one from the clouds
We are not our genders
We are not our religions
We are not our races
We are not our opinions
We are not our doubts, insecurities or fears…
We are not one voice, we are a roaring crowd.
We are the land and sky; We are an ambiguous mixture of every color that exists under the sun.
We are all in this together and we are responsible for each other.
Everything you do or say matters to us, whether you realize it or not.
Love infinitely. At all costs no matter what.
Praying 4 Orlando
(and the rest of the entire world.)
Fighting 4 our future.
New society 4 the unity of all.