It looks like the year is just heating up for rapper, dancer and drag performer Hey, Baby, who releases their latest single, ‘PSYCHOPARTY’ today. Despite cutting their time short on Ru Paul’s Drag Race UK Season 4, the North Londoner has quickly outgrown the reality show’s shadow, defying expectations and refusing to be underestimated. Having previously studied at BRIT School before pursuing drag, the 27-year-old spoke to BRICKS Editor-in-Chief Tori West about their focus on their music this year on the BRICKS I Did That podcast.
‘PSYCHOPARTY’ is the sexy and energetic second single from Hey, Baby that has been described as “what happens when you lose your inhibitions and surrender to temptations.” The hyper-pop tune delves into the dark and intriguing underbelly of London’s queer nightlife, boasting the chorus “Psychoparty/ I feel the heat in your body”. The new single certainly feels like the older, naughtier sister to ‘Theatre!’, Baby’s debut single released in October. Understandable as the non-binary artist chose to drop ‘PSYCHOPARTY’ just after their 27th birthday, symbolic of ushering in a new sense of maturity. “I feel like it’s a very monumental age, like, I’m growing up. I’m Baby, but I’m not a baby anymore, do you know what I mean?”
Moreover, the second single’s release seems to carry a new level of self-assurance for the artist. “I feel way more excited,” Baby tells me. “I know people are behind it [the music] a lot more so I feel a lot more confident being like ‘here’. And, as a song, I feel like it’s growth from ‘Theatre!’ You always want your next song to be better than the last so this feels like a very natural progression, it feels very correct.”
Although this may only be Baby’s second single release, the performer has been entrenched in music since childhood. Having attended BRIT school in their teen years and studied songwriting at university in Brighton, Baby’s return to the music scene is no surprise. “When I was 17 I was in the studio. Nothing ever really happened, but I think I just learned a lot of skills about recording techniques and actually putting personality and characterization into, like, intonation and the more intricate sides of it I’ve kind of been building up from my degree.”
Ahead of ‘PSYCHOPARTY’s release, the artist sat down with BRICKS to tell us more about what inspired their latest record.
Post Drag Race Fame
As most fans of the show will know, an appearance on Drag Race – no matter how brief – can be career-altering for a drag artist. For Baby this proved to be true and, following season four, the artist soon landed themselves in a whole new world of access and fame, this shift in environment inspiring ‘PSYCHOPARTY’s messaging. “PSYCHOPARTY’ is reflective of what was happening around me at the time, I think; as a back end of that drag race fame, now getting invited to all these parties and seeing a completely different side of life,” they share.
Since their season aired, Baby has sat front row at Paris Fashion Week, appeared in the Sam Smith and Kim Petras music video for Unholy, modelled for Ann Summers ‘Erotic’ campaign and acted in upcoming BFI film ‘Layla’. So many amazing feats achieved in under a year for the North London performer.
Encountering new situations first-hand is a crucial step in Baby’s writing process. “I feel a bit like Katy Perry when she’s like, ‘I have to experience something to write something’, like when I’m writing it’s very reflective of what’s going on at that time. So ‘PSYCHOPARTY’ felt very appropriate following my little post drag race party era.”
One of the single’s main themes is about letting go and leaning into the hedonistic parts of our psyche, explored through the lyrics “Psychoparty p-party/ I wanna touch on your body/ I wanna feel so erotic/ I wanna make it go!” This messaging differs from the reality of Baby’s more structured lifestyle growing up as a theatre kid and even working pre-Drag Race. “I think life is a lot about balance and for me, I’ve always been very well behaved,” they share.
“It got to the point where I hadn’t experienced life and then Drag Race stuff happened and life started happening and I was like, oh, what is this? What about this is so interesting to me? Because I’ve always been so held back and reserved, I guess. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing, but I think it means that I haven’t had access to certain parts of myself. So I think having my environment change, I was like, how do I feel about that? How do I feel about going out every weekend? What’s that like?”
Working in nightlife
“When I’m doing drag shows and stuff, I’m always in work mode,” Baby says. “I’m dancing, I’m vibing. I’m not drunk, I’m sober. But then when you’re sober, and you’re at work, in a place where everyone else is drinking alcohol, you see all the different characters coming out.” Here is where the songwriter drew inspiration for their opening verse “It’s five o’clock and I’m all in/ About to drop when I’m falling.”
“That first opening verse is very much from the perspective of that cocky, braggadocious character that’s like, ‘Yeah, let’s get a round in!’ and seeing that was really interesting. I like people watching and I think seeing different characters in that space inspired me to be like, what is that person’s thought process and how do I reflect on that and communicate that in a way from my own lens?”
Growing up in North London
As well as incorporating elements of hyperpop, ‘PSYCHOPARTY’ blends together the genres of HipHop and Metal to create a deliciously layered and effervescent song. Baby cites growing up in North London as a huge component to their style and sound today. “I feel like the music that I’m making is very reflective of my journey throughout life. While growing up in North London we listened to Lethal Bizzle and we’d listen to grime and all of that stuff. I used to love funky house and Crazy Cousinz had their massive moment with I See You and Migraine Skank, all of those things. So the drum beats from that was a big inspiration for the drumbeat on the opening bit of ‘PSYCHOPARTY’. That hard hitting kind of like grime, rap cadence, I wanted to slot that in.”
Based off of ‘Theatre!’ and now ‘PSYCHOPARTY’, it’s evident that Baby is curating a sonic world that is colourful and gritty, new-age but classically punk in many ways. However, ‘PSYCHOPARTY’ – for Baby – takes a more dance-centred approach than its predecessor, something that’s important for the Caribbean artist. “I wanted something that I could dance to because I realised when I was thinking about performing ‘Theatre!’, it’s really fast and it’s more drum and bass-y. But I’m a Caribbean gyal, and I want to find my little pocket, and I want to get a little whine, do you know what I mean?”
Baby shares that along with the audio for ‘PSYCHOPARTY’, the artist is also working on visuals for the song. Having shot a dystopian-style music video with warehouse aesthetics for ‘Theatre!’, Baby knows a thing or two about executing visual concepts. “I want to get a little dance visual together, but I’m just figuring out the way to do it. I haven’t filmed it yet, but I really wanted to capture the vibe of what the song is about,” they tell me. “So I’m working on doing some more interesting stuff for socials and keeping it very raw because I think for ‘Theatre!’, that was high budget and we got the AI, and we got the Director. But I think for ‘Theatre!’ it needed to do that. Whereas with ‘PSYCHOPARTY’, I’m having to take a bit more of an authentic approach to it.”
When asked about the new video’s aesthetic inspirations, they mention Climax, the 2018 French horror film that follows a group of dancers around a party who have been spiked with LSD. “It’s a French dance film with a scene done in one take – it’s like an hour long – and is the breakdown of a party. The camera follows people through the space with these dance sequences but it’s in a warehouse space. I want to find us out at night in clubs and really leaning into what it’s actually like on a night out in London.”
Hey, Baby’s unique social perspective as a Black, non-binary artist gives way to the rebellious, genre-bending, punk aesthetic and sound that the songwriter is establishing for themselves. With a wide breadth of talent and a tenacious spirit, Hey, Baby is an undeniable force to be reckoned with.
Liza became part of the BRICKS family in 2020, appearing as a Digital cover star for her anti-racism activism during the pandemic, and has since become the BRICKS Production Assistant and a Staff Writer, focussing on pop culture and sociopolitical issues.
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