Bebe Rexha Talks About Her EP All Your Fault: Pt. 1, And Co-Writing Her Hit Songs “I Got You,” “Me, Myself & I” and “In the Name of Love”

Bebe Rexha
Bebe Rexha

In just the past two years, singer/aongwriter Bebe Rexha had made the transition from being a promising newcomer, to rising pop star and consistent hit songwriter. She is building a worldwide following with her recent EP release, All Your Fault: Pt. 1 (on Warner Bros. Records), and her hit single ‘I Got You.” She’s also in the midst of her first headlining tour, playing shows across the U.S. before heading to Asia and Europe.

Notably, Rexha has been establishing her hit songwriting credentials along with her rise as an artist. She co-wrote three other pop hit singles that she was either co-billed as the lead artist, or was the featured vocalist. These hits are: “Me, Myself & I” (G-Eazy & Bebe Rexha); “In the Name of Love” (Martin Garrix & Bebe Rexha); and “Hey Mama” (David Guetta featuring Bebe Rexha & Nicki Minaj).

Rexha, who is originally from Brooklyn (NY) but now lives in Los Angeles, got her first big break in 2013, when she co-wrote the #1 worldwide hit “The Monster,” by Eminem featuring Rihanna. Also that year, she co-wrote the chart single “Take Me Home” by Cash Cash which featured her as the vocalist.

In 2015, she released her debut EP, I Don’t Wanna Grow Up, which contained her singles “I’m Gonna Show You Crazy” and “I Can’t Stop Drinking About You.” The following year, she also released the single “No Broken Hearts,” featuring Nicki Minaj.

As a songwriter, Rexha has also had cuts with Iggy Azalea (the single, “Team”), Selena Gomez, Pitbull, Nick Jonas, Tinashe, Nikki Williams, Bella Thorne, Havana Brown and Reykon.

Last week, Rexha & her band played a sold-out concert at the Fonda Theatre in Los Angeles. The show was impressive on several levels. First, Rexha has become strong performer live, with powerful vocals and a fresh, cutting-edge style and sound. Second, her band was excellent. Third, her 14-song set displayed her depth as a songwriter—about half the songs were chart hits that she co-wrote and were easily recognizable.

We are pleased to do this new Q&A interview with Bebe Rexha. She discusses the making of her new EP, and tells how she wrote some of her hit songs.

DK: You just released your EP, All Your Fault: Pt. 1. Can you talk about the making of this EP?

Bebe Rexha: The EP first started off, based on a breakup. I’m from New York City and I moved to L.A. because of my career, and I was in love, and suddenly the manager I had at the time decided that he didn’t want to manage me anymore because I was a handful. And then my [boyfriend] broke up with me and then my best friend also left me. So I was kind of in L.A. alone, I didn’t have a place to stay, and I’m trying to make it in the music business and I didn’t really know what to do. So {I started] this album with a mindset of heartbreak, being abandoned…not knowing who my real friends are.

Here’s the video of Bebe Rexha’s hit, “I Got You.”

The first half of the EP is more rhythmic pop, and kind of based on heartbreak and bitter and angsty. And then it transitions to the second half (All Your Fault: Pt. 2), which is not out yet. It will be out in April or May. The second half flips the meaning of All Your Fault to a more positive meaning. In the beginning of All Your Fault, you have made me this bitter, upset, heartbroken girl. And the second half [flips to]…Yeah, it’s all your fault that you have made me this strong, independent woman. Thank you so much for helping me grow. The second half is also happier—it’s a little more on the dancier side, and it’s still pop, obviously.

DK: The tough time that you went through…when was that?

Rexha: Probably a year-and-a-half ago.

DK: I like your current hit single, “I Got You.” How did you write this song with (writer/producers) Captain Cuts and the other writers?

Rexha: I like writing with Lauren Christy—we [co-wrote] both “I Got You” and “Me, Myself & I.” Lauren’s had an incredible journey, starting off [creating hits] with Avril Lavigne and [co-writing her hit] “I’m With You.” I love Lauren—we have a great chemistry in the studio. When I first started out, I felt very confident writing melodies. Lyrically, I was great at writing more simple lines…and I wanted somebody in the room that I felt was a little more mature than me, and had gone through life and was an incredible lyricist. And that’s exactly what Lauren is.

So I went into the studio with Lauren and Captain Cuts. I just kind of got on the mic—I was getting better after my breakup, and I found someone that I was interested in. But I had my walls up and he had his walls up. And obviously, you can’t jump into anything if  both parties have their walls up and not letting their hearts open. So the song is about finding somebody who’s also emotionally unavailable, but wanting to just jump into something because it feels right. And telling the other person that I’ve been through the exact same thing. I know what it feels like to get your heart broken…I Got You. I’m not trying to mess around with your heart, and I don’t want you to mess around with my heart. So we’re on the same page.

DK: I also like your new songs “F.F.F” (which stands for “Fuck Fake Friends”) and “Small Doses.” Can you talk about these songs?

Here’s the video of Bebe Rexha’s new song, “F.F.F.,” featuring G-Eazy.

Rexha: Yeah. We just dropped the video for “Fuck Fake Friends.” We also have a version called “Forget Fake Friends.” In the video, it’s me and G-Eazy in Amsterdam. We’re kind of taking over this abandoned city, and we’re looking for where the real people are at, and we can’t seem to find anybody else but ourselves. It’s kind of this dreary town that’s just abandoned. It’s pretty cool—it’s like Euro-vibe and it’s really dope. That version (of the video) will have fuck in it. But if we decide to go to radio, we also have “Forget Fake Friends” ready to go.

I also love “Small Doses” so much. “Small Doses” was me and (producer) Gladius and Lauren Christy. And Lindy Stirling played some violin parts on it—she’s incredible.

DK: Last year, you had a big hit with “Me, Myself & I.” How did you get together with U.K. writer/producers TMS and G-Eazy for this song?

Rexha: We were in California, and the TMS guys were in the room, playing piano. And me and Lauren were just hanging out. It just kind of came out of the air—it was just a vibe, you know. At the time, I was listening to a lot of U.K. music, and I was very inspired by the melodies and being in the U.K. a lot. And we just sat there and I said, “I want to write a song about having my own back, and how music has always been the constant in my life.” And it just happened…it was very fluid and it was very chill. We wrote the song and it was completely finished in about five hours. It was a great moment.

DK: Recently you also had a hit with “In The Name of Love” with Martin Garrix. How did this song come together?

Rexha: I actually didn’t start that song. I worked on the post-chorus but I didn’t write the verses. I definitely give praise to the writers who wrote that song. Martin Garrix came to my house with his manager, and my manager was here. He said he was working on some new music and he’d love for me to be a part of it. And I said, “You know, I don’t really want to do features anymore, I’m kind of over it. But I met him…he was such a sweetheart. He played me a demo of it, and it sounded great but it wasn’t quite there yet. It was 90% there. And I said to him, can I go in and cut vocals and work on the chorus in the post, and he said, “Yeah, sure.” So I went in with my vocal engineer—we went in there and chopped some of the samples up, worked on it a bit, and it came together. It felt so amazing, I had to be a part of it and put it out.

DK: When you’re writing, what’s your typical songwriting process? Do you come up with the hook or part of the topline, do you have a lyric journal, or does the producer give you a track to write to?

Here’s the video of Martin Garrix & Bebe Rexha’s hit, “In the Name of Love.”

Rexha: Yes, every one of those ways that you said. Sometimes, I’ll write things down in my computer or in a book, or right into my phone. Sometimes the producer will give me an instrumental. Or we’ll just start with chords in the studio, and something will just come out of thin air. Sometimes, I’ll even go in the (vocal) booth and just freestyle the lyrics completely straight through, and then we’re like, “Oh my God, it’s a song!” And then we’ll just make tiny tweaks. It’s different every time. I think it’s about how the chords inspire me and how I’m feeling. It’s honestly different every single time…it’s never been the same. I wish I had a formula, but I think the only thing that’s always been the same, is the honesty in the lyrics and writing about real things.

DK: Currently, you’re on tour in the U.S. Will you also be touring overseas?

Rexha: Yeah, we’re working right now on getting that done. After I finish this tour, I’ll [take a break] for a week or two…just go and be in the studio. And then after that, I will be doing some dates in Asia and Europe. So that will be nice.

DK: Has it been fun being the headliner, and playing with your band?

Rexha: Absolutely. I did the Warped tour and I opened for Ellie Goulding and Nick Jonas. I think there’s definitely a different energy [when I’m headlining]. These kids come out to see me and and it feels good—they know all the words to my EP. It’s an amazing feeling and it’s so good to have them sing along with me. I’ve never had that before, so it’s always surprising every night. It feels great…it’s the best feeling ever. And my band is amazing—they’re all just professionals. They’re all artists in their own right…they’re always changing things up a bit and making it their own. It’s really inspiring.

DK: You’ve certainly been busy on tour. Have you also managed to find some time to collaborate in the studio?

Rexha: I got in the studio with David Guetta again while I was in London. He’s working on his album, which is outstanding. He played me some of the songs and they’re just mind-blowing. I worked with Guetta for a little bit. But I think I’m actually going to be focusing more on my album, collaborating for the second part (of All Your Fault). I’m hoping to get in with Big Sean or Kehlani, and work on some new dope stuff. That’s what I’m focusing on now.

Dale Kawashima is the Head of SongwriterUniverse and a music journalist. He’s also a music publishing exec who has represented the song catalogs of Michael Jackson, Prince, Bruce Springsteen, Bob Dylan and Motown Records.
Dale Kawashima