BAUM Breaks Down Gender Stereotypes With "Fuckboy" Anthem [Q&A]
Photos: Sabrina Santiago
It has been over a year since we last heard from BAUM, but the long wait is finally over because the alternative-pop songstress has returned with a splashy new release and her defining powerhouse personality. Now based in Los Angeles, the New York-native is advocating for feminism and body positivity through her carefully crafted lyricism that speaks volumes about her respectable character. After spending some much-deserved time in the studio, BAUM is ready to take on all the fuckboys of the world with a demanding new single appropriately titled "Fuckboy."
A crushing anthem about female empowerment, "Fuckboy" dismantles society's impression of overly emotional women when it comes to their relationship with emotionally deficient men. Instead of broadcasting the submissive stereotype of a broken hearted woman after a rough breakup, BAUM showcases the independence and confidence women embody even in the worst circumstances. Not only does BAUM strive to set a positive example for her two sisters, but she also makes it her mission to offer advice and wisdom to her listeners worldwide.
On "Fuckboy," BAUM shared,
"I feel like the narrative people are always putting on women is the 'boy meets girl, girl falls in love instantly, boy breaks girl's heart' story. I wanted to sing about something different. It's obviously not good to be a fuckboy, but women aren't emotional wrecks running around searching for love, looking to be saved, yet I feel like that identity is constantly being placed on us."
The accompanying music video for "Fuckboy" begins with BAUM's head resting against a window sill with colorful candles as they burn throughout the visual. Shortly after, we're introduced to two skilled dancers that initially mirror each other's movements but later flow into their own personalized motions. Directed by Marcella Cytrynowicz (Snoop Dogg and Valentina), the "Fuckboy" video also shows the liberated BAUM having a good time with her friends as they play Dominoes and draw on her face with bright red lipstick.
On the "Fuckboy" music video, BAUM explained,
"This is meant to mimic how we interact with people we are involved with, the games we play, and how we can ultimately find power in independence. The storyline, particularly that of the female dancer, is meant to offer an alternative narrative to that of the 'overly emotional woman' we frequently see in the media and mainstream entertainment."
Break down the infamous "Fuckboy" culture with BAUM's music video below:
To celebrate the release of her badass new single, we chatted with BAUM about her catchy sound, body positivity, and of course, "Fuckboy."
OTW: There’s something so special about your alternative pop sound that reminds us of Top 40 hits but with your own personal spin on the genre. How’d you come about this musical style?
BAUM: First of all, thank you. I just sang a lot of Adele and wrote a lot of very structured pop songs as a kid. My songs have always been very, very emotional (although I don't consider “Fuckboy” to be an incredibly emotional song haha). I try to say things straight up and be totally honest even though it's embarrassing sometimes. Musically, a lot of it is instinct. There are certain sounds, chords, etc. that I really gravitate towards, and as I've gotten older, I've just learned what those things are and how to articulate what I want something to sound like.
OTW: Since your soundscape spans across a few different genres, who are your biggest musical influences?
BAUM: Hmmm… I grew up listening to classic rock and the attitude of the whole genre influenced me a lot as a performer. When I got a little older I really fell in love with indie rock, which probably doesn't make any sense if you listen to my music. I have a Spoon lyric tattooed on my arm, hahahahaha. Everything is about lyrics for me and delivery of the lyrics in an honest way. I'm incredibly inspired by music that has come out recently. The 1975's new record, everything by Tierra Whack, The Japanese House record, Twigs, Sharon Van Etten, etc.
OTW: Your infectious new single, “Fuckboy” is all about independence and gender stereotypes. What inspired you to write this song?
BAUM: For me, it's a lighthearted and fun song. I just wanted to sing from an empowered perspective and you don't hear a ton of women singing about being fuckboys. I actually would not call myself a fuckboy at all, but everyone has their moments. Everyone has the ability to call the shots and to walk away from something serious when that's not what they're looking for. I'm just sick of the assumption that since I'm a woman I'm incapable of wanting something casual.
OTW: In the “Fuckboy” music video, there are two skilled dancers enacting how people typically behave towards each other. What led to this creative decision?
BAUM: Marcella Cytrynowicz directed the video and to be straight up with you, the dancers were her idea. We worked together on a lot of the aesthetic side of the video, but the dancers (Sadie Wilking and Damon Berry) really made it their own. They came together and choreographed something that made a lot of sense with the song and brought a more vulnerable feel to it. Shooting the video was one of the best days ever and I feel really lucky to have worked with Marcella, Sadie, and Damon.
OTW: You seem to make it your mission to empower people of all genders, races, and sexualities. Why is this so important to you?
BAUM: Being inclusive and being a positive voice is incredibly important to me, especially as a queer woman who has dealt with massive body image issues. I always want my music and presence as an artist to create a safe space for people. I would have really benefited from seeing people who looked like me in magazines and on stages as a kid, and I rarely did. I don't want to be sexualized, but I want to show my body and just be part of that conversation, and show that you can be whatever you want and look however you look. That being said, I recognize that my voice has limited importance as a white woman. There are so many voices with more value on this subject than mine, so many experiences I am not able to speak on, and I want to listen, seek those out, and contribute when I can.
OTW: Your hit single “This Body” was recently featured in a Target commercial. How does it make you feel to know that people are hearing your song on television?
BAUM: I LOVE that campaign and I'm so happy to be a part of it! It feels really good to hear my song playing and see that ad. The campaign is about body positivity and inclusion and that was my intention with the song as well, so it just feels like I'm being heard in a really nice way, and my song is part of something special.
OTW: In a 2017 interview with us, you said “This Body” was your favorite song to perform live. Is this still accurate?
BAUM: No, hahahaha. I love playing that song, and it means a lot to me, but I wrote it when I was 19. I just turned 22, and I've been through quite a lot in the last few years, so singing that song just doesn't have the same effect on me. I'm really excited to play shows now and sing about the stuff I'm dealing with currently.
OTW: If you could sell out a show anywhere in the world, where would you pick?
BAUM: Up until very recently I would have said New York for sure. I grew up there and went to so many shows hoping it would be me one day, but I moved to LA a couple years ago and it has completely become my home now. I would love to play a sold-out show here and just be surrounded by the people I love.
OTW: Who are your Ones To Watch?
BAUM: I saw Nilüfer Yanya open for Sharon Van Etten a couple months ago. Her album is FIREEE and she would definitely be on my list. I'm a big fan of Jamila Woods, Dominic Fike, Sasami, Yuno, Gus Dapperton. I would have a long list...