you can't stop bibi bourelly
Bibi Bourelly might be an in demand hitmaker, but it’s her own music that will make the most noise…
"I was born an artist," announces Bibi Bourelly before bursting into a self-conscious laugh. "That sounds so fucking funny and corny, but I was. I was born with the innate and urgent desire to constantly self-express." The daughter of a film-maker mother and musician father, Bourelly, 21, was raised in Berlin around a sea of "artsy fucking people" both at home and school. "I went to the Nelson Mandela International School with the kids of artists and ambassadors from Iraq, Ghana, Russia, Germany, Amsterdam… everywhere. I experienced a very multicultural, creative Berlin." After the death of her mother and "failing horribly at high school", 14-year-old Bourelly was sent four thousand miles across the Atlantic to live with her aunty and uncle, both doctors, in Washington DC. "I went from being a really free kid who could hop on the subway and smoke hella weed, to moving to the suburbs where there was, like, a school bus and shit. It was a completely different lifestyle. But it was OK, I got through it and now I get to be myself again." Her teen years may have been spent in flux, but life seems smoother these days.
Two years ago, Bourelly left DC for LA to pursue her dreams as a songwriter and musician; since then she's written #BBHMM for Rihanna ("She's an inspiration… and she's got good weed"), worked with Usher and Little Wayne, and counts Skrillex as a BFF. "He's one of the most amazing, supportive people I've ever met. I hope to be like him when I'm older." But it's her own career that Bourelly is most keenly focused on. Since signing as a solo artist to Island, she's dropped three key singles: Sally, Ego and Riot. The triumvirate of tracks reveals a singer much more steeped in Rock 'n' Roll than her songwriting credits might suggest. "I'm never gonna label myself because I'm an artist and that's not my job. I'll let you guys label it," she deflects when asked about her style. Bourelly is much more interested in the future and how she might shape it. "I think as time goes on people are going to understand me a lot better. I want to inspire people to be themselves, to have courage, to fight for the things they know that are right and the things that they believe in. That's just the truth. I live for this shit. I wanna go out knowing that I lived my life doing what made me happy and that I tried my best to inspire and to contribute to this world."
Text Hattie Collins
Photography We Are The Rhoads
Styling Nicolas Klam
Hair Amber Duarte at The Rex Agency using Bumble and bumble
Make-up Jenna Kristina at TMG LA using NARS Cosmetics
Photography assistance Brad Torchia
Bibi wears jacket G-Star. Top A.L.C. Jeans and jewellery model's own.