VIDEO: Button and Bly’s Travel Show Interviews Swedish Lesbian Singer Beatrice Eli

Today we have an interview with Swedish Lesbian singer Beatrice Eli who is becoming wildly popular in Scandinavia, and not just with the queer folk. Despite (or maybe because of) her lesbianism and shocking lyrics, she’s smashing into mainstream media and not giving any fucks. You will love her. You are welcome in advance for introducing you to your next favorite album.

This past fall, when Button was in California, her girlfriend sat her down, plugged her phone in and said: “You have to hear this.” She played “Girls,” and the look on Button’s face was like a five-year-old who just found out they are going to Disneyland: all she could say is “This is perfect.” They kept listening, and as queer women, they deeply identified with the songs. When Button last returned to Sweden in February, she began to see Beatrice Eli’s face everywhere: posters, newspapers, front pages of magazines. I’ve been dying to find a way to tell people about her since our discovery, so when I saw she was having a show in Stockholm, our producer made sure to set up an interview.

Since this week we’re doing something a little different, we’ll fit in a quick bit of travel advice: Sweden is a beautiful country, full of lovely people. It’s easy to get around there as pretty much everyone can speak English and they love travelers—especially Americans, who they think are cool! Ha! The feeling is mutual. When I live on Södermalm, which is the southern-most island in Stockholm and where most of the young trendy artsy action is happening. The whole city is worth exploring though, especially Gamla Stan and Djurgården.

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Like any artist, Beatrice Eli makes music because she loves it. It’s her passion and she’s been pursuing it since she was 18. She got her start in music working as a songwriter for R&B artists. As she was doing that, she began producing some of her own stuff on her home computer and putting it on MySpace. Like most of our experiences with MySpace, she admits that those songs weren’t so good. Still, she got signed to a publishing company, and was determined through her long road ahead. Even in a country as open and accepting as Sweden, Beatrice was initially worried about the ramifications that coming out would have on her career. However, the public reaction in Sweden has been completely accepting, applauding Eli on her originality and fearlessness.

Things really started to take off when she released “Girls” in January of last year. She has great women on her team and uses them for projects. A few months ago, her album “Die Another Day” won Best Pop Album of the year in Sweden’s most prestigious music award, P3 Guld. Winners in other categories included Swedish (and global) favorites like First Aid Kit and Tove Lo, so Eli is in pretty good company. Her success has been a little bit of the perfect storm, mixing her talent and unique attitude with the rise in feminist and queer accessibility with social media. She arrived exactly when she was needed most, and at a time when society will let her thrive.

Coming out helped Beatrice Eli to embrace her sense of self, speak honestly and openly through her music about her experiences in a way she wasn’t able to when she was just starting out. We were so refreshed and excited to hear what she is doing: it’s honest, it’s raw, but it’s not obnoxious. She’s not talking about a girl that makes her wet so she can get attention and sell records. She’s singing about it because she’s a lesbian and identifies with it. She isn’t censoring herself to make someone else happy, and she doesn’t see her stuff as edgy because she is just being herself. She’s not saying “fuck you” to societal norms, she’s just shrugging them off.

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Because of that, she is being celebrated by the queer community and feminists alike. It’s a great message to give to everyone, especially young queers who are facing the challenges of finding themselves and coming out. It’s an almost subliminal reminder—through catchy music—that it’s okay to do you. I never had anything like this when I was coming out to normalize the situation. We can only imagine how the underlying message would have helped each one of us figure things out a bit more quickly and smoothly.

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It’s exciting to find more and more queer lady artists! Social media has done huge things to the indie music scene, and the creative arts scene as a whole. Not only has it cleverly side-stepped the need for a big label to sign you in order for you to become famous, the instant feedback you get from the fans and supporters is incredibly helpful and also very personal. It allows you to create a community of fans that feel incredibly connected to you and what you are doing, before you are even able to make a living off of your passion. We’re so excited for the space it’s began to create for talented and badass queer ladies!

What do you think? Have you found any awesome queer and feminist artists via social media? How about in real life? Let us know in the comments!

Button and Bly are two inexperienced knuckleheads sharing their adventures around the world through their travel vlogs. They have found their niche in queer women. Not only is Button and Bly one of the only LGBTQ travel shows being made, it ranks amongst the top in quality of any vlog on the internet.

Button has written 7 articles for us.

38 Comments

  1. Lesbisk sounds like the name of a very savoury biscuit I think I would like taste of.
    I have nothing else of value to add because other than AS I’m not really involved in social media at all.
    Lo siento?

  2. Oh rad I love Beatrice Eli. I remember looking her up on here a few months back to see if AS had written anything on her and I’m so glad that now there’s something. She’s super cool.

  3. I had seen her video while searching for a lesbian music video I remembered (only a girl), but I didn’t know anything about her. She’s talented and so charming! I’ll have to see some interviews in Swedish, it’s such a lovely language.

  4. Ooooh I’m so happy Beatrice Eli is getting more attention in international media! When I first heard Girls last summer, I honestly felt like it changed my life a little? I’m just so thankful for her whole existence tbh. Also, a cool thing about Beatrice: she’s dating Swedish lesbian rapper Silvana Imam, who is just INCREDIBLE. She raps in Swedish mostly but is still worth checking out if you don’t speak it, I would say. She did a pretty great interview with an American radio station recently which is a good watch too.

      • I’m glad you mentioned Silvana Imam. She’s an incredibly expressive rapper which makes her message come through over the language barrier (or so I hear, I understand Swedish). I was lucky enough to see her live last month and she blew. me. away. Strongly recommend. She and Beatrice, such a dream couple…

  5. I’m so glad y’all are finally talking about Beatrice Eli! I’ve been obsessed with her for a while now. I think I even e-mailed someone on the Autostraddle team about her once. She’s incredible!

  6. Oh, and I just noticed your question at the end of the article. I don’t know about her queerness, but an AMAZING feminist musician is Tove Styrke. Practically her whole album, Kiddo, is about smashing the patriarchy and it’s my fav album of the year so far. And she’s from Sweden, too, because they’re better at making music than pretty much everyone else.

  7. I actually found Beatrice Eli through reading that she was dating Silvana Imam, who I found through reading an interview with her in one of Sweden’s serious news magazines (which is kinda weird). I got hooked on both of them, obviously 😀 Silvana’s lyrics are to die for, and I’m so sad they aren’t really transferrable to English.

    It is NOT the way I would normally expect myself to find new awesome queer music, and I love that Sweden is starting to acknowledge queer music in the mainstream media. Sweden is really progressive in some ways, but like everywhere, there is shit to fix, and I’m just so glad that the next generation of queers will have them (and others), out there.

  8. I actually found a queer feminist artist because I swiped past her on Tinder (apparently Tinder can be used to advertise and network now). I can’t for the life of me remember what her Tumblr was.. damn.

  9. OOOooh I think I will definitely enjoy her music. And I must say, as someone that came out to herself at almost exactly the same time and is the SAME AGE as Beatrice (28), I was incredibly heartened by her coming out story–and the fact that she is so goodamn cool. It seems like all the cool and edgy queer famous ladies have a “I knew since I was in the womb” story — which is fine, but I feel so comforted by the relate-ability I find stories like Beatrice’s. Instant queer role model!

  10. Button & Bly is a good show; I do enjoy it. It could really use some diversity though. It seems to be largely oriented toward white, uppermiddle-class lesbians and that scene.

  11. daaaaaamn. SO COOL.
    also swedish (queer) feminism is generally pretty awesome and badass and adorable. there’s a swedish feminist party that is represented in the european parlament! and the gender neutral pronoun “hen” was recently added to the official dictionary. a lot of cool stuff comes out of this country. (like this song: “goodbye patriarchy” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhR8eMnhmxs)

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