Following on from the release of her innovative sophomore EP Me vs. Me, we meet trailblazing rising star Bea and her Business.

It might sound cliché, but 20-year-old Bea Wheeler, AKA Bea and Her Business, always knew she was destined for a life on stage. Being the next princess of pop is a pretty run-of-the-mill fantasy for a nine-year-old. But for Bea, her unbridled determination has made it a reality, and despite scepticism from her older sisters, she’s ultimately had the last laugh.

 

The unconventional recipe of a family road trip, childhood naivety, and sibling rivalry planted the seeds for Bea’s path into music. “Growing up, both of my sisters were pretty good singers, and we were all very competitive. When I was nine, sitting in the car and listening to my sisters sing, I thought, ‘I need to be better than them at one thing.’ So I was like, I’m gonna be the best at singing. I decided I was gonna be a pop star,” she giggles on a video call from her home in west London. Most of us let go of our childhood dreams pretty fast. Hardly anyone gets to be an astronaut or a superstar in the real world, but Bea is making her dreams come true through resilience. After all, there’s no business like show business.

“I had to follow through with the plan because I refused to back out at that point. They were adamant I couldn’t do it,” she smirks. “And now I can thank my sisters for their character building,” she adds, casually poised in a bright living room, her hair tousled up in a bun. This glowing, candid charm is all part of the mystique that defines Bea as an artist.

 

With natural talent and compelling lyricism, it’s no fluke that Bea is forging her own path, armed with dramatic melodies and a hefty pinch of irony. “I like to waffle,” she says, having just told me about her plan to give everyone free Ben’s Cookies if she ruled the world for a day – milk chocolate chunk, for those asking. But when it comes down to it, Bea is pretty cutthroat. And her music is far from sickly sweet, as she opens up her wounds and unpicks coming-of-age stories set to a backdrop of beautiful melodies.

Her first track, ‘Born to Be Alive,’ was released just last year. Laced with razor-sharp lines, like “Never been a sucker for a valentine, I’m a holy motherfucker with my head held high,” truly setting the tone for her trademark sound: gut-wrenching, irony-infused, melodic pop ballads and punchy lullabies.

 

The Buckinghamshire-born artist captured the divine wrath of the algorithm in no time. Her debut single set the numbers alight, racking up millions of Spotify streams and TikTok views at lightning speed, catapulting her into the epicentre of pop music and tilting her world on its axis. “It’s been a weird journey,” she says, pausing to mull on her answer. Being an internet sensation may seem like a dream, but it has the potential to open up a Pandora’s box. “When a song pops off on Reels, it’s an incredible moment, and I think that popularity can only happen because of social media. I don’t think it can happen for newer artists through radio anymore. Having complete control, to be able to post your songs and have the freedom to see if there’s a response to them before they’re released is really cool.” This level of control over your career is indeed refreshing in an industry so difficult to break through. “Someone said to me, you should look at TikTok as though it’s your own mini radio station.”

Bea’s sophomore EP, Me Vs Me, comes a year on from this first release. The project is made up of six strong tracks, driven by plosively poetic lyricism which pays tribute to the all-too-relatable pressures of entering your early 20s, unpacking topics like the fear of the unknown and struggles with body image.

 

Thematically, this project contrasts with her debut, which carries a more stereotypically romantic slant. “Writing the new EP, all my friends had gone to university. And I was in London doing music, which was a really weird transition. This EP marks the beginning of figuring out how I’m gonna do this shit alone.” One constant in Bea’s music, which sets her apart from other artists, is her dynamically fruitful lyricism. Witty, honest, and exquisite, her writing is a real window into her personality, candidly laying her emotions on the table, stripped back with poignant imagery and packing an ironic punch every few lines.

On Me Vs Me, the single ‘Sunburnt Shoulders’ is an ode to the dizzying hurly-burly of entering the adult world. “Wearing dirty clothes and oversleeping, When am I gonna do something with my life? Everyone’s got a thing, oh God, where’s mine?”, is an all-too-relatable rhetorical question for most twenty-somethings. It’s a song aching with honesty, remedied by a beautiful melody. “It’s my favourite song on the EP because it’s very honest about that time of my life. I remember the minute I wrote that song, I had a really special feeling about it. I started with the melody, and then the lyrics came to me, and it felt really special. Getting those feelings is rare, but it’s such a special thing.”

 

The emotional side of Bea’s writing doesn’t come without the merit of her ability to supercharge her lyricism with a comic edge, adding a layer of down-to-earth camaraderie. “I used to find it hard to express my feelings; I always said things in a funny way so people wouldn’t take them seriously. And still, humour is so important because the world is way too serious; I think putting humour in songs and not taking yourself too seriously is just an important thing generally,” she says. And there’s one influence that’s particularly prevalent if you know where to look.

The catchy hooks and punchy-line-worthy verses feel reminiscent of Lily Allen’s IDGAF energy. “I take a lot from her ability to be so witty and conversational without it feeling cheap; she’s an incredible songwriter. She made me think, this is how I can weave humour into my songs. My songs don’t all have to be about love, and I can take the piss out of deep subjects.”

 

It’s not just a reckless Lily Allen-esque edge that defines the world of Bea and Her Business. A storm of ever-growing influences circumvents the Venn diagram of her music, and poetry plays a seismic part in the 20-year-old’s process. “I just love that poetry has this visceral imagery you can grab onto. I think that’s what I look for when I’m reading,” she tells me enthusiastically. “Sometimes, I try and challenge myself to write a whole other poem just based on the title, without having read the poem yet, just to get my brain thinking in a different way. I take these things and apply it to a metaphor in your life: it’s quite an interesting process,” she adds.

Although her music structurally and melodically fits into the worn-out subheading of “mainstream pop”, she doesn’t hesitate to experiment. Me Vs Me marks Bea’s plunge into a folk twist, taking inspiration from Bon Iver and Noah Kahn, something that not even Bea would have predicted.

 

“The EP’s a bit folky, and it’s really interesting because I never thought I’d write folk music or explore that avenue. But over the past year, it’s become a natural part of my writing. I love folk, and I’d love to write a bunch of folk songs later on down the line,” she says. There is indeed something of a Laura Marling edge to the project, especially in her storytelling ability and this shift in tone marks a growth in her career as an artist.

 

Next on the agenda, is a massive US tour. Coming out of the internet’s ether, the abyss of touring might seem a little strange to the rising stars of today. “It’s like a constant phase of delirium!”, she says. Having scaled her first EU tour last year, she’s venturing across the Atlantic to make her American debut this autumn, where she’ll play in NYC and LA. “I’m feeling unbelievably excited. The fact that people are buying tickets to come and watch me perform still slightly baffles me and feels very surreal. I’m most excited to see how the new songs go down,” she says.

Along with her beloved bandmates, she’s armed with some impressive culinary skills to pass the time: “I can’t wait to get back to being a master wrap-maker on the bus. I know the band have been missing the ‘Bea special’ – ham, spinach (for health), cheese, tomatoes, and lots of hummus. It sounds basic, but it’s honestly magic.”

 

As with all things in life, you live and you learn, and the wisdom she’s packing with her for her cross-the-pond shows is crucial “I’m hoping my voice holds up. I have a very bad habit of speaking too loudly for no reason at all and going full throttle on big choruses. I think for this tour, I’m gonna have to rein it in a little!” Far from a cookie cutter, Bea has a unique It Girl appeal and she’s ready to take her business to the road, well and truly proving that a little bit of a sibling feud can push you into making your dreams a reality.

Listen to Me vs. Me now: