Whether you know it or not, you’ve already been enjoying Bibi Bourelly’s work. Along with her own excellent solo releases, Bourelly has been writing some of your favorite songs. The German 21-year-old wrote “Bitch Better Have My Money,” “Higher,” and “Yeah, I Said It” for Rihanna. The young Haitian-Moroccan songwriter has credits on Selena Gomez’s Revival and Nick Brewer’s Recreation. Her talent lies in her ability to express struggle and profound loss as well as a fighting spirit. Rather than cower from the things she fears, she embraces them. Bibi Bourelly isn’t taking life for granted and she’s our next On The Rise artist.
Berlin is everything about my artistry. We used to fucking run from police, chill on rooftops, paint the city and do crazy shit—it’s such a huge part of my personality. In Berlin, I went through a lot of pain because my mother passed away there, and I was terrible with school there. I was fighting to be understood, but I also went through so much victory and I met so many incredible people.
Born to notable jazz and blues guitarist Jean-Paul Bourelly who toured with Miles Davis, music was always a part of her life. She was attending shows as young as age four and even went on tour when she was eleven. Her late mother was the head of the art department at Berlin’s Haus der Kulturen der Welt. The Bourelly household certainly provided a creative environment. It was her mother’s passing when she was six that forged her strong bond with music. That moment proved to be one of the most foundational for her. While you might’ve been hanging out at the mall in high school, Bourelly was getting into trouble in the streets of Berlin with her friends. As far as schooling, Bourelly got as far as 10th grade after moving to Washington, D.C. from Berlin. She finished high school during the summer of 2013 and booked it to L.A. She knew producer Paperboy Fabe from online and he introduced her to Kanye West. She banged out BBHMM in two to three hours and “Higher” in 30 minutes.
Bourelly is a free spirit with a firm grip on who she is and wants to be. In “Ego,” she sings “I put this on life, I won’t ever conform. I won’t never ever ever ever give a fuck. You won’t bring me down.” Her latest single “Sally” premiered on Zane Lowe’s Beats 1 show. It’s a rockabilly tune with an edge. Her debut album is set for release in 2016. In an interview with VIBE, she said she’s worked on nearly 400 songs in the last year, writing every single day. She describes her sound as more soulful but we can see Bourelly playing with various genres in her debut. Listen to one of her most vulnerable tracks below.
On The Rise is our spotlight series on new and emerging artists. We last featured Tacocat. Stay tuned for next week’s On The Rise artist!