Madison Beer on the ‘Full-Blown Meltdown’ That Shaped ‘Silence Between Songs,’ and How Lana Del Rey Changed Her Approach to Music

Madison Beer had already handed her sophomore album to her label when she frantically called her producer, New Zealand-born producer Leroy Clampitt, to tell him that she wanted to turn the whole project around. That was nearly a year ago, long before “Silence Between Songs” became the 14-song collection of psychedelic rock-inspired dream pop released today on Epic Records.

Beer and Clampitt had just individually received the first test pressings of the set and after playing the album in full Beer went to bed. “Then, I woke up in the middle of the night and realized: ‘This is not good enough,'” Beer tells Variety, recalling the “full-blown meltdown” that ultimately led her to return to the studio.

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Before he picked up Beer’s call, Clampitt had spent the night at a concert with the test pressings hidden away in his bag.

“I felt really weird carrying around like a bunch of vinyl, but I got home and I took a photo and sent it to her like ‘Yo, look what I just got!’ and that’s when she told me she needed to talk,” he remembers. “She felt so strongly about it and I trusted her; if she doesn’t think it’s right then we go back to the drawing board. We regained the idea together — went through what a new version might look like, what was working and what wasn’t working.”

Beer is grateful for the visceral feeling that drove her to rearrange the roots of her album, despite the fact that there is no distinctive method that can be used to decipher intuition from insecurity. But after years of producing music alongside a rotating list of label-picked songwriters and producers as a budding teenage pop star, Beer’s desire for a long-time creative partner like Clampitt — who aside from producing, is also a songwriter and instrumentalist with a killer knack for guitar — was much needed.

The pair first met when Clampitt went by his former alias, Big Taste Double XL, which stunned Beer when she finally met the artist in person and realized he resembled more a ball of sunshine than a Double XL. Clampitt has been consistently working with Beer ever since 2018’s “Home With You” (her first charting single), and shares co-production credits with the pop star on “Silence,” as well as her 2021 album “Life Support.”

Shortly after completing “Life Support,” Beer and Clampitt took a short journey out to Palm Springs to get away from the resurgence of the COVID virus and wrote the title track for “Silence,” which would go on to inspire much of the stripped-back lyricism found on the rest of the record. Around the same time, they had both begun obsessively listening to and absorbing the slow, sweet melodies found on the Beach Boys’ 1966 record “Pet Sounds” and some of the Beatles’ psychedelic rock-leaning singles.

Take the acoustic guitar-oriented “Ryder,” named after Beer’s younger brother, which centers on their sibling dynamic and how her career impacted his life: “Our youth down the drain, and I’ll take all the blame,” she sings. She also touches on the estranged relationship she shares with her father for “King of Everything,” which tackles touchy themes of resentment with metaphors like “Building castles in the sand / That crumble in your hands… But no one gives a damn / When the rain comes pouring down / To wash away your crown.”

“I had no idea what [the album] was going to turn into but when I make music, it’s an ever-changing process,” adds Beer. “Even now, there are a few things that I would change but that’s just the kind of artist I am… I’m never satisfied. However, I’m so proud of it and I’m going to ideally release another album within a year.”

Pictured above: Madison Beer in studio, strategizing the reconstruction of her album “Silence Between Songs.

After the restructuring, Beer ended up adding six new songs and scrapping an undisclosed number of songs that weren’t originally on the first prints (among the new additions: “I Wonder,” “Sweer Relief,” “Nothing Matters But You,” “Home to Another One,” and “Ryder”).

“I wanted people to be able to put headphones in and close their eyes and they could see everything,” says Beer, who has already released visual counterparts to “Spinnin” and “Home to Another One,” both of which build on feelings of otherworldly escapism. “When I listen to those songs, I can see movies — the colors and aesthetics and the videos perfectly capture the essence of my lyrics, the instrumentals — it all comes together then.”

With a new tracklist in hand, Beer turned in her album once more and began sharing the music with her industry peers. Since jump-starting her career at 12 years old, thanks to a co-sign from Justin Bieber, Beer’s circle of friends and mentors has only gotten bigger. She most recently linked up with Lana Del Rey, who told Beer what a big fan she was when they serendipitously ran into each other at a coffee shop.

“To have someone like her say like, ‘I think your album is beautiful,’ means the world to me,” says Beer who adds that Rey’s favorite tracks were “Ryder” and “Spinnin.” “She also taught me to not put so much pressure on myself when it comes to releasing music. I tend to overthink the timeline of my releases and she’s much more casual about it. I love making music and I want to release more, as I please. I’m excited for what’s in store.”

Having dealt with a fair share of online criticism (when Bieber reposted videos of a beautiful, talented young Beer on his social media, much of his fanbase turned to attack her out of jealousy) and industry fall-outs (she was formerly managed by Bieber’s longtime manager Scooter Braun), support from an established female figure like Rey means more than Beer can put into words — but she attempts to.

She praises fresh faces like Billie Eilish, Olivia Rodrigo, Melanie Martinez and Sabrina Carpenter for their artistry and success but at the same time, reminds herself to not get caught up in comparisons. “It’s been a huge learning curve and what I’ve learned is that comparison is the thief of joy in every sense,” she says.

“For a long time, I was someone who would compare myself: for example, when Billie first caught fire — it felt as though she had quickly popped off and was already 100,000 times more successful than me. I was jealous or upset by it but now, I couldn’t be more proud of the work that I have out. Lana’s [co-sign] was definitely a breath of fresh air for me and I try to be the same with young artists coming up now – a supporter or a voice of reason where I can be.”

Beer is more eager than ever for the world to finally hear her in “Silence Between Songs,” and she’s even more pumped to take the record on the road at the beginning of 2024.

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