The days of traditional music production with engineers, producers and a studio no longer hold as much significance in the music world. Now artists can garner a large following and pursue their music dreams from the comfort of their own bedroom. Thus comes the rise of bedroom pop.
What is Bedroom Pop?
Bedroom pop is music made from one’s home using instruments, sampled music and simple recording devices. It began in the late 2010s as DIY music production where artists could upload music without going through the conventional music production process. With platforms like Soundcloud, Youtube and even TikTok, young aspiring artists have found a niche group of people who support their work.
When it originated, bedroom pop had a specific energy. It was denoted as lo-fi music – with typically an unpolished, imperfect sound. That rough around the edges sound is what garnered attention from so many people – especially Generation Z. Now, bedroom pop blends genres of indie, pop, psychedelic, and hip-hop hosting a multitude of aspiring artists.
As with any movement, the bedroom pop scene gives a voice to those who might not have received attention in a more traditional music production setting. As long as you have some musical talent and access to a computer, you can produce music and potentially jump start your music career.
Thus, one of the hallmarks of the bedroom pop movement is the lack of gatekeepers. While traditional avenues require a music producer, a studio and even a marketing team to promote an artist’s work, now artists act as a one-man-show and take a hands-on approach to the entire production process. This nontraditional approach flourished during the COVID-19 pandemic when most of the world was relegated to their rooms, and artists were unable to pursue conventional music production.
Bedroom pop is a staple to Gen Z because it highlights the importance of technology and social media and their ability to expose smaller artists to a large group of people. Most of the artists who create music under the “bedroom pop” label are also members of Gen Z who have never known a world without the internet. Thus, the rise in popularity of this style and production of music is integral to the younger generation.
Though the music styles and genres differ within the umbrella term “bedroom pop,” most artists tell similar stories of young love, a disillusioned outlook on the world around them, and a yearning for simpler times without the looming stress of adulthood. The raw, unpolished instrumental sounds coupled with the emotional yet genuine vocals characterize the bedroom pop movement.
Key Figures in the Bedroom Pop Scene
While it’s difficult to pin down the exact artists who founded this music movement, there are a few key figures who began producing music using the bedroom pop title and have since evolved past the low production environment.
Claire Cottrill AKA ‘Clairo’
Claire Cottrill who uses the stage name Clairo released a music video in 2017 to her song “Pretty Girl.” Clairo shot the video on her computer’s webcam as she sat on her bed, lip syncing to her song. The homemade video perfectly matches the low budget, simple beat and lyrics of the song.
“Pretty Girl” exemplifies young teenage angst and longing through lyrics like “I could be a pretty girl I’ll wear a skirt for you.” Her music video quickly became an internet sensation and has garnered over 80 million views on YouTube since its release. Shortly after the success of “Pretty Girl,” Clairo released an EP titled “diary 001” with tracks that generate the same fuzzy, homemade sound as her previous hit single.
Each of the songs in Clairo’s early career feature a strong synthetic beat with soft, breezy vocals that tell stories of longing, lust and a sense of urgency toward making a relationship work. Since her rise in popularity, Clairo has released two full-length albums, “Immunity” and “Sling,” with over 11 million monthly listeners on Spotify.
Though her days of making music videos in the comfort of her home with little following are over, Clairo remains one of the key figures in the bedroom pop scene.
Beatrice Laus AKA ‘Beabadoobee’
Beatrice Laus began using the stage name Beabadoobee in 2017 when she released her song “Coffee” which quickly became a hit among Gen Z. Her first singles feature stripped back vocals and soft instrumentals that embody the bedroom pop sound. The songs are deeply romantic while still encompassing innocent feelings of young love and yearning.
Once gaining popularity, Beabadoobee took on an alternative, indie rock sound which fits her current genre. She’s since garnered over 10 million monthly listeners on Spotify and released a full-length studio album titled “Fake it Flowers.”
Her newest album shifts away from the bedroom pop title as she emerges into a more polished artist. While the sound of her new album is definitely different from her first works, Beabadoobee remains a staple in the bedroom pop scene.
Is bedroom pop the right term for this music?
Bedroom pop is slightly a misnomer because not all of the music under this category is made in a bedroom and not all of it gains popularity. However, the overall description fits the movement and accurately denotes the homemade, lo-fi sounds.
Yet, the question that arises is: can we still categorize the artists who become music giants under the bedroom pop label? Clairo and Beabadoobee signed to record labels and now perform at sold out shows. They no longer produce music on free platforms like Garageband, and they overall, don’t fit the bedroom pop category that they once founded.
The name, “bedroom pop” can be a bit stifling to these artists who are now larger players in the music scene. Despite the potentially restricting title, bedroom pop remains an outlet for young creatives to produce music and allows listeners to find and support smaller artists.
However you feel about the name “bedroom pop” and its use on these well-known singer-songwriters does not detract from the influence the movement has over Gen Z.