Alternative singer-songwriter Bethia Beadman described by The Quietus as a cross between Maria Callas and Ziggy Stardust, pre-empts the release of her new album ‘Into The Peace’ due this September with a haunting, emotive video for ‘Mary (The Real Thing)’ and once again portrays Bethia’s charm and elegant fragility.
She details the video: “I’ve been inspired by many Marys, from Magdalene to the great explorer Mary Kingsley. This is a song about drawing strength from these figures, their roles and guises – it’s a song about saving oneself. Once, when I felt like I might die of pain, an ocean washed over me bringing with it this song – whilst I played C major out loud and fierce to stop me falling to the ground. Afterwards, I went out onto the fire escape and found a Mexican candle in a glass, with a peeling label on the side that showed a picture of the Mother Mary in blue, white and gold. I took it inside and lit it.”
Bethia spent her childhood in the darkness of a vaulted basement in Bath. Years later, she was a sound assistant on Nigel Godrich’s From the Basement sessions. It felt like home. Watching live performances by the likes of PJ Harvey and The Stooges, she knew this is what she had to do – as if she didn’t know already.
Check out the XS Noize exclusive video premiere for ‘Mary (The Real Thing)’ – BELOW:
On the lookout for a backing band, she left flyers all over the London underground. By a twist of fate, one found its way into the hands of Courtney Love. Bethia didn’t find her backing band – but she was recruited into Hole. Days after meeting Courtney, Bethia was in LA, rehearsing for a world tour, living on the Phil Spector estate, in the house where John Lennon spent his lost weekend.
It wasn’t the first time she’d escaped to California. University in England was so gloomy, she went to revise for her Sanskrit finals on Sunset Boulevard. North America had always called to her. Bethia is never anything but British, but her superlative songwriting recalls her idols Fleetwood Mac, Neil Young and Leonard Cohen. Following her time with Hole, she joined a waterfall tour of Cornwall with cult psychedelic band Circulus, but fell out with Michael when he forced her to wear a tunic. Intimate and confessional, her songs emerge from a violent energy. Music can sweep you away, make you make bad decisions. Like the best artists, all Bethia’s life experiences have ended up in her voice – languid, velvety, with a resonant cloak of darkness.
Alongside her new band, Bethia is delighted to be joined on keys and backing vocals by her long-time friend Mike Mills from REM.
Listen to ‘Mary (The Real Thing)’ – BELOW:
Hackney Downs Studios – 28th June
Dickie’s Farm, Lincolnshire – 29th June & 13th July
The Tavistock Festival, Portobello – 8th July
The Castle, Manchester – 4th Sept
Servants Jazz Quarters, London – 13th Sept
The Golden Lion, Bristol – 23rd Sept
The Rialto, Brighton – TBC