Sometime last year, Los Angeles pop artist BAUM wrote “Fuckboy,” a fiery, playful jam about owning your sexuality that's out today (May 8). Then, as the singer-songwriter born Sabrina Teitelbaum puts it, “shit hit the fan.”
Eleven days into the new year, her mother passed away. Shortly after, she broke up with her first long-term boyfriend; then, she and her longtime manager parted ways.
“It was a one-two punch, but times a million,” the 22-year-old remembers. “A lot of people that I relied on, I didn’t have in my life anymore.”
Feeling lost, and describing 2019 as the "craziest year of" her life, she found herself unable to write with the lighthearted wit that made her debut EP Ungodly a stand-out last March. BAUM previously broke through in 2018 with "Hot Water," a breezy, '80s-tinged vibe that served as her coming out as queer and has since surpassed 1.2 million Spotify streams.
In the aftermath of her recent loss, BAUM began pouring her emotions into tender melodies that she'd write late at night. "It really was more like how I used to write when I was younger," explains the singer, who grew up in New York City and began songwriting at age seven. "You're like, I need to get these things off of my chest so that they're not in my mind."
The result? BAUM is finally releasing "Fuckboy" along with its color-splashed music video, after which she'll kick off a new era focused on songs that "trim the bullshit," with a sophomore EP coming later this fall.
Not everything has changed, though -- BAUM still has a penchant for lyrics that flip the script. As for the new track, "I wanted to mix up that classic narrative of girl meets boy and then girl gets her heart broken and is an emotional wreck about it," she explains. "That's just not true, and I know so many women who are not like that."
BAUM says the song also reflects her evolving relationship with body image and beauty standards, topics she's opened up about on Instagram posts and with bold anthems like last year's "This Body." She'll continue to explore those themes on her upcoming work -- in the "Fuckboy" video, several hands reach from offscreen to spread red lipstick over her face -- while acknowledging that, for her, self-love is still a constant struggle.
"I sing about loving yourself and about loving your body, but it's not like I don't still deal with the things that people deal with," she says. "To be in the current sea of voices that are promoting body positivity is something that's really important to me with this project."
Meanwhile, she remains unsigned by choice ("I am calling my own shots"), and will self-release her upcoming, yet-to-be-titled EP. Adds BAUM: "It sort of feels like a fresh start."