South Florida’s very own indie-rock sensation, 19-year-old Deadbeat Girl, has arrived on the scene with their deeply introspective and relatable debut EP, What Will It Take?. The young artist and producer takes us on a heartfelt journey through self-acceptance, heartbreak, and identity in this coming-of-age collection that showcases their songwriting prowess and rapidly maturing sound.
Deadbeat Girl has been honing their craft since the age of 16, finding inspiration in the works of Finneas, Tyler, The Creator, and Day Wave. Their music has evolved from teenage angst to encapsulating the complexities of growing up, especially as a queer person in a conservative environment. Now based in New York, the multi-faceted artist is determined to create a soundtrack that promotes unconditional acceptance and self-empowerment for their listeners.
The EP features standout track “These Walls,” a poignant exploration of life in a small, conservative community, as well as the beautifully raw “She Loves Me” and the stripped-back closer “More.” Elsewhere, the emotionally charged “Take Me Home” delves into the struggle between head and heart in a tumultuous relationship, while “Another Day” showcases vulnerability through its melancholic punk-inspired sound. With What Will It Take?, Deadbeat Girl crafts an immersive and moving experience for listeners that is both intimate and universal.
Join us as we dive into an exclusive conversation with Deadbeat Girl about their journey, creative process, and unyielding passion for music. Don’t miss our in-depth interview with the musician below!
Hey Val! Congrats on releasing your debut EP What Will It Take?! Can you tell us the story behind the EP title?
Thank you so much, I really appreciate the support! I got the EP title based off of a quote I saw somewhere. I forget where it was, I think it might’ve been spray-painted on the floor in the city or something but the quote read: “what would it take?“ I really liked that quote and I originally saved it in my phone as a tattoo idea.
I really resonate with it because I consider myself as someone who’s very driven when it comes to things that I care about and at the start of my career that quote felt important. I then changed the quote from “what would it take” to “what will it take” because that one word change felt more willing and eager. I remember looking it up to see if anyone else had it as a tattoo or if it existed and I didn’t really see anything for “what will it take?”
When coming up with the EP title, I then remembered the quote and I felt like it was very true to how I was feeling at the time and it was a cool bonus from a business sense because nobody I had done it before for all I knew. I named the EP after the quote and also got the title tattooed on my rib haha!
Your music showcases your journey through self-discovery and identity. How do you feel your sound has evolved since you started writing at 16?
A lot of the songs on this EP I wrote at that age but out of the more recently written songs on the EP and that I’ve been making more recently outside of the EP, I feel like I’ve been writing about more niche, more adult experiences and exploring different sounds other than just live instruments.
“These Walls” is an incredibly powerful song about growing up queer in a conservative community. How did you find the strength to share such a personal experience with the world?
As an artist and as a person, I’ve always walked around with my heart on my sleeve so being honest in my music has always come naturally to me. However, it definitely took extra strength to write something like that while being closeted but I also wrote it in a way that felt subtle enough that people wouldn’t suspect anything from it.
The song has also aged interestingly because even the voicemail in the song, I originally wanted a female voice to do it but I ended up making my guy best friend do it because I was scared of raising suspicion. I did not know that by the time I would be releasing it that I would be out to the world and to the people around me. I think the little nuances (my fear of outing myself) in the song like having a male voicemail and having the lyrics be up for interpretation out of fear has added a different experience to the meaning of the song.
You’ve also mentioned that you moved to New York to be yourself and find a more accepting community. How has this change impacted your music and personal growth?
The change has greatly impacted my music and personal growth tremendously. In South Florida, I was extremely repressed and even when I felt like I was being authentically myself, I hadn’t even reached my full potential because I had no queer people around me to introduce me to different ways of self-expression. After moving to a place completely free of judgment with so much artistic influence, I have expanded my artistry in so many ways when it comes to my sound, artist image, physical appearance, and even the way I approach things as a person outside of my music.
Going back to your mission to promote unconditional acceptance and self-empowerment, how do you hope your music will help others facing similar struggles?
As a person who has always grown up as a fangirl of other artists, I always found a home in queer music. When I was outside of my house, I was closeted and I wasn’t myself, but when I would go home and listen to queer music I felt understood, heard, accepted, and my true self. Music was really my one outlet I had to fully be myself when I was in an environment where I couldn’t be myself. I hope my music can create a home for people who are currently in the situation that I was previously in.
Let’s talk about your latest single “Take Me Home.” Can you share the inspiration behind this head-over-heart ballad?
“Take Me Home” is actually the first song I’ve ever written all the way through. At the time I was a young teen hurting over my first love. I knew that having that person in my life wasn’t good for me, but building up the strength to leave was something that was very hard for me. Even though it was a very emotionally taxing relationship, I felt at home with that person. At the time I was also really obsessed with indie bands like The Smiths, girl in red, Day Wave, Alvvays, and much more like that so I was interested in creating a song that felt like a bright indie song but with emotional lyric content.
In contrast to “Another Day,” “She Loves Me” is an indie folk moment with raw vocals. How do you decide which musical style best suits the message you want to convey in each song?
The style I choose usually depends on what story I am trying to tell. When it comes to “Another Day,” I wanted to give an emotional story but also express my anger and transition into an empowering message. For that, I figured a loud, powerful pop-punk song was fitting.
For “She Loves Me” on the other hand, I wanted to tell a story that is a bit more involved and have it just be a song of self-loathing. For a song like that, I figured that an indie-folk, singer-songwriter approach was a good choice because that style allows for more wordy, emotional songwriting. Additionally, I was listening to a lot of Phoebe Bridgers and Boygenius at the time, so I was greatly inspired by their music.
Your EP closer, “More,” is a beautifully stripped-back piece. Can you tell us about the emotions and creative process behind this song?
“More” is a story of falling for your best friend. I wanted the song to sound really raw and stripped back, ending the EP on a softer note. I first came up with the lyric “you really thought I lied when I said I loved you more” and then built the rest of the song around that lyric. I was greatly inspired by the raw feel of “Angel’s Song” by Arlo Parks when it came to the overall delivery of the song. As opposed to the rest of the project, I recorded this song in my little college dorm room hunched over in my tiny corner desk.
As you continue to grow and evolve as an artist, what do you hope to achieve with your music and the impact it has on your fans and the world at large?
As I grow, I hope that I get to a point that literally anyone can relate and connect to at least one song in my discography. I want people to find a home in my music and have it become a time capsule of their own memories in their lives in the same way that I connect to my favorite songs.