Madison Beer

Madison Beer

Russo, Aleem

Sun May 20

Doors: 6:30 pm / Show: 7:30 pm

$26.50 - $125.00

• Full dinner and drink menu available
• The Premier Plus section is a raised area with great views and reserved seats and tables. There is a dedicated server for faster service.

Madison Beer
Madison Beer
Over the past few years, Madison Beer has grown into herself as the world watched. For the Jericho, Long Island native, music is what propelled her into the spotlight after she started recording and posting cover songs to the web at the age of 12, striking a chord with the listening public and accruing a sturdy fan base that, today, has helped push her overall YouTube views past 83 million. But as her social media following swelled and she racked up millions of clicks and streams across various platforms, she finally reached a point where she felt comfortable releasing a project that sufficiently conveys the person she’s become.

“I wanted to just not hold back with anything and have it come through my heart and be all of me,” says Beer, now 18. For her debut EP As She Pleases, independently releasing February 2, 2018, she fully comes into her own as a musician, co-writing on the set’s seven tracks that blend the sheer pop sensibilities of her earlier work with hints of weathered blues, plucked acoustic balladry and hearty R&B. “I wanted it to be a true representation of me and the things I like—there are a lot of aspects that are really true to me and who I am.”

As She Pleases plays as an embodiment of the teenage experience, from the pangs of adolescent attraction (“Teenager in Love,” inspired by 1950s artists like Dion and the Belmonts and Santo & Johnny) to being able to admit when a relationship has overstayed its welcome (“Fool”). For Beer, that meant mirroring the person she is on social media—she’s amassed 10.5 million Instagram subscribers and 2.6 million Twitter followers—in her music, and remaining as authentic as can be. For Beer, that began with the EP title, where she harnesses an ethos of self-empowerment in an effort to embolden her audience. “I wanted it to be As She Pleases, meaning you can do whatever you want when you put your mind to it,” she explains. “You don't have to be scared of anything or do anything you don't want to do.”

It also meant looking to her personal life for source material. “Tyler Durden,” a bare ballad where her fluttering vocals warm to an arpeggiating, plucked guitar, is inspired by her favorite movie Fight Club, its lyrics playing off of lines from the film, while the bopping “Home With You” rebuffs the advances of clueless guys when she’s out trying to have a good time. So far, a few of the EP’s songs have struck a chord: the electro-splotched “Dead” has racked up more than 41 million Spotify streams since release in August 2017 and got a boost with a remix from Cedric Gervais (Lana Del Rey’s “Summertime Sadness”), while “Say It to My Face,” produced by Grammy-nominated producer Fred Ball (Little Mix, Rihanna) sped to 1.5 million Spotify streams in its first week-and-a-half of release in Nov. 2017.

Releasing As She Pleases is the next logical step in Beer’s progression from YouTube singer to budding star. Growing up, music became an escape from the mundane of Long Island, where she realized she wanted to pursue her love of the art form when she was 10. By 12, she began posting to YouTube, and the following year, her soulful cover of Etta James’ “At Last” caught the attention of Justin Bieber, who tweeted out the clip on his Twitter page and helped sign her to Island Records. But after she was given opportunities like recording the theme song for Monster High and collaborating with Cody Simpson, she inevitably felt more comfortable on her own, and in the years that followed, she developed herself as an artist as authentically as possible.

Now, with As She Pleases, Beer is ready to show the world who she truly is, and hopefully inspire a few listeners along the way. “I wanted to be a voice and wanted to have people look up to me like, 'If Madison can do it, then I can do it,'” she says. “That's something I've always been really interested in communicating. I hope that's how it's translated and that people listen to it the way that I'm trying to portray it.”
Before he reached the age of 12, Chicago-bred singer/songwriter Aleem was penning songs that showed a melodic sensibility well beyond his years. By his late teens he’d refined his artistry and forged a sound all his own, building off the natural musicality he’d first displayed by arranging pots and pans in drum-kit formation and banging out songs at age 5. Now, on the heels of joining Fifth Harmony for an arena tour of Europe, Aleem is set to deliver a debut album brilliantly showcasing his acoustic-guitar-driven brand of R&B-tinged pop.

Made with producers Ryan Stewart (Carly Rae Jepsen, Owl City) and Jon Levine (Selena Gomez, Cher Lloyd), Open Letters finds Aleem taking a storytelling-like approach to his lyrics. The L.A.-based artist co-wrote all of the album’s ten tracks, working with such songwriters as Scott Harris (Shawn Mendes, Jessie J) and Anjulie (Lady Gaga, Nicki Minaj) and instilling each song with a daring vulnerability. “For this album I really wanted to let my guard down and let people into my life, and tell stories that everyone can relate to,” says Aleem. “That’s where the title comes from—each song is a letter intended for a specific person, but it’s up to the listeners as far as how they make the songs their own.”

Featured on Aleem’s forthcoming Open Letters EP, his debut single “Find Out” channels heavy beats, graceful piano work, and warm but powerful vocals into a sly twist on the classic break-up anthem—or, in Aleem’s words, “a fun song about getting cheated on.” “That song was inspired by me going away for some time and worrying that things would fall apart with the person I was involved with, and then coming home and having that fear become a reality,” Aleem explains. “But instead of focusing on being heartbroken, I wanted the song to have a playful vibe to it—like, ‘You didn’t fool me, I saw the writing on the wall.” On his synth-laced follow-up single “Inside Out,” meanwhile, a slow-building and cinematic arrangement amps up the song’s emotional intensity. “‘Inside Out’ came from being in a relationship where I felt like I was the one bringing everything down, but I couldn’t control it,” says Aleem. “It’s about battling your inner demons and questioning whether you’re in the right place to give love, but also recognizing that you really do need that love.”

Born and raised in the northern suburbs of Chicago, Aleem quickly graduated from the pots-and-pans setup of his early years and got his first drum kit at age 7. Within several years he’d picked up an acoustic guitar and taught himself to play, and soon joined in a series of bands. “I ended up taking the role of songwriter in every band, so I started playing attention to all these different artists and how they structured their songs,” says Aleem, who names Irish rock band The Script and singer/songwriters like Mat Kearney among his main inspirations.

After taking up singing in junior high, Aleem devoted much of high school to honing his songwriting, vocal performance, and skills as a guitarist. Although he headed off to college, he soon realized that music was his true calling and began recording demos in his basement, then sent those demos off to Craig Bauer (a Grammy Award-winning producer known for his work with Kanye West). “Craig saw my vision and took me under his wing to develop my sound, which helped me learn a lot about my craft and figure out who I was as an artist,” recalls Aleem, who was 19 at the time. Aleem then connected with a manager and headed to L.A. in 2014 to move forward with his music career. Along with setting to work on his debut, he began building a following by performing live, which included sharing the stage with American Idol standout Joshua Ledet at SXSW in 2014 and opening for pop duo Timeflies at Summerfest in Milwaukee the following year.

In both his live show and in his songwriting, Aleem creates an undeniably feel-good experience that’s charged with pure feeling. “Music is my escape and my way of taking everything going on in my head and then putting it back out into the world—that’s how I deal with everyday life,” he says. And in bringing so much bold honesty to the making of Open Letters, Aleem hopes to give listeners their own sense of connection and release. “There’s nothing better than when you’re listening to a song and you have this moment like, ‘I get it, I went through that too,’” he says. “That’s why it’s so important for me to be completely genuine and real in my songs: I want the people listening to feel understood.”

Management is provided by Kevin Sucher with Sucher Entertainment.
Venue Information:
Union Stage
740 Water Street SW
Washington, DC, 20024