Believe Me Now?

Believe Me Now?

By her own count, Becky Hill’s debut album, 2021’s Only Honest on the Weekend, was “nine years in the making.” However, this follow-up, arriving in May 2024, came together in just nine months. “I grew a little musical baby,” Hill tells Apple Music’s Rebecca Judd. Then again, plenty has changed since Hill released Only Honest on the Weekend. The Worcestershire-born artist won two BRIT Awards for Best Dance Act—in 2022 and 2023—and booked her first arena tour for October 2024. This album’s defiant title is a lyric from its hard-hitting opening track “True Colours,” on which Hill opens up, with help from fellow British singer-songwriter Self Esteem, about her harrowing experience of sexual assault. “If I’d written this song any earlier, it would’ve been too difficult,” she says. At the same time, naming the album Believe Me Now? is Hill’s retort to naysayers and negative voices generally. “I think there was a lot of disbelief in terms of whether or not I’d make it,” she says. “That’s from myself and from people in the industry. I think it’s amazing that I’m doing a second album now and I have no intention of stopping or slowing down.” Indeed, working with songwriters and producers including Mark Ralph (Years & Years, Clean Bandit), PARISI (Ed Sheeran, Fred again..), and her close friend MNEK (Beyoncé, Little Mix), Hill has doubled down on her catchy, club-ready sound. Believe Me Now? draws from trance, Eurodance, drum ’n’ bass, house, and electronica to deliver anthems primed for raves and the radio alike. “This time around, I wanted to do something that was way more deep-rooted in dance music,” she says. “I wanted to be focused more on the music that I go and listen to in the clubs myself.” Here, Hill talks us through some of her favorite tracks on Believe Me Now?. “True Colours” (with Self Esteem) “This whole song is about sexual assault. When I was going through that at 21, Uzo [Emenike, aka MNEK] was the person that I would go to. I remember crying in his studio about it—he was there by my side throughout the whole thing. He knew I wanted to write a song about it, but I had no idea what I wanted it to be. [Singer-songwriter] Lauren Aquilina has also had her own [negative] experiences in the music industry and been very vocal about it. So when we were writing this song, I had two people: one that knew me very well and one that knew the situation very well. I said, ‘Guys, I don’t want it to be sad. I don’t want it to be a ballad. I want it to be uplifting and to feel powerful.’ And they got the brief instantly. It was the label’s decision to put Self Esteem on [the track] and I loved the idea straight away. She’s actually been helping me quite a lot through talking about sexual assault. I’ve never done it before, and I’ve wanted to do it [now] because I guess I’m the most healed I’ve ever been. I think when you’re able to talk about something on this public level, any shame or guilt, it’s just completely taken away, and you can show people the freedom in that. The first week of it all, when we were talking about ‘True Colours,’ I said to Self Esteem, ‘God, is it normal to feel like a shame hangover?’ She was like, ‘Oh, yeah—it’s draining and exhausting.’ It’s been really powerful having somebody like her on the record—somebody who talks about sexual harassment and sexual assault a lot in her music—and [for her] to be able to guide me through it. I adore Self Esteem and I’m so proud that she’s on this record.” “Darkest Hour” “I wrote this song with [DJ/producer] Franky Wah, MNEK, and [producer] Mark Ralph. I’d been such a massive fan of Franky for ages, but there’s always a sense of careful steps when you approach underground DJs and producers because you’re always worried how they [might] feel about working with somebody like me. But Franky was the biggest gentleman and was like, ‘I absolutely want to work on your album.’ I’d been working with Pete Tong at the time, doing his Ibiza Classics [live] show. I really wanted to merge the orchestral side of things with dance music like Pete had been doing. So we all started writing ‘Darkest Hour’ and [out came] these classic MNEK melodies. When we came to the end of that session, I was like, ‘This is where I want to go [with the album].’” “Outside of Love” “I was at a writing camp where I’d start each morning off by telling [my collaborators], ‘I want you to write songs in this vein. I’m going to come around to every room and help you write sections of the record.’ [At first] I was like, ‘I’m not sure what the concepts are, but I’m really in love and everything is settled and great.’ But by Wednesday, everything had gone to shit. For some reason, my partner wasn’t speaking to me and completely blocked me out. He was really stressed with work—he’s a festival booker [and] this was after COVID when all the festivals had gone downhill. I felt like I was totally on the outside of it all with no explanation. I went in with [Italian dance duo] PARISI. Mike Kintish, who I wrote ‘I Could Get Used to This’ with, and Charlotte Haining, who I wrote ‘My Heart Goes (La Di Da)’ with, were also in the room. I couldn’t understand what I was going through and I was nearly in tears. I was like, ‘I’ve got this idea. It’s called “Outside of Love” and that’s all I’ve got. Guys, this is too painful for me.’ I left the room, came back in [and] they’d written the verse, the pre-chorus and a bit of the chorus. It just told the whole story from start to finish. I sat with them [and] wrote the rest of the chorus and the second verse. It was a lovely session and I felt very held by those people.” “Multiply” “We wrote this in Ibiza—it was midweek, but we did all go to Pikes [nightclub] at the end of [the session], and that was quite messy! It was me, Neave Applebaum—an amazing producer who is behind so many records—plus [songwriters] Charlotte Haining, Emily Makis, and Kieron McIntosh. Charlotte came up with the chorus and I was like, ‘I’m so here for this,’ and then we wrote the whole thing together. Neave gave it that driving bassline as well.” “Swim” “I had the title and the lyric ‘You used to answer straight away/Now you just let it ring.’ Then, I went in [the studio] with Rob Harvey, who you’ll definitely know from co-writing hits like ‘Head and Heart’ by Joel Corry and MNEK. When we started working together, I thought he was going to be this big-shot writer who was a bit arrogant. But he was just the absolute complete opposite and we fell in love with each other a bit—musically, it makes so much sense with me and him. I also wrote this song with [UK duo] Maur, who are incredible producers.” “Linger” “Again, this is a song from a writing camp in Ibiza. I had ‘let love linger’ written down and I said to Charlotte Haining and Mark Ralph, ‘I want it to feel choppy [and] cut up.’ Charlotte came up with the melody and when I walked back in, I was like, ‘Yeah, this is sick, but it needs more.’ But we never actually got around to doing more to this record. My A&R guy Richard O’Donovan was like, ‘I love it as an instrumental. Let’s get Mark to make it into a full trance record and leave it as that.’ So if you like this one, send all your thanks to Richard!” “One Track Mind” (with RILEASA) “I met RILEASA at a launch party for a new ice cream. There were all these drag queens performing on podiums and, as I finished my ice cream, out came this beautiful, Rihanna-look-alike queen called RILEASA. She was just fabulous and I was taken with her. My partner manages an artist called Charlie Boon and said, ‘I need some spoken word stuff for Charlie’s record.’ So I was like, ‘This might be a stab in the dark, but I just met a drag queen with a really beautiful island accent.’ We sent her the track and what came back was a record called ‘We Back’ by Charlie Boon and RILEASA [as Rileasa Slaves]. Now, me and my partner are developing RILEASA. I thought ‘One Track Mind’ was perfect for her, so watch out for her spoken-word part in the middle of the song. She absolutely killed it!”

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