Miss Bee is fast becoming the vox du jour to turn to when requiring a sprinkling of vocal stardust on a cool house track. Whether adding blissed-out sunshine vibes to Rampi’s deep disco-funker ‘Feel It Burn’, sultry sauce to ‘Like A Machine’ by Emperor Machine or a straighter vocal performance for Mario Basanov’s ‘Just Think About’, Miss Bee has been busy these past 18 months or so.
“I’ve only really been singing seriously for a year and a bit,” Miss Bee admits. “When I say seriously, I mean with a motivation instead of a laissez faire attitude. It’s something I feel compelled to do now, rather than just feeling like I want to do it.”
One major life-changing event led to her increased motivation in recent times. “I was told just over a year ago that I had a growth on my throat,” she tells DJ Mag. “My thyroid gland was basically wrapped around my vocal chord, and they said I might not be able to sing again. I had an operation and it was all completely fine, but it feels like a bit of a miracle that it didn’t damage any of my vocal chords. Since then, it’s been a bit of a rocket up my arse.”
If the op motivated her, it also provided a catalyst for a lot of increased activity. She took her name from the time she was working with Rekids mainstay Toby Tobias, and a label wanted to release one of his tracks that she sang on. And then Andy Meecham from Chicken Lips got in touch about her doing some stuff on the Emperor Machine album.
“He sent something across and I did it almost immediately, so he sent something else and I did that as well, and after a few months of backwards and forwards he asked if I wanted to be involved in the next Emperor Machine album,” Miss Bee outlines. “I’ve been a massive admirer of his for years, so it was a dream come true.”
She went to his studio on a Staffordshire llama farm, and the electro-chemical Emperor Machine collaborations commenced. “We went through lots of ideas he had, and if there was a little spark I’d jump up to the microphone,” she says. “It happened really naturally.” Previously, Miss Bee had pretty much put her own words to someone else’s track, rather than being more collaborative.
“I don’t really like singing other people’s words,” she says. “I’m quite precious about words. For the words for Emperor Machine, I did lots of meditation and loads of reading, and it all kind of splurged out of all that. The words are really important for me. I know that in lots of dance music, words aren’t really important – but to me they are.”
Miss Bee says she likes to write and sing about how the brain works, and different states of mind like excitement and paranoia and possession. “With Andy, he was like ‘Go as dark as you possibly can’, and that was really fun,” she says. “I didn’t know I had that in me.”
She explains that she unlocked her creativity through newfound meditation, having previously “felt exhausted with my own words”. Now I’ve got a bottomless pit of ideas that keeps welling up, which is really nice. I dream a lot of ideas, sometimes I just wake up at 5am, and it feels automatic when I write it down as soon as I wake up – like I can’t stop.”
She’s also worked with Huxley & Daniel Solar, Monsoon Season, Jack Fell Down from Southern Fried, Jadoo, a/jus/ted, Social Disco Club, and others that she can’t talk about yet, and says doing a solo album would be her ultimate aim. She does production herself too, and can play bass, guitar and keyboards, although has concentrated on singing and songwriting in recent times.
“Who else would I most like to work with? My dream collaborations would be Matthew Dear or Andy Weatherall,” she says. “Why those two? Because I get where they’re coming from. With nearly everything I do, I get an automatic response – I just think, with those two, I might be able to do something that suits their production.”