Shure Logo.png

Signal Path Podcast: BAYBE

Listen to the latest SIGNAL PATH podcast with BAYBE, a Nashville-based musician melding metal, hip-hop, pop and a plethora of other influences as part of her carefully crafted artistic vision.
March, 03 2024 |
Baybe with a guitar

Hear the stories behind the sounds: Signal Path by Shure meets sonic innovators to explore how they're shaping the world of audio.

Episode 068: BAYBE

In this episode of Signal Path, Marc Young speaks with BAYBE, a musician poised for breakout success with her unique brand of artistry. Marc and BAYBE chatted at the Shure booth of this year’s NAMM music industry trade show in Anaheim, California. They discussed her wide-ranging musical influences, her meticulous attention to her spooky aesthetic, and why Nashville isn’t just for country music anymore.

This episode was recorded on the very noisy NAMM floor with the SM7B, showing once again why it’s the podcaster’s microphone of choice.

Marc Young: Hi, BAYBE, thanks so much for taking the time to speak with me here today at NAMM. I think you just mentioned this is your second time being here, is that right?

BAYBE: The first time was back in 2019, I think. Yeah. Right before COVID. This has like six times the amount of people and products. It's awesome. And then I went to a summer NAMM in Nashville like two years ago, right after COVID. And it just also does not compare.

You mentioned Nashville, that's where you're from? Or that's where you're based?

I'm from Miami, South Florida.

That's quite an adjustment.

I moved to Nashville in 2019.

When people hear Nashville, obviously they think country, but that's not what you're about at all, right?

No not even a little bit, no.

Not a little bit. You have a very distinct style both musically and also visually your whole artistic concept. How do you describe what you do?

To a surface conversation, just someone really quickly. What genre do you, I say metal or hip-hop, or I say both. That's pretty all inclusive. I like to branch out into other things and incorporate other styles like, just rap and some folk elements and songwriting influences. But I, I generally stay in the metal-rock realm.

You said metal and hip-hop and when I was looking at some of your stuff, that obviously was apparent to me, but there was a whole lot more there going on as well, and it's this huge spectrum of influences and yet it comes together cohesively, which I thought was quite impressive. How does that happen? Is that a lot of work to bring? in those really diverse influences, or is it because this is who you are?

I would say the opposite. I think, if I tried, then it would start falling into a certain lane and boxing me in, but from , I would say three years ago, I just stopped trying to brand myself, which is funny, because now I feel like I have actually found my specific brand that I love, but, the past couple of years, I've just been like, free for all, every session I do, I just, whatever comes naturally, if I have a favorite song that week that has certain sonic elements that I've never used before, I'll be like, let's just test that out and see how it, and I, I think it always ends up sounding like me, just because I have a very specific taste of what I like and what I dislike, so everything kind of all just works together in the end.

Can you maybe tell us a little bit about the name, BAYBE, I heard that there's a bit of a cool backstory to that as well.

Yeah, there are a couple of meanings behind that. The main one is that when I was younger, I did the voices for children's dolls. 

How do you get into that?

It's a funny story, I'll try to make it short. My parents, my father's an audio engineer and my mother's a voiceover artist. So they were actually in charge of scouting a young girl to do children's dolls. And they wanted someone about 7 or 8 and I was 3 at the time. And they pitched me and the people were like, no she's way too young, like don't even send a sample. And my father decided to send it anyway, had me sing like Mary Had a Little Lamb. And then they were like, okay, we were wrong.

I'm sure it helps when your mom's a professional voiceover artist and those kind of things so, you might be a three year old but you're a three year old with professionals behind you.

Yes, like three year old being told that I'm flat or sharp. Yeah, to enunciate more, but I think the appeal for this certain, doll brand was that it, it just sounded very authentic and it's, yeah, they were even, the dolls themselves were modeled to look like me.

Oh, wow.

After they started manufacturing with my voice in it.

Well, that really kind of fits with my next question. Going into your image because, there's obviously a lot of artistry that goes into your music. That's clear. But to get to that level of complexity or thought behind your image it's a heck of a lot of work and artistry that also goes into that.

Is that just that's something you're interested in? I saw a video recently with the guitarist from Limp Bizkit Wes Borland and he was talking about how he considers himself not just a guitarist or a musician but also a visual artist, and so he would make these really elaborate stage costumes because he's interested in it, and it's an artistic expression of what he does, and of course the guy he's on stage with, Fred Durst, he just turns his baseball cap back that's his uniform, so with everything that you do around BAYBE and the whole concept behind it, where does it come from? How much work is it? Is it just who you are? 

I don't call it work because I have no choice, I have to do all of it. I, it's against my will basically because I'm a control freak and I have an opinion and an idea for every single thing. I've never written a song that I didn't have a full music video treatment for within the same week I wrote it.

I have like so many, which is a hindrance to me at some points, you know. I'm just, there are too many thoughts, too many concepts, too many things on my plate. But, um, I think that's the fun of being me. An artist. If, if I were just a singer, I would go crazy. I don't know. I have to, it's within me. I have to do all of the things: production, visual music, videos, stage, everything.

Well, it really shows, I mean, down from, I think you even have some cannibal related merch going on there, you have all kinds of stuff. How do you describe it? I mean, is it really, you said you have that concept for each song. Is there, a common theme that goes through it, or is it really as eclectic as you say your music is, your musical taste?

I think a main theme that I like to keep going is that I like to push boundaries and cross some lines here and there. I think that if I didn't do that, I'd be incredibly bored just writing. To be honest, I feel like there has to be an element of, doing something against the grain, going against the grain in a bit. 

I don't really picture each song as how to do that and how to make it a gimmick and how to, you know what I'm saying? It just kind of ends up being that way because I like to cross those lines. 

And talking about production, I think I saw in some of your videos you were playing guitar. Are you a multi-instrumentalist? Because you have this holistic vision of each song, do you play it all on piano? Do you start on guitar? What, what works? How do you go about it?

I think every song is different, but my favorite way, for the past couple of years to work is with one other producer in the room. So we kind of co-produce and, my main instrument is piano, but I make metal. So that's not necessarily something I can write originally on piano, but it is something that I believe if a song can't translate to piano, then it's not a well written song.

So I try to make that happen in every session while I'm writing, I go back and transcribe it on piano and make sure, is this a quality, you know, progression or whatever the case. It's not just kind of mundane and doesn't translate on acoustic guitar or piano if it can't stand its ground on those instruments.

But yeah, in a session I play guitar, and then I backseat produce, and have my laptop out the whole time and I'm sampling, but I like to start with production that inspires me, just something really simple, and then as we go along I just start adding instruments.

Listen to the full interview with BAYBE and subscribe to Signal Path with the podcast provider of your choice below.

Check out BAYBE's website here.

Marc Young
With a background in journalism, Marc is an editor for Shure covering anything and everything that has to do with sound. He tries to compensate for his mediocre guitar-playing skills with his writing. He is based in Portland, Oregon.