Be The Bear
Singer/songwriter/producer Christina Wehage aka Be The Bear released her new single “Mermaid” on May 31st.
With the help of Unne Liljeblad and Mattias Bolin, the Swedish artist designed a pop-electro love song dedicated to someone who was in a psychiatric hospital.
“The whole experience was terrifying, I just felt so helpless and disconnected. “Mermaid” is my declaration of love,” says Be The Bear.
With this latest single, Be The Bear addresses a powerful message for anyone going through mental health issues: “You’re not alone”.
Be The Bear recently teamed up with Chicago-based producer GOLDHOUSE for an official remix of the new single, now available.
You can now stream “Mermaid” on major digital platforms.
Introduce yourself - where are you from?
Hey Threaders, my name is Christina Wehage, artist name Be The Bear. I’m based in Gothenburg, Sweden, where I have my studio and label.
What was your childhood like? Any favorite memories?
One of my favorite childhood memories is taking the school boat from my house out on an island on the west coast of Sweden. The old man steering the boat loved showing us kids how to navigate and told us all about the sea. Being outdoors in nature has always been where I really feel like myself. As soon as I’m outside on my own I start singing, ideas just flow out into the open. I know a lot of my favorite musicians have said that they need to be alone and outdoors to really find flow and inspiration. I fully agree with that.
If you had to say something to your younger self, what would you say?
Stop worrying. Trust yourself. Follow your passion. Never compromise about your art. Laugh as often as possible. Be brave. Go on adventures. Don’t wait.
How would you describe yourself today?
I’m a very driven and passionate person. I love to learn, I’m always teaching myself new things, whether it’s how to edit a music video or learning a new language. My art is my life, and I enjoy being involved in every aspect of creating it.
What lead you to the musical path?
Everything. It feels like it was always supposed to be. I’ve always been singing - I never thought I had any particular talent, that wasn’t really important, it was just my way of expressing myself fully. I have been improvising vocally since as early as I can remember. Music has always been my greatest love. I was kind of the introverted music freak in our house, and in school - obsessing over bands and going for long walks on my own rather than being social. It was only later, at uni that I met other musicians, writers and artists and started to understand I wasn’t alone in how I see the world and what’s important to me. I’ve been lucky to have the opportunity to build on my passion, in my own way, and make it my life.
When did you start writing songs?
Probably around ten, improvising on a tape recorder I borrowed from school, but I only started writing finished songs when I got my first guitar on my 14th birthday. I cried so hard. I think they probably knew before I did that it was what I was meant to do.
Do you remember a specific moment in your life where music made a huge difference?
Writing songs has always been my biggest comfort and a way for me to deal with what’s happening in my life. Whether it’s moving on from a broken relationship, healing from losing someone you love or telling someone in the biggest way you can that you love them. Music is always part of the most important moments of my life. It’s why I write, it’s what I write about.
What gave you the confidence to be an artist and release your original music?
I don’t really know. I’ve always had a kind of playfully subversive attitude to what’s supposed to be impossible. I love challenging norms and creating my own journey. If I didn’t love my songs, I wouldn’t release them. I release them for me, but they’re more important and more precious to me than anything else, so I have to give them a chance to be heard.
How would you define Be The Bear, the artist?
Ever changing, like we all are. I give myself full freedom to play with genres and sounds in a way that isn’t always popular. It inspires me to think that I can do whatever I feel like, always go where my heart is most in it.
"Mermaid" is your new single. What's the story behind this song?
It’s a love song I wrote when someone I love was in a psychiatric hospital. The whole experience was terrifying, I just felt so helpless and disconnected. Writing “Mermaid”, working on it mostly at night when I was having problems sleeping because I was worried, was my way of being there, saying “you’re not alone”. My declaration of love.
Could you describe us the songwriting/production process?
I wrote it on my acoustic guitar in the middle of the night when my friend was in hospital. It all kind of came pouring out in one go. I didn’t start working on it in the studio until much later. Since it’s my studio, I’m free to work whenever and however long I want. It took a while for this one to feel right. My close friend and colleague Unne Liljeblad, who’s an awesome mix-engineer and my guitarist at the time, Mattias Bolin were part of the production process - we even got Claes Björklund of iamamiwhoami to find some cool synth sounds. So it’s a mix of great minds really.
What did you feel when writing this song?
I remember feeling exhausted, sad, scared and full of love. Trying to let the love take the spotlight. And afterwards, I felt better.
When did you realize you had to release this song as a single?
It just happened that way, since I’m just starting out, but even if I’d released it as part of me debut album I would still use it as a single. I think it represents me well, I meant every word and it’s catchy.
What is your goal for this new song?
Every artist wants their babies to do well. I hope it’s going to get a proper chance to be heard, I would be eager to hear what people think. It’s been a long time coming and I really love this one. Hopefully others will too. That’s the best goal I can think of.
What message would you give to anyone suffering from any mental health issues?
Hopefully, the song says it on its own. You’re not alone. Reach out and let people know if you’re struggling, never be afraid to ask for help.
Why do you make art?
It’s a part of who I am, my daily routine. It happens organically- when I’m outside on adventures, in a bus someplace new, I just start writing or singing. It’s my way of processing what I’m experiencing. My legacy.
What keeps you motivated?
My family and my friends. New music. Playing live. Getting messages from people from the other side of the world who heard my song on the radio, and were moved enough to go and tell me so.
What makes you happy?
Traveling, exploring new places, reading, writing, drawing. I’m the most happy when I’m outdoors, with my loved ones or when I’m creating.
In your opinion, what would make the world a better place?
At the moment my main concern is with climate change and the growing far right movements internationally. I think it’s time we all start taking responsibility for the damage we’re causing the planet, and the millions of beautiful creatures we share it with. I would love to see more openness, equality and love going around.
What are the biggest lessons you have learnt as an artist?
Not to compromise, and that if you can’t find someone to help you, do it yourself. I’m trying to remind myself daily that I’m doing this for me, that it’s ok if the new single isn’t on New Music Friday in the US, because it’s a moonshot kind of business - just try and enjoy the ride.
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