How music helped this artist overcome her eating disorder
20 million girls in the United States will suffer from an eating disorder at some point in their life and Becca Gastfriend was one of them—until she discovered the power of music. Known as beccs, the singer who was recently named Nylon Magazine's newest "cool girl", just released her debut EP Unfound Beauty. The 5-song album features hauntingly good songs about finding yourself and overcoming personal struggles. And beccs' voice? Think Amy Winehouse meets Fiona Apple.
We were lucky enough to chat with beccs to get not only the inside scoop on her album, but also score some inspring advice about how to feel beautiful and love your bod. Check it out below:
Girls' Life: What inspired you to record your album?
Becca Gastfriend: I've been sitting with these songs for several years and it got to the point where I was ready to share them and felt like "Yes, I'm proud of these". I think the message in them is really important and relevant to a lot of other people and I just felt very ready, almost overdue, to share them.
GL: Which song is your favorite?
BG: The title track "Unfound Beauty" is definitely my favorite because it's a song to myself. I wrote it when I was in Spain but then it actually took me a couple years to understand what the song really meant. It's about a lot of things: mistaking attention as love, relying on guys to make you feel worthy, wasting time on people who don't see who you really are. The song is a young girl on the brink of discovering what it means to be beautiful.
GL: How did you get into songwriting originally?
BG: I grew up in a musical family, played the classical cello since the age of 4 and was always singing in musicals and jazz bands. But I began songwriting in middle school and then more seriously at the start of high school. I remember the day my parents got us a baby grand in our living room (right when my eating disorder was getting worse). I would get lost on the piano for hours just improvising. It kind of became the only thing that would save me from my eating disorder urges and connect me to how I was feeling. It was a really necessary outlet at the time.
GL: How did music help your recovery?
BG: What's been really important for me in recovery is giving myself permission to take up space, whether it's with my feelings or my body. And music really helped me find my voice to do that. I learned how to communicate my needs and open up about the real issues that were bothering me. As a young girl who was constantly told "you should be small" and "you should please people", I didn't have the tools to get in touch with some of my deeper feelings and music was just so freeing.
GL: What advice do you have for other girls struggling with an eating disorder or bad body image?
BG: Realize that no one should have power over you. I used to constantly be afraid of what others would think of me and it takes a long time to unlearn but start by saying to yourself, "I don't need to answer to anyone. I don't need to please anyone but myself". Then, learn to feed yourself with nourishing, fun things that really make you feel whole and happy. Whether it's people or books or movies or music or food. Prioritize your needs before worrying about what you think other people want from you. Put yourself, and your health and happiness, first.
And most of all, never feel ashamed of your struggles or your emotions. Trust that once you learn to accept them, they can become strength and something quite beautiful. Just like you.
GL: What's next for you in terms of music and your career?
BG: I'm kind of figuring that out now. I'm playing a lot of more intimate shows but the plan is to hit the ground running soon with touring and gigging. There are also a couple of causes I'm really passionate about like sexual assault and eating disorders so I'm going to try to organize some events around them. And of course making a new video soon and recording my new single "Daughters".
Has music ever helped you through a hard time? Sound off in the comments below!
Photo credit: Top photo: Bartosz Maciejewski; Bottom photo: Louise Palmberg.