Becky Hill: “I was sick of feeling really nervous, anxious and apologetic about myself all the time”

With two Brit Awards to her name, endless commercial success and a new album on the way, Becky Hill is ready to embark on the next stage of her musical journey.
  • Writer and PhotographerJordan Rossi
  • Banner Image Styling CreditBecky wears bralet and jacket by Dreaming Eli and earrings and rings by Giovanni Raspini

In a music landscape often dominated by fleeting trends, Becky Hill stands out as a beacon of authenticity. Known for her infectious dance tracks and dominant vocal performances, Hill has carved a unique niche in the industry. Twice a Brit Award winner, Hill’s journey has been marked by both soaring highs and challenging lows, from being dropped by her first record label to chart-topping success (In 2021, the musician was the third-most streamed British female solo artist behind Adele and Dua Lipa). 

Now, as the singer steps into her thirties, Hill reflects on her growth and the evolution of both her music, taking the opportunity to step into new sonic territory. You might be used to Hill’s summery, infectious anthems, but her latest album marks a significant departure from those earlier bubblegum-infused dance tracks. Instead, Hill delves deeper into the realms of trance, techno, and house music, creating a sound that is both mature and resonant. The star may have soundtracked plenty of Britons most memorable nights out, and she’ll continue to do just that, but this time with her personal experiences on full display unapologetically. 

Ahead of the release of her latest album, Believe Me Now?, Hill sits down with photographer and director Jordan Rossi, with whom she previously collaborated on the music video for her hit single ‘Last Time’. Here, Hill opens up about the personal transformations that have influenced her music, from overcoming anxiety and self-doubt to embracing her neurodiversity, while sharing her journey of self-discovery. 

Becky wears dress by Salma Tahir and earrings by Maison Lumiere

Jordan Rossi: Let’s talk about the new album, Believe Me Now?. It’s got a dark undertone — was that the direction? 

Becky Hill: I was on the verge of being too bubblegum. Our plan was to be oversaturated on radio and I wanted to be everywhere. I needed to get awareness because people knew the songs, but they didn’t know my name. ‘Remember’ [Hill’s 2021 song with David Guetta] definitely did that. But with this second album, I wanted to create something that was more deep-rooted in dance music, and I pulled influences from trance, techno and house music. I wanted it to be a little bit darker. I’m glad that you got that from listening to it, because I wanted to create something that felt more mature. I just turned 30, and I wanted to put out something that was in line with where I am, and where my music taste is.

Becky wears dress by Salma Tahir and earrings by Maison Lumiere

JR: It feels like an evolution, but it’s still got hints of vintage Becky Hill. How do you maintain authenticity while elevating your sound?

BH: Because I can’t write anything other than pop songs [laughs]. I wanted to keep the traditional songwriting that I’ve always done and team it with more deep-rooted dance production. I’m always going to be the story writer when it comes to songs, and there was stuff I wanted to talk about now I’m a bit older. I wanted to put all these ideas into music, but in a way that felt more comfortable within the dance space. I wanted to bridge the gap between the commercial space and underground dance music. Tracks like ‘Swim’ and ‘One Track Mind’ have that more underground vibe. Rather than a bunch of songs we liked that have been whacked onto an album, I wanted there to be a thread, and I wanted it to feel considered.

Becky wears dress by Beril Oktem, rings by Maison Lumiere and earrings by Vintage Yves Saint Laurent at 4Element

JR: Can you talk a bit about how you changed personally and professionally as you entered your thirties? 

BH: I was sick of feeling really nervous, anxious and apologetic about myself all the time. And I realised that it was all within me and I didn’t necessarily need to carry that anymore. The past few months have been about shedding uncertainty and stepping into something that feels a lot more considered. I wanted to do that with the styling, the visuals, the live show, but within myself personally as well. 

I was dropped from my first record deal. I set up my own label and I was constantly trying to prove myself my worth within the music industry when releasing records. I’d gone through a whole load of turbulent shit, like, my twenties weren’t really what I planned them to be. I guess I’d fantasised about having lots of nights out with girlfriends and experimenting – and it just wasn’t available for me. I really had to come to terms with the fact that that ideology is false anyway. But I just had to grieve the fact that I never got that opportunity. Sexual assault when I was 21 took that away from me – and then I became really intimidated by men. I was then really insular after being burned by the record deal and I just didn’t want to know any other majors. I shut the world out. I think it’s been the joy of finding myself again throughout all of that and learning who I am and what I ultimately want.

Becky wears dress by Salma Tahir and earrings by Maison Lumiere

JR: One of the things that I’ve always loved about working with you is that you know what you want creatively. Have you noticed any ways that you artistically behave differently?

BH: One thing about me is that I struggle to filter what’s going on in my head and what’s coming out my mouth. I got an ADHD diagnosis last year, and I also suspect that I’m probably on the autistic scale. My Mum’s always thought so, and I think that neurodiversity has been really challenging because I’m a creature of routine. If plans change, it spins me out. When I’m dealing with people, I can’t look them in the eyes. I don’t understand social situations very well. Since the diagnosis last year, I was like, “Okay, let’s be a bit more compassionate to myself”. I better stop beating myself up about these attributes and let’s start working with them.

I’ve always hated wishy-washy artists who have creative decisions made for them. When I first got dropped from Parlophone, my manager came to me and said, “Don’t worry, I’m not going to leave you because you’ve been dropped”. And at that moment I thought, if everybody else leaves, I’m the only one on this ship – I need to be the captain of it. And I need to make sure that nothing gets taken out of my hands and it’s a considered decision across the board. But one thing I’m still learning is how to portray that in a way that doesn’t upset people. I still get it wrong every now and then.

Becky wears jacket by KWK by KAYKWOK

JR: Tell me about the track ‘True Colours’, with Self Esteem on the album. How did that come about?

BH: It’s a clinical story unfortunately but it doesn’t take away the fact that I am a massive fan of Self Esteem. I love her as a person. She’s on the same label as me and it was as clinical as the label saying, “We think Self Esteem would be great on this,” and me going, “I think that’s a fucking amazing idea.” I don’t do that very often with the label [laughs]. But I was over the moon that she wanted to be on ‘True Colours’ in particular because of what I write about and what it stands for and the kind of record that it is. It’s been really joyous working with her. 

And when I walked into the whole “I’m going to start talking about sexual assault” and my experience with it. I walked in thinking I’m ready to remove all of the shame about the situation because I’m going to talk about it on a public level and I want to show people that there is no shame in having that happen to you because it’s not your fault. And actually, to be with somebody [like Self Esteem] who’s well versed in speaking about sexual harassment and sexual assault in her music and in interviews, it’s been incredibly helpful to have her next to me, guiding me through the process.

Becky wears dress by Salma Tahir and earrings by Maison Lumiere

JR: You’ve also got your tour coming up later this year. For those who haven’t been, what’s a Becky Hill show like? What is the Becky Hill experience?

BH: Well firstly, I’ve prided myself on being able to sing as well live as I do on the record. Vocally I try to deliver an experience that feels as close, if not better than the studio recorded version, which I worked really hard on. I have now developed my live show so now there’s live players, because one thing that I noticed when doing it on a track basis is the sounds that are made on a laptop in someone’s bedroom don’t translate as well on a live festival stage. When I’ve tried to recreate that sound with live instruments, it also doesn’t translate because you need some production around it. What I’m trying to do now is create a hybrid of track and live instrumentalists to bring that live dance world together – to bring an experience that feels sort of like a DJ set but with a singer-songwriter fronting it.

JR: Finally, what can we expect from Becky Hill in 2024? 

BH: I’ve got my UK arena tour coming up which is almost sold out, and is my first ever UK arena tour. I’m going to America for a bit, and It’s really nice to be welcomed by the States. I’ve just done a European tour as well and we’ve got some festivals this year. I’m headlining Parklife… they’ve always been so good to me and booked me. They used to put me on the dance tent and I remember the year that they put me on the main stage and now I’m actually headlining the Saturday night. So, it’s a really big deal for me. Then I’m going to go into writing for album three in September!

  • Fashion Stylist/EditorTaylor Bassett
  • Makeup Artist Wendy Turner
  • Hair Stylist Laura Chadwick
  • Production CoordinatorAbby Rothwell
  • Photographic AssistantsHarrison Phillips, Marcus Lister
  • Fashion Assistant Halley Bayly
  • Fashion InternKiara Morris