SOPHIE BEEM IN NEW YORK, APRIL 2016. STYLING: CLARE BYRNE. JACKET: TOPSHOP. SHIRT: AREA. GLASSES: MYKITA. HAIR: TAKASHI YUSA. MAKEUP: KANAKO TAKASE FOR DIORSKIN STAR/TIM HOWARD MANAGEMENT. MANICURE: RICA ROMAIN/LMC WORLDWIDE.
“Teenage dream, asleep forever,” go the lyrics to Sophie Beem’s debut single, “Skyline.” The line seems to define the 17-year-old’s fantastical reality. Beem has already released an EP-a self-titled collection of confident pop songs-toured North America as the opener for pop singer-songwriter Charlie Puth, and signed with Beyoncé’s management company, Parkwood Entertainment. “I’m excited,” she says. “I want to connect with people through my music. I want to make people feel things they might not want to feel.”
At 13, Beem appeared on The X Factor, where judge Demi Lovato’s immediate verdict was a resounding “duh.” Less than a year later, while Beem was doing homework at home in New York City, where she lives with her mother on the Upper East Side, a manager at Parkwood called to request a performance at the office. Beyoncé wasn’t there, but Beem put together a package of publicity material with a handwritten letter for her. (They later met backstage at Beyoncé’s On the Run tour.) “She’s very involved,” says Beem of Bey. “She takes the time to ask what I want. Whenever I’m in a meeting, she’ll ask what I want to do and what music video treatments I like. She’s all about development of the artist and being true to who you are.”
Beem’s EP, released in March, contains five songs, all of which were written in her hometown. “New York is in my music,” she says. “It’s where I grew up, and it’s the place I want to stay.” “Skyline” is about how the city can make those in it feel limitless. “You could have everything in the world but still not settle. There’s always a higher place you can go to,” she says. “Sleepless/City Kid” is about “acting like you’re 21 when you’re actually 16,” a nod to the independence she gained as a teenager running wild in Manhattan.
This teenage dreamer’s next design: releasing the full-length album she’s working on right now and headlining a tour of her own-with a stop at Madison Square Garden, of course.