Skip to content

“Who is Baby Queen? Fuck, that is the question though isn’t it,” Bella Latham, aka Baby Queen, echos over Zoom. It’s early morning in North London and Latham is having an off day. It’s the eve of her tour, a small stint of UK-only dates, and the singer reveals she has blown out her vocals. “I’ve been in rehearsals all week and recently given up smoking, so it’s not a good combination,” she laughs. Recovering at home, the singer seems unencumbered by her upcoming career-defining commitments: a pending debut album, touring with pop sensation Olivia Rodrigo, and a confirmed appearance on The Great Escape’s first-ever LGBTQ+ stage. Even so, on-screen, Latham is readily present as she leans forward, sporting a crocheted chequered pink and black bucket hat and matching acid washed tee, to playfully jibe at her growing to-do list — “I’m a bit screwed until literally November.”

Music, for Latham, has always been the end game. From jotting down lyrics during her shifts at Rough Trade East to fantasising about a Hollywood label deal, the South-African born artist has always been determined to make it big. “I was just really obsessive with it. It was a cathartic way of consoling myself if I didn’t like the people I was getting on with or if they were being mean to me. The dream was my best mate. I used to make music in school and I’ve been trying to do this since I was 12,” explains Latham, who had longed to escape her hometown. So, in 2020, when Latham signed to Polydor Records over lockdown, the 24-year-old became a step closer to having her vision realised. Shortly after signing the dotted line, the singer-songwriter released an eccentric sophistipop EP, Medicine, that marked Latham (and Baby Queen) as names to watch. 

The success of the star’s up-close and confessional music has pinned Latham as a voice for the underdog generation. Debuting as a free-wheeling anti-pop artist, the singer has transformed into a universal mouthpiece vocalising Gen Z’s fraught relationship with online beauty standards, drug addiction and self-worth. So far, it seems, no personal topic is out of bounds of being spun into a witty pop anthem. However, Latham’s transparency isn’t only imbued in her music, but also in her frenetic online presence. Latham’s TikTok account, the self-crowned “queen of the babies”, boasts a respectable 82,000 (and growing) followers and serves as a charismatic oversharing dumping ground. Whether label ordained or not, the 24-year-old sticks to her ethos of internet reliability, complete with on-stage quips calling out homophobia, a short tour of her favourite bodily scars and satirical parodies of interviews — a reminder for onlookers not to pile on questions about Jodie Comer, Olivia Rodrigo and Courtney Love.


As Latham undertakes the next big steps of her career, she reflects on how success has served as a treatment for her personal life. “It has given me a sense of self-respect that I didn’t have for a very long time, especially when I was living in London,” she tells GAY TIMES. “I was super, super broke and my whole family thought I’d gone off the rails, but you never get complacent, because it’s all relative.” And trailblazing ahead is exactly what Latham has done. A year after the release of Medicine, the singer wheeled out The Yearbook, a 10-track mixtape which doubled down on the artist’s sharp poetic wit. In the same year, Baby Queen was nominated for the BBC Sound of 2022, competing against breakout talents PinkPantheress, Wet Leg and more. Since then, Latham has been expanding the Baby Kingdom – the name of her fandom – overseas. After recently playing a handful of shows in the US, the singer-songwriter returned with a renewed gratitude for being a London-based artist. “I’m quintessentially a London artist. Baby Queen is so London. I can’t imagine what it would have been if I did go to America,” she tells GAY TIMES. “I would be a completely different artist because my sound is very British – the satire and the cynicism – and I love it here. London is completely my home.” 

At the beginning of my career, if anyone wanted to ask me anything about sexuality there was no fucking way I was going to speak about it

Maintaining control of a fever dream-like life, however, is not as easy to grasp. Latham, whose songs (Raw Thoughts, These Drugs) pick up on themes of mental health, expresses how strenuous the musician lifestyle can be. “There are moments where I feel like I’m in a van and driving it,” Latham explains, staring off-screen. “But then, there are moments where it’s pulling me on a rope and I’m 100 metres behind it. At times, I feel like I’ve caught up, but other times I feel like I don’t know what the fuck is going on.” The star’s early catapult to fame has come with some caveats, but the singer breaks into a smile, shrugging it off: “In comparison to what my life was, how can I complain? I couldn’t afford to buy a sandwich from Tesco for lunch when I was working in East London. I’ve stolen a lot from Tesco!”

The waters of fame and success are precarious territory and it’s a “whirlwind” reality Latham has already begun to assess. “The pressure I put on myself and the anxiety is a lot. There are elements of it that have been really tough,” Latham says. “You can’t get comfortable because I could get dropped by my record label next week. Inside, I still feel like the wannabe kid and I think I’ll always feel like that.” But, wait, don’t commit to your pity just yet. While Latham admits to not fully fitting in (“I couldn’t stand in the artist area at Reading and Leeds because I didn’t fucking belong”), the singer is on a mission to reclaim the underdog title. In fact, she even wrote a low-fi banger about it. “People make you feel shit about who you are, and I remember being called a wannabe in school,” she tells GAY TIMES. “Then I was writing this song (Wannabe). I’m a wannabe then that’s the fucking coolest thing in the world!”

Being defined by labels and titles is affecting stuff. As an upcoming artist, Latham knew how easy it was to be prematurely penned as a “type” of artist. As her name grew, so did her determination to dodge questions on sexuality. “At the beginning of my career, if anyone wanted to ask me anything about sexuality there was no fucking way I was going to speak about it,” she says. “People and magazines use how you classify your sexuality as your descriptor. Your defining factor becomes that word that people give you which I hate. It just overshadows what is really important to me, which is the fact that I want you to listen to my lyrics. I don’t want to be put in a fucking stupid little box.” 

I’ve written songs about men and I’ve written songs about girls. I could be anything

Latham’s attitude shifted, in part, due to her fans. While she found avoiding the questions “exhausting”, she wanted to uphold her principle of being transparent with listeners: “The closer I can get to who I truly am on the inside, the more I can portray that honest version to the fans.” As she began to open up, the artist found herself ensconced in a communal fanbase. “It sounds so cliche, but every day I feel like I’m more confident. Baby Queen fans are incredible,” she explains. “They’re so brave in a way that I never was growing up. I get fucking shit talked by people in South Africa all the time but, now, I’ve found a community that has accepted me with open arms. I’m fully accepted regardless of anything about me. With Baby Queen, I’ve written songs about men and I’ve written songs about girls. I could be anything.” Finding a sense of closure in her fanbase has allowed the singer to detach from a need for labels altogether. “I’ve stopped putting the pressure on myself to define anything or to come to a place. I’m just gonna live my life and make my music and that’s it. You find your people out there who accept you for who you are, and I feel like that’s what I’ve got.”

Working hard on self-acceptance is one feat and Latham is on task to tackle another — her debut album. Baby Queen took to the stage at GAY TIMES Honours in November last year, performing her hits Wannabe, Want Me and Buzzkill. After making such an impression the first time, we’ve called the singer back to perform again. “I’ve never played Great Escape. I’m excited, man. I’m glad I’m on the GAY TIMES stage. It’s gonna be fucking lit,” Latham laughs. 

The Wannabe singer adds: “GAY TIMES has been one of the main publications that have really been on team Baby Queen. You guys support the show Heartstopper which I’ve been writing music for. I feel like we’re really aligned. Being at GAY TIMES Honours was the fucking coolest thing of my whole life. The vibe of the GAY TIMES community and the LGBTQ+ community is so accepting. GAY TIMES Honours is a great room to be in. Everyone’s a fucking legend and is lifting each other up. I’m excited to be back!” 

Being at GAY TIMES Honours was the fucking coolest thing of my whole life. The vibe of the GAY TIMES community and the LGBTQ+ community is so accepting

Speaking on the progress of the record, the singer reveals it’s “half-finished for real this time” and has a finalised title and theme. “I’ve been struggling to be honest. Writing a song has become a really fucking laboriously difficult thing now. It’s essentially second album syndrome,” Latham tells GAY TIMES. “I’ve already put out so much music that I feel like I’m making a second album so I’m having a bit of an existential crisis, but it’ll be okay.” While Latham can’t give away a title, she hopes her new concept resonates with fans as much as her last project. Digging deep into the world of William Blake, the singer has pulled inspiration from the Romanticist poet. “The album concept is about the inability to be an adult. I’m supposed to be grown-up, but I still feel like a little child,” she explains. “I should have my shit together by now. It’s kind of like the balance or the contrast between innocence and experience.” The South African artist continues, likening her on-stage moniker to the poet’s introspective themes: “William Blake is one of my favourite poets and it’s why I love the juxtaposition of Baby Queen. It’s these two things going on at the same time.”

On the dawn of a new era, the musician has found herself reflecting on the bond between Bella Latham and Baby Queen. While the two are often flattened into one existence, the singer reveals she has been “separating” herself from the latter. “Baby Queen is an amplification of the more extroverted parts of myself and, through the music, I feed the truth,” she says, guesting outwardly. As if dealing with a glam-clad anti-pop Jekyll and Hyde situation, the star adds she “likes the separation” of the two: “It’s a little protective mechanism. I see myself as the cool older sister and Baby Queen is supposed to be your best friend.” In a musical sense, Latham defines her on-stage ego by “the honesty of the lyric”, no matter the genre, even if she likes to label it “intellectual pop”. The line between the two remains an amusing sliding scale, but Latham offers a final take on who and what Baby Queen is. “Baby Queen is a force of chaos,” she concludes. “Baby Queen is everything that I love about myself. I don’t necessarily love myself, but I fucking love Baby Queen.”

Baby Queen’s new single Colours Of You, taken from the official soundtrack of Netflix’s Heartstopper, is available to stream and download now.