(Photo: Omroep West video still).
Leiden pop rapper and producer Babs is quickly making a name for himself in the Dutch pop and rap scene. Last month she released a song with Alain Clarke, and she will soon be supporting Merol’s act and released her song “Altijd Tijd” with Willie Wartaal on Friday. For now, though, it is and remains an outsider, because only two percent of all producers are women or non-binary. This is also evident in the conservatory. “I was the only girl in the class. We started with three girls. But the other two dropped out.”
23-year-old Babette Schott doesn’t ignore what’s important to her, like gender, identity, and sexuality, as her previous singles titles like “Die/Hun,” “Beetje Bi,” and “Wie Was Ik Wel” attest. Because if there’s one thing you hate, it’s profiling and profiling. She herself has also struggled with her identity. Until the age of 15 she struggled with herself. “I wasn’t good at who I was, I was bullied at school and I was very insecure because of it, which made it hard to find myself and be happy with myself.”
She stood out for her creativity, but also for not being “one of the girls”. “I didn’t have the same interests as the girls in my class. I had the same interests as the boys in the class. I loved soccer very much. As a result, it was noticeable that I was different from girls my age.”
The cover comes when you turn 15. “I always wanted to cut my hair short, but I was so insecure. I thought they were going to bully me more. But then I joined a drama community and found creative people who were different from ‘the masses.’ Then I could be pretty much myself and that gave me a lot of joy.” Confidence such that I thought: beautiful charm, I’ll cut my hair.
Another important step for the reborn Babs is leaving for Chichester, England after graduating from high school. “I first started producing music there, I haven’t done it yet. I learned that there and finally started training as a producer. If that hadn’t happened, I don’t know what would have happened to my music career.”
Women and non-binaries are not only fewer in number among producers, but they are also underrepresented in the rest of the music world. She encountered this when forming her own team. “I think it’s very important to have diversity, different types of people, on my team. But the vast majority are guys. That’s what stands out.”
According to Babs, the male world is quite stubborn. “As a woman you feel less welcome. If there are so few women in a place you think there’s a reason why, maybe I’m not good at this, maybe it’s just not for me or maybe it’s not a nice work atmosphere at all. Because let’s face it, Bad things also happen in the music scene and entertainment world. Think The Voice.”
Gender identity is an important topic for rapper Leiden. “I’ve had quite a few people in my environment who have a different gender identity. Other people have a problem with/with those, and because they don’t understand, they react badly to that and can be mean about it. I find that very hard, because you don’t have a great relationship.” With someone else’s identity, shall we? Let’s just let everyone be their own worth and respect each other.”
So far, the Babs have stood out for their colorful delivery, but on their latest single and new single “Contrast,” the title says it all, there’s a surprising amount of black and white. “Yeah, I just wanted to contrast with my previous EPs, with super bright, amazing colors. And I thought what could be more contrast than if I went black and white? It just so happens that half of my hair is blonde and the other half is brown. That’s also a contradiction.”
black and white
“I’m quite open minded that some people still think in black and white. So, for example, around that gender identity, why is it so hard to deal with those people. Those are kind of black and white ideas and I want to add color to that. Show people that you’re giving others The space for them to be themselves. You don’t have to understand that, as long as you respect the other person. That’s the color.”
One of the new songs is “Diepgang Op De Dansvloer”. Babs doesn’t beat around the bush in this song. Babs isn’t beating around the bush on this song. Babs doesn’t beat around the bush in this song. “I want four quarters on the dance floor and still high quality lyrics. When I go out I like to sing along to a song. Then it’s nice to have a text that you endorse, and agree with, instead of you… What can I say… No, I won’t say So even. But often not much is said.”
At first she sang in English, but when she started writing something in Dutch for fun because of a study assignment, a world opened up to her. “It suited me better. And if I let something be heard in Dutch, the Dutch person would be more focused on the text. In English, the listener goes through some of the words. And I love how soft they are.”
The fact that her track was also included in the third season of the hit TV series Atlanta (with actor Donald Glover, aka rapper Childish Gambino and winner of two Emmy Awards and a Grammy Award) didn’t change her mind. “Yeah, that’s big. I had no idea at first, I thought it was a little thing. So I went looking for him and thought ‘Childish Gambino!’ I listen to his music and really like him. So I can’t complain, I’m in Atlanta. But no, right now I will stick to the Dutch scripts.”