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High Notes: Bibi Bourelly

The sassy songwriter showcased rock star charisma with Motown soul

Written by Rosalie Cabison • Photography by Drew Gurian, Red Bull • December 7, 2016

"This song’s about a f#ckboy!" Bibi Bourelly called out before one of her songs. This type of candor characterized her whole set at The Bootleg Theater in Los Angeles.

Let it be known that Bibi Bourelly is a force to be reckoned with once she hits the stage. You may be familiar with her sassy and honest songwriting—she’s the main mind behind Rihanna’s “Bitch Better Have My Money” and the title track on Usher’s latest album, Hard II Love. Yes, she writes for others, but she flaunts a style all her own when it comes to striking out solo. WITNESS:


She banters with the attitude of an '80s-era rock star and sings with the soul of a '60s-era Motown siren. From first song to last, she doesn't mess around and she WILL make sure you feel her and understand her by the end of the night. A nice highlight of the night was a cover/singalong of “Valerie” by The Zutons (made famous by Amy Winehouse).

Stray observations:
  • MAJOR props to RB Sound Select for curating a perfect lineup. Sur Ellz is the upcoming R&B entertainer we’ve been waiting for and Harriet Smith is a surreal neo-soul act that you must experience for yourself.

  • All the artists involved in the evening stuck around to talk to fans that night! I miss this in the music scene. I support this.

What’s the ONE thing people need to know about Bibi Bourelly’s live show? She's just so real and so fun to watch. To date, she's only released EPs, so stay alert for when her full album (and headlining tour!) eventually comes around.