Toronto-based pop rock group Babygirl was born out of a long-standing friendship.
Founded in 2016, the group is made up of Kiki Frances and Cameron Breithaupt, who met while studying music at Humber College in Toronto. The couple bonded at school because of their similar musical tastes and shared the dream of working as a songwriter for great pop artists.
“We both took the catalog of the 40 best hits of the 2000s that we grew up on very seriously, almost an area of study, so to speak,” Breithaupt said in an interview with The Harvard Crimson. “So as we bonded with that, we were like, ‘Oh, let’s start writing pop songs for other artists,’ kind of like a pitch writing team. ‘
In the process of composing music for others, the couple discovered a creative chemistry between the two of them that informed Babygirl’s founding, according to Breithaupt.
“Very quickly we started writing stuff that wasn’t exactly designed for this Top 40 format and that’s the material we started Babygirl around,” Breithaupt said. “We had these great songs that didn’t really sound like Ariana Grande, but we still wanted the world to hear them somehow.”
“We did a lot of bad songs and then when we started doing good songs and we were like, ‘Let’s start a band on this. Frances added.
Babygirl released her first single “Overboard” in June 2016, followed by her debut EP “As You Wish” a month later.
Although she turned to a career in songwriting at Humber, Frances said that she and Breithaupt had always, deep down, wanted to perform their own work.
“When we were kids we didn’t know each other, but we both wanted to individually make our own music and be singers and performers,” Frances said. “So when we started writing together thinking that we would write songs for other artists, we both always had this internal thing of wanting to be artists ourselves.”
After its release, “Overboard” found its way into Spotify’s “Fresh Finds” playlist, earning the duo nearly fifty thousand one-day streams of placement and a reason to continue Babygirl.
“It was kind of our first little validation moment where we realized this project had legs outside of a simple hobby, a local thing,” said Breithaupt. “I think it really like everything snowballed from there to some extent.”
Since their debut in 2016, Babygirl has worked hard, dropping a pair of EPs as well as a plethora of singles. According to the duo, quality control is key to Babygirl’s release schedule and songwriting process.
Breithaupt said Frances is the couple’s perfectionist and always strives for the highest quality possible.
“It’s not just about sitting there and singing the song,” Frances said. “If you think of it as a recording that’s going to last forever, this has to be the best performance I’m capable of giving, which sometimes makes me want to re-record a voice three times before I agree to it.”
“There is no amount of work that we can put into anything that we consider to justify its release,” said Breithaupt. “It’s always judged on its merits of what the end product is, not on how hard it is to get there.”
Frances and Breithaupt’s dedication and attention to detail clearly paid off. The duo’s 2018 EP “Lovers Fevers” caught the attention of Grammy-nominated producer J Kash, who signed the duo to a deal with his label Sandlot Records in early 2020.
Platinum pop singer Jeremy Zucker is also a fan of the duo and invited Frances and Breithaupt to open for the east coast leg of their 2021 nationwide tour, giving the couple their first touring experience. Zucker got to know Babygirl through their mutual acquaintance with pop artist Lauv.
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“We were going to go on tour with Lauv in early 2020, and then that got canceled, obviously,” Frances said.
“But luckily that relationship led to Jeremy hearing about our music,” added Breithaupt. “And then Jeremy kind of slipped into the DMs and was like, ‘Hey, big fan of your stuff,’ which was really cool and that’s how it went.”
Last month, the band wrapped up the tour with Zucker after performing in eight cities, including their biggest hometown show yet at Danforth Music Hall in Toronto. Yet despite Babygirl’s success over the past year, Frances said the duo still felt like they were making a living in the city of Toronto and the music industry in general.
“I think we continue to gain momentum [in Toronto]”Said Françoise.” But this show was really fun playing in a full hall and showing our music to a group of people and having people come to see us afterwards. “Despite the challenges of the last few years, a -she added, these are the moments that allowed the group to continue.
– Writer Ryan S. Kim can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.