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Bebe Rexha: 'I banged on doors until my hands bled'

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Bebe Rexha has made a good living out of writing hits for other people and, occasionally, getting to sing them herself.The New Yorker rose to fame after helping craft The Monster for Eminem and Rihanna, and Me Myself & I for G-Eazy, among others.She's currently in the UK top 10 as part of Rita Ora's all-star pop banger Girls, while her recent single Meant To Be - a duet with country duo Florida Georgia Line - spent 28 weeks at number one on the US country charts.It's all the result of a 10-year struggle to make it in the music industry."I literally banged on doors until my hands were black and blue... Until they were bloodied," the 28-year-old tells the BBC (her hands seem fine, in case you're concerned).
Ahead of the release of her debut album Expectations next week, here are 10 things you need to know about the most improbably-named pop star since Englebert Humperdinck.
1) She's part of the Albanian chart invasion
Left-right: Rita Ora, Dua Lipa and Bebe Rexha
Just like Dua Lipa and Rita Ora, Bebe is of Albanian descent."There's something in the water over there," she laughs. "We're strong. We're built like horses and we can withstand anything."The singer's father Flamur moved to the US when he was 21 and worked menial jobs to support the family. "Mum and dad worked really hard but they never let me know that we had no money," says the star.Nonetheless, their home in Staten Island was "very strict", the star recalls. "Music was seen as a bad thing. My dad was like, 'That's the devil's career.'"
2) She's not one to blow her own trumpet, but...
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Earlier this year, Bebe became the first female artist to debut at number one on the US country charts, with Meant To Be - her collaboration with arena-filling Nashville duo Florida Georgia Line.The song was written in just two hours - but Bebe had initially been reluctant to meet singer Tyler Hubbard."I'd already written a song that day and it had gone to crap," she says. "There was drama in the room, the [singer] was breaking up with her boyfriend, so I was like, 'I can't do this'. "But my manager was like, 'Just go in, you never know what'll happen'. So I show up and Tyler seemed kind of over it too. "But I told him I was nervous and tired and he was like, 'Listen, my wife said in the elevator that if it's meant to be for us to write a great song, then it'll be'. And I was like, 'That has to be the theme of the song!'"The rest, as they say, is history.
9) She's fighting for women in the music industry
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Bebe Rexha: 'I banged on doors until my hands bled'

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Earlier this year, Bebe hosted a dinner in Hollywood for top female artists, songwriters and producers - including Kelsea Ballerini, Avril Lavigne, Charli XCX, Emily Warren (who wrote New Rules) and Erika Ender (Despacito)."Basically, everyone at the table had top 10 hits - and it was all women," she says.Called Women In Harmony, the event was designed to strengthen the bonds between women in a male-dominated industry."The problem is that 84% of songs on the radio are male... [so] of course women are going to get a little bit weird and act more competitive because there's no room for us. "So the way we make it better is we make more room for ourselves. How do you do that? You build relationships. You support other females. You call each other, you have hits with each other, you collaborate with each other. "You throw dinners, you reach out a hand - instead of it being this competitive thing where we're trying to kill each other."Because if we kill each other, there's less of us - and I ain't that girl."
10) Her pizza game is strong
Bebe's father grew up making pizzas in New York so, naturally, she has strong views on the subject."A good pizza needs to be simple," she says, championing the humble Margherita as the king of pizzas. "The best pizza has a nice crispy crust, then a great tomato sauce and a really good mozzarella. When you fold it in half, it should not flop over, it should stand straight. And there should always be a teeny bit of oil that falls on your chin."This is my true passion, everybody."Bebe Rexha's new single I'm A Mess is out now. Her album, Expectations, is released next week.
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