In fall 2017, Michigan singer-songwriter Bazzi scored a Hot 100 hit with “Mine,” a short burst of the kind of fizzy elation that accompanies any crush. You might’ve first heard it via a Snapchat filter, or maybe you saw one of the many edits set to the song.
Bazzi, meanwhile, kept writing and making music, touring with Justin Timberlake and Camila Cabello, and even ending up enlisting Camila for a reworking of his song “Beautiful,” set to drop this week. As the MTV: Push artist for the month of August said recently, the song came about from a stream-of-consciousness session.
“‘Beautiful’ is a freestyle, actually,” the 20-year-old told MTV. “I actually made ‘Beautiful’ being like, ‘I just want something to post on Instagram, like, I don’t care, I’m just gonna throw something up today.'”
“I went to the studio and I freestyled ‘Beautiful’ in like an hour and a half, and I threw it up and people were like, ‘This song’s gonna change your life.'”
The song’s seemingly off-the-cuff nature was a lesson for Bazzi, who said it taught him to follow his spontaneous impulses and to “care a little bit less and have a little more fun.” That journey has led him to the ultimate destination of the track being a collaboration with Camila, so it seems like it worked out OK.
But it might not have ever happened without the help of one particular artist’s inspiration.
“Lyrically and melodically, Drake was definitely a big influence of mine,” Bazzi told MTV recently. “Drake was the first time I turned an an artist on and I was like, ‘I feel that,’ you know? ‘That’s how I feel.’ And I think that really inspired me. That pushed into the category of wanting to be truthful and vulnerable in my music.”
Watch Bazzi break down his backstory, including that time his guitar teacher accused him of ripping off Green Day, in the interview below.