Globetrotting electro-pop star Bülow chooses Canada

We spoke to the teenage singer-songwriter about busking at 11, being inspired by badass women and moving across the Atlantic.

bülow performs in Montreal Nov. 28

bülow just graduated from high school and went on tour for the first time.

“I’m just proud and happy that it’s over,” she says, referring to school (obviously). “It’s hard moving from the studio world to the live world; I’ve spent so much time in the studio but in the past few weeks I’ve really grown to love performing.”

Even while she was still doing math homework, the 18-year-old singer and songwriter — known as Megan to her friends; Bülow is her surname — was already gaining attention with the release of her debut EP Damaged Vol. 1 a year ago. The single “Not a Love Song,” a frank tale of young lust outshining young love, has racked up nearly two million views on YouTube and was in heavy rotation on MuchMusic all summer.

Now, with school behind her, bülow is 100 per cent focused on music, splitting her time between performing and recording. When I spoke to her she had just landed in London after flying in from Berlin, ready for some studio time with British producers. Travelling is second nature to bülow, who attended high school in Holland, spent her summers in Canada and lived in the U.S. and England along with her native Germany.

“After moving around so much, a lot of the emotions that come with it, I project into my music,” she says. “In a way, travelling feels like home.”

Another pastime that prepared bülow for a career in music was busking. Beginning at only 11 years old (initially without her parents’ permission), bülow hit the streets of Windsor and Kingston, Ontario with a guitar and a mic.

“I was trying to find a platform for my original music, and I also learned a lot about my music and the people listening to it — you spend hours and hours observing people,” she says. “I definitely think it gave me tougher skin because of course not everybody is gonna love your music and be a fan of you. It was actually a cool experience that I really miss.”

Though she says she didn’t grow up in a particularly musical household, bülow forecasts echoes of her father’s Bob Marley records on an upcoming EP, and credits her sister’s musical taste with cultivating an admiration for “badass women.”

“One of them was Avril Lavigne — I immediately attached to her music, I loved her ‘I don’t give a fuck’ attitude. She was just doing her own thing and I thought that was super inspiring,” she says, naming Pink, Lily Allen and Rihanna as other early influences.

Over the course of her first EP and its follow-up Damaged Vol. 2, bülow exhibits impressive wit and emotional maturity, as well as a knack for memorable melodies and eclectic sounds spanning electronic music, pop and folk. An LP is on the horizon, with new music due in the new year (if not sooner). This week bülow will play Montreal — it’ll be her first time in the city as well as her first show here, and she’s excited about trying Quebec poutine — before settling into her new home in a new city.

“My plan was always to move to Toronto to pursue music,” she says. “Canada is the place where I was discovered, and where so many of the people that I love working with are — I feel like I’ve become really comfortable there.” ■

bülow performs with openers Cinzia & the Eclipse at le Ministère (4521 St-Laurent) in Montreal on Wednesday, Nov. 28, 8:30 p.m., $15.50/$20

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