A years-old demo led to a sleeper hit (thanks, TikTok!) and a Grammy nom.
David Guetta and Bebe Rexha didn’t set out to make this year’s biggest sleeper hit — but they’re just that good. The story of “I’m Good (Blue)” starts with a demo recorded together in 2017 that Guetta included in his Ultra Music Festival set the same year. As is the case with many recent pop hits, the song’s recognition — specifically, a snippet of Guetta’s Ultra live version — came years later thanks to a little unexpected TikTok magic.
Having previously collab’d on smashes “Hey Mama,” “Say My Name,” and a remix of “Last Hurrah,” the dynamic dance duo swiftly hit the studio in light of the demo’s viral success to unearth and polish off the unknown bop they’d stored away.
“We didn’t have much time. I went into the studio, and I literally had, like, four or five hours to do everything I needed to do,” Rexha tells Elite Daily of recutting the entire song — vocals, verse, hook, bridge, and all. “That was really stressful because I’m a perfectionist, a Virgo, so that was hard. We did what we had to do.”
Indeed they did, creating an earworm that unmistakably interpolates Eiffel 65’s 1998 hit “Blue (Da Ba Dee).” Rexha and Guetta’s version playfully embodies the spirit of its predecessor and other Y2K dance classics like A Touch of Class’ “Around the World (La La La La La),” Daft Punk’s “One More Time,” or even Britney Spears’ “Till the World Ends.” (You know the kinda song: Throw your hands up in the air, etc.)
From rewriting lyrics to recording harmonies then sound-mixing, the final product was finalized in about a week as Rexha shared on TiKTok ahead of the song’s August release. “I’m Good (Blue)” would go on to peak at No. 14 on the Billboard Hot 100 and become a No. 1 single in the U.K.
Veteran hitmakers, Rexha and Guetta kept the momentum up with a music video in September and, most recently, a performance earlier this month at the EMAs. They’ll reunite again stateside for an AMAs performance on Nov. 20. Hell, “I’m Good (Blue)” has even earned a 2023 Grammy nomination for Best Dance/Electronic Recording.
Rexha’s return to the pop music zeitgeist following the 2021 release of her second studio album, Better Mistakes, is a rebuke to any idea (namely, some TikTokers) that her fame was waning. “This is a dog-eat-dog world,” she says of the music industry. “I’ve had success in the past, and then [the lockdown] hit, and it was a bit tough. To have another hit is amazing — I’m honestly very grateful and very blessed.”
Now, as she teases new music and celebrates her chart wins, Rexha just wants to have fun: “I personally want to party, you know what I mean? Like, I want to party all the time.” More on that below.
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
Elite Daily: You’re ready to party, so what’s your ideal night out look like?
Bebe Rexha: I have two ideal nights. One ideal night is my phone being off, nobody talking to me, and maybe a glass of wine — or three — and a good movie to watch, or watching like The Great British Bake Off. And then I have a night that I want to go out and that would include vodka, and I need a good DJ, and I need a really good playlist. It doesn’t have to be at the club. It could be at my house, but I want people that I love there and people that I have fun with and a really good playlist and a bottle of vodka and I’m good to go.
ED: You’re active on TikTok, so much so that in September you stitched a video in which a woman called you nonfamous, essentially trolling this person in your response. Do you actively take stock in people’s opinions of you online?
BR: I mean, it’s weird. I used to be on the Internet all the time. I used to have a heart of steel. At a certain point, it started getting to me. Now I’m also in a place where I try to protect myself, and I don’t stay on all day because it’s like, what, am I gonna read that thing that somebody writes about me from their parent’s basement or whatever? You know what I mean?
So, I saw that video of the girl who was talking about famous people that are not really famous. And I totally get what she’s saying because she’s right, like I have three songs that are a billion streams each. I have a diamond-selling platinum record [“Meant to Be” featuring Florida Georgia Line]; there’s only 63 in the entire world. And I’ve written some of the biggest hits in the world, and yet people still don’t know who I am. And I’m OK with that. To be honest, like, I love going to [the grocery store] Ralph’s and buying my lotto tickets and going food shopping for my dog, and I love not wearing glam. I like wearing the same outfit every day to the studio, and, like, shopping.
I just thought it was a funny video. I thought it was hilarious. I stitched it because I’m like, there’s truth to it. I’ll perform a lot of times too and people will be like, “Oh, my God, that was you!” And I’m like, “Yes, that is me.” And they’re like, “I had no idea! You have a new fan,” which I think is amazing. But [the video] was kinda true: I am famous but, like, not famous, if that makes sense. You know what I mean? Like, I’m not Beyoncé famous at all. I’m not A-level famous whatsoever. I thought it was funny that she had made that video and I stitched it because I’m like, “OK, so I’m somewhat famous because she’s talking about me.”
ED: Your response was everything.
BR: I just feel like I’m honest with myself, and I just feel like I like to be honest with my fans. If you’re not honest with yourself and you’re living in this la-la land, you can be hated on. But if you’re being honest and you’re saying everything and being truthful, it’s like, what are you going to say about me? What’s something that I don’t already know about myself?
ED: Despite that TikTok user’s comments, you are wildly successful and well-known. Katy Perry called you one of her favorite collaborators in a recent Rolling Stone interview.
BR: I love her! I will say till this day, Katy Perry has the best tits I’ve ever seen. And it’s not that she showed me. It’s because I walked into her dressing room, and they allowed me to walk in. But I saw them, and they were beautifully symmetrical, beautifully perky. I mean, just great tits. This is not my first time talking about Katy Perry’s tits.
ED: Thanks for setting the record straight. My question, though, is who are some new and rising artists that you love and want to shout out?
BR: I’m going to be honest, what I’ve been listening to a lot lately is a lot of throwback. I’ve been listening to a lot of ABBA and a lot of remixes. That’s where my head’s been at. I’ve been listening to a lot of U.K. music. There’s a U.K. DJ — we can talk about her — and she has a song called “Baddest of Them All.” Have you heard of it?
ED: I haven’t.
BR: You have to listen to the song. If you like “Sacrifice,” listen to “Baddest of Them All.” [It’ll show up as] “B.O.T.A.,” and it’s by this artist called Eliza Rose. It’s a bop, like, it’s a vibe. I don’t know much about her, but I love that record and I can’t wait to see what else she comes out with. She’s a DJ. I love female DJ energy because I don’t think we have enough female DJs.
ED: Speaking of female artists, you recently shared a selfie with Tove Lo. What’s happening there?
ED: So me and Tove Lo went into the studio and, No. 1, I’m obsessed with her. A lot of times you work with a lot of other females or there’s females in the industry, and they could be not nice girls. You know what I mean? She is a nice girl. We wrote a song, actually. I don’t know if it’ll ever come out, though, to be quite honest with you. I think we’re going to get in [the studio] more. But we wrote a really cute song for all the girls in the clubs that are in the back that don’t get any love from anybody else. Like, you don’t get the free drinks and they don’t get the free, like, whatever. So we wrote about that, which is really cute. We still need to go in and finish it and work on some other stuff as well.
ED: Please release it soon. What else can your fans expect from you this year?
BR: There’s going to be another collab that comes out that I can’t say what it is, but it’s really amazing. It’s me, a Latin artist, and another big DJ. It’s really incredible. I’m really excited about it. And then in the new year is when I’m hopefully going to be releasing my own music, and I want to go on my own tour — my own Bebe Rexha tour because I haven’t been on a Bebe tour in, like, four or five years. So that’s my goal. I want to see my fans in person. I want to play the deeper cuts and have a party on stage, feel the energy of my fans, have them sing the words, and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah — hopefully all that.