Louisiana music producer, rapstress and songwriter B. Ames (she/they) has been blasting beats and blazing trails since 2009. With elements of hip-hop, pop, and crunk, Ames’ music is laced with an especially heavy- handed topping of that bodacious and booming ballroom sound, making for an amalgamation of music that does, indeed, serve c*nt (her words, not ours x).
Listening to just one of her tracks, it’s no wonder why the non-binary artist has been tapped to produce original tracks and remixes for ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ favourites, like Bob the Drag Queen, Latrice Royale, and Manila Luzon…just to name a few.
From Ames’ introduction to gospel music as a child living in America’s deep south, to stomping the underground ballroom runways with the beat vibrating through her body, and even producing beats that bring the house down, the one constant thread in Ames’ life has always been music.
The ‘Love the Girls’ songbird talks about what compelled her to look beyond the confines of the gospel gates she was raised within, explaining that as she began to grow, so did her curiosity. Ames’ states that as youngster, they would often wait until the coast was clear before sneaking downstairs to watch the music videos of the R&B divas like Beyoncé and Ciara.
“It was my escape,” Ames says.
As she began to explore all the intersections of her various identities (like her blackness and queerness) Ames was, “introduced to Virginia’s underground ballroom scene”.
At the time, they were, “around 16 or 17 years old, and still living with my family.”
“I met other people in the ballroom scene, and they became my gay ‘father’, and that’s when I got the first peek into what ballroom is about. I understood [ballroom] families and what it means to be a house parent.”
Ames candidly confides that though it may sound cliché, that moment in time forever altered the trajectory of her life, proudly proclaiming that, “it completely changed my view of life, family, love, vogue and performance.”
However, all those years of immersing themselves in the music would all begin to string together a melody. “My ‘father’ said, ‘why don’t you just try making up a beat?’ and I was like, ‘oh, okay.’ So, I went to my laptop, and I was like, ‘oh, this is kind of cute. Okay. Wait a minute, there’s something to this.’ And that’s how I got into ballroom and making music.”
“It was a journey, but I fell in love with it.”
Now, as a fully realised musician, Ames explains, “I love to tell stories through my music about what I’m going through and put it in song.”
As for when the drag aspect of her persona showed up, Ames says that came along with everything else.
“I figured I was good at makeup. I mean, I didn’t start off good, but I got good at makeup. And then I was able to fuse everything together and that’s how B. Ames was born.”
A frequent collaborator of queens who’ve appeared on ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’, Ames admits that, “there was a point in time where I wanted to be on drag race [as a contestant], but now I’d like to be a guest. You know when they have a [music] producer come in to see the girls? Well yeah, that’s what I wanna do.”
With her most recent track dropping mere days before New Year’s Eve, Ames proved that she is one to keep your eye on. As the sassy songbird spits fire, and the beat beneath sets the floor ablaze, the brazenly ballroom bangers make for tracks that burn like wildfire you won’t want to put out.
In the next five years, Bei has ‘Ames’ of touring internationally, producing, and collaborating with big mainstream artists. She elaborates that,
“I would love to be – by that time – producing for Beyonce, who is one of one of my biggest inspirations. I mean, she just gave the nod to ballroom on her recent album. So, surely it’s only a matter of time.”