Rising Pop Star Dopha Embraces Being A Basic Bitch: I Want to Show That We All Have Something Basic in Us

Being called basic in the 21st century kind of rhymes with being unoriginal and boring – but singer and songwriter Dopha wonders why. To her, basicness doesn’t stop her from dreaming big or creating something incredible – and her newly-released debut album ‘The Game’ is proof of that!

Dopha by Emma Ishøy
Dopha by Emma Ishøy

If you’ve somehow never heard the term “basic bitch”, it doesn’t take more than a few seconds on the world wide web to learn that it’s definitely not something you want to be called. Urban Dictionary defines it as “tragically/laughably unaware of ones utter lack of specialness” and “boring, painfully normal”, Glamour magazine gave us 30 signs to check if you’ve become a basic bitch, and Vice calls it “the Internet’s favourite insult”. A male equivalent has for some reason not been relevant to add to our popular vocabulary. So there’s that… 

But is your life over once you’ve been called a basic bitch by some troll on the internet? Don’t we all feel unextraordinary at some points in our life? Does “basicness” necessarily cancel out all creativity and curiosity? And can we claim the “Basic Bitch” insult and make being… normal something we don’t have to feel ashamed of or limited by? After getting to know Danish rising pop star Sofie Dopha, we believe in the impossible.

Dopha

Maybe there’s a stereotype of a basic bitch, but for me, I think a basic bitch is just a person who likes popular things and mainstream stuff. And I embrace it, cause I want to break down that stereotype and try to show that we all have something basic in us.

The Danish pop-newcomer – who named a Spotify playlist with her own music Basic Bitch Diaries – has just released her debut album, The Game – a 12 track record with hit singles like “September Till June”, “The Game”, “Happy For Me” and “Anti Breakup Song”. She grew up in the tiny village of Romalt in Jutland, Denmark which has had a huge influence on her musical development. The peace and quiet of living in a small town gave room for daydreaming and telling stories, and on a diet of boredom, dreams of escapism, a karaoke machine, a piano, and her beloved 1964 red Fender Mustang guitar, she developed a sound floating somewhere in between the relatable songwriting of Taylor Swift, the melancholy and larger-than-life atmosphere of Lana Del Rey and the playfulness of Billie Eilish with an indie-rock twist much reminiscent of American breakthrough artist Clairo. It’s honest and spellbinding and has already made Dopha a household name on the popular Danish radio charts.

Listen to The Game here as you read along:

We’re in Dopha’s Copenhagen flat which she, like a lot of people in their early 20s, shares with a few roommates. She’s that kind of person who always has a smile on her face, laughs a lot and has a warmth that instantly makes you feel calm and safe in her presence. She’s in her white socks, light blue mom jeans and a casual black hoodie when she shows us to the kitchen where our morning coffee is waiting.
When Dopha is sassy, she describes her own music as “something you definitely would wanna hear”, but when her natural humbleness breaks in and a big smile takes over, she describes it as pop music with an expressive lyric and a spark being her distorted guitar. In many ways that description of something popular with a spark fits with more than just her music.

When you look around the apartment and her room, everything looks pretty normal. We get our coffee made with the help of a hip coffee maker in the kitchen and there’re bestseller books decorating the shelves. But on the door to her room there’s a sign reading: Dopha Dressing room 6 – a souvenir from when she performed on national television handpicked by the Royal Danish Crown Prince and Princess to play at their annual award ceremony –  and there’s tons of musical gear stacked up underneath her bed. We have to watch our steps in order not to stumble on a guitar pedal or a wire.

Basic bitchin’ and creating art

When you think of the art world, whether it be film, theater, music or the likes, it’s often associated with extravaganza, over-the-top lifestyles and larger-than-life personalities. Being normal somehow clashes with the perception of being creative and artistic. We expect our superstars to show up in crazy outfits, say things we don’t really understand but wanna quote, and live the life of the rich and famous all so we can occasionally remind ourselves and others that “they are human too, you know” who poops just like the rest of us.

Dopha has already been tipped by an unanimously Danish critic crowd to be one of the next big pop stars, the title track “The Game” from her new album has been nominated as Song of the Year at a prestigious music prize, and if the festival summer of 2020 had gone as planned, she’d have played at the Northern Europe’s biggest Festival, Roskilde. It wouldn’t be the first time accomplishments like that changed a person, but Dopha is still the epitome of down to earth. However, she definitely recognizes having felt like it wasn’t okay to be basic – that it was somehow expected of her to be something more.

In a small town, it’s weird if you don’t fit in, so you just go with the flow of everybody. But when I moved to a bigger city, I went to this music school where I was surrounded by people who were very experimental and curious. And then I found out that I like basic things. I like watching basic movies and Netflix series and somehow that made me feel uncool and that it wasn’t okay to like these things,” Dopha explains, sitting in her bed playing a bit on her unplugged guitar. “But I found out that actually you can be both. You can be curious and experimental and also like mainstream stuff and trendy things.

Dopha by Emma Ishøy

I don’t think that creativity and being basic are mutually exclusive.
I wrote a song called “Basic Bitch” which kind of says it all, I think.

Due to the non-extravaganza defining Dopha’s upbringing, she had time and space both physically and in her mind to make up stories, fantasize and put it all into sounds. That became her creative outlet.

“I don’t think that creativity and being basic are mutually exclusive. I wrote a song called “Basic Bitch” which kind of says it all, I think. I try to use that feeling of being really basic, and right now I’m also trying to talk about how you can still dream big even though you do normal stuff, and you do basic things. For me, I think it’s a really good contrast to other things in my life which are not basic like making an album, going on tour, experiencing a lot of wild things. So it’s actually a really good thing also to have something normal to talk about and to write about.”

It always helps having other people to look up to in order to believe that what you’re doing and how you’re doing it can actually take you to where you wanna go. And just like Dopha will hopefully inspire other basic bitches out there to dream big, Taylor Swift has sort of done the same for her.

She writes a lot of pop songs that a lot of people can relate to and they maintain maybe a lot of basic feelings and emotions and that’s really cool and makes her really special. So that’s kind of a paradox because it makes her not a basic bitch. She’s also a basic cat lady and she seems like a normal person when she speaks. I think she’s maybe one of the basic bitches I look up to, if you can even call her that. It’s relative cause you can be basic in different kinds of social groups,” she resonates. 

If you, like Dopha, are into Swift’s ways of putting common emotions into words, there’s a good chance you’ll dig Dopha’s new album as well. It’s about falling in love after moving to a big city; Falling in love with the new life you’re about to lead and falling in love with a real person. It’s a portrait of two years in the life of a young girl who’s still finding out new ways and places to live, chasing dreams led by love life and career goals and experiencing equal parts hope and hopelessness, as she puts it herself.

With the album out, Dopha has taken another step towards following her dream of becoming a pop star, and though she’ll still listen to mainstream music, read bestseller books and watch whatever-is-trending-on-Netflix, she most likely has to gear up for some new career peaks that’ll be hard associating with the life of a basic bitch. Luckily, she’s already had some practice.

I didn’t really feel basic when I was performing for the Crown Prince and Princess on television, that was kind of wild. And I don’t think it was that basic that I wore a turquoise leather suit at SPOT Festival 2019. Also, when I graduated high school and threw my diploma in the trash can and was like, ‘okay, I’m gonna go sign a record deal instead’,” she reflects and breaks a smile.

No matter what the future holds for the aspiring pop star, we feel sure that Dopha will keep claiming that being a basic bitch is nothing to be ashamed of. Cause what is basic anyways? 

“I don’t feel basic when I tell people that I like Nickelback. It’s really basic to hate them,” she laughs.

Dopha by Emma Ishøy
Photos by Emma Ishøy
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