Collective BAE is striving to revolutionize the music industry as a genre-fluid female talent group and community that offers empowering experiences focused on fusing nightlife, art and wellness.
Founded by Reem Abdou, who is also a music producer and the co-creator of BASSyoga, BAE originally began because she didn’t feel there were many diverse or balanced spaces for her to perform in when she started DJing.
“It was just this missing link in my life,” Abdou adds. “I felt there weren’t a lot of spaces I could go out and feel like I was taking care of myself. I felt like I was always going out and feeling super exhausted, hungover [and] depleted. I felt like I wasn’t connecting with people. [BAE] was a space exactly for that—where people could connect more deeply with each other.”
Though BAE’s key goal is to “empower and feature women,” Abdou says the events are also open to men and those who identify as gender fluid, LGBTQ+, transexual and non-binary. BAE’s motto is “By Women, For ALL,” so the collective specifically aims to showcase and empower marginalized groups. The experiences are aimed at being affordable (typically $10-$30), and the events usually begin with an opening ceremony that uses meditation to invite attendees to be mindful of why they attended, as well as be aware of values such as safety, consent and clear communication. BAE also partners with holistic vendors, such as tarot card readers and feminine healthcare experts, that set up stands at the events that compliment the rest of the experience, providing opportunities for attendees to connect besides at the bar or the dance floor.
The collective has collaborated with venues such as Sultan Room, most recently, as well as House of Yes, Lot 45 and Ambrosia Elixirs. Abdou notes she typically looks for spaces run by women as well as venues that feel “feminine in the sense that it’s open and receptive to different genres and different kinds of artists. It feels a little more creatively exploratory, which to me are like feminine qualities.” She also looks for venues that prioritize diversity, accessibility and sustainability.
Much of Abdou’s work is at the intersection of art and wellness, but this also translates to her personal beliefs of balancing the two.
“Most artists struggle, either emotionally, mentally or physically,” she says. “Our culture itself doesn’t really support a healthy process for the individual. It’s either all or nothing. You’re either a health freak or you’re like going absolutely buck-wild and losing yourself every day and every night. So for me, those two things have to marry each other. To be an artist, you have to be somebody who takes care of themselves. In order to create great art, you have to start with yourself and take care of yourself.”
The collective was initially founded in October 2016 because she was shocked by how imbalanced and exclusive music lineups were, how much waste was being generated in nightclubs, how much venues charge for water and how new artists were being taken advantage of by members of the music industry. “[I was] so shocked there wasn’t this connection between taking care of our space and our person, and consuming or creating art,” she notes. “For me, BAE serves as that bridge, making it the status quo, normal and necessary to take care of yourself.” She believes that a more grassroots organization of women artists could transform the way in which we gather and celebrate.
Since its inception, BAE has grown to include a Patreon group and a label dubbed Mindful Music Label. On the Patreon, BAE Sound, subscribers can directly connect with the community and receive different tiers of packages. All packages offer meditations for mindful living, while the higher tier subscribers get additional gifts or offerings from BAE’s sustainable partners. Abdou says this in turn creates a circular economy of local, women-run small businesses that support each other.
Going forward, BAE aims to bring its global sound around the world to transform nightlife culture and help support sustainability movements. The collective will be activating at upcoming events such as Envision in Costa Rica and TimeOut at Miami Music Week.
“There’s not very many labels or, forget about big labels, even independent labels that are focused on mindfulness, intentionality, environmental awareness or any of these things,” Abdou says. “It’s an opportunity to kind of shift the culture of the music industry, which I feel is missing that consciousness, without it being alienating. Keeping it really accessible, fun, still about dance and having an amazing night out.”