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"After recording Tell on You, which was about teenage sexual abuse, it set the bar for me: if I could do that song, I could pretty much do anything after that. I’ve always been the same kind of person, much to my mom’s chagrin. I had so many young fans from the beginning. I was happy I made a song about something they could relate to. It is always the right thing to do," she said, moving on to talk about Superbeautifulmonster .
"Some of the songs are enshrouded in despair. I guess as we get older, we take break ups harder. We put more hope into them. I think a lot of songs are really sad, some lean towards violent aggression, but mostly they are songs about heartache."
She has a lot of heart to ache: the do-gooder talks about the world with great concern. So what is one thing the world could do without?
"Gosh there are so many things," she said. "Consumption ultimately. We do it so much without questioning anything. We need to get perspective and stop buying things. Rapid consumerism affects all of us on all levels. People don’t recycle. People don’t compost or carpool enough. People don’t make correct choices about feeding their kids. We are so busy. I can’t imagine what it is like having four kids and juggling everything."
With the introduction of the Internet, Bif said records sales can no longer be relied on and touring is therefore a necessity – she first hit the road at 16 years old and hasn’t stopped.
Maybe her studious lifestyle of diet, yoga, martial arts and reading stems not from mindfulness, but out of necessity?
Twenty years ago she left her rebellious lifestyle, along with smoking, drinking, drugs and bad food. She keeps body and soul in shape with 90-minute rock concert cardio workouts as well as martial arts, weights and yoga. She exercises her mind in her more than 3,500-book library. From Buddhism, Daoism, Judaism and the Koran to medical practices, she reads basically anything but fiction.
"I just bought a book in London: Palliative Care Perspectives by Doctor James Hallenbeck," she said. "It is about his experience of going from a hospital administrator to caring for the dying. It’s riveting. I am such a square."
I don’t think anyone who has witnessed one of her high-octane shows would call her wild-child presence square, but that is what makes her music and personality so addictive – nothing is as it seems.
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