Rising pop prince Bentley Robles has spent the past few years grinding right through quarantine and keeping our queer hearts beating with sexy, sensational pop tunes. Too-hot-to-handle tracks like “kiss my friends”, “body language”, and “See Me Naked” with soaring electropop vocalist ZEE MACHINE helped sustain fans’ spirits (and thirst) when they were needed most. Now that folks are largely back on the dancefloor, Bentley’s never had a better time to shine.
Between his energetic scorned-heart single “HOPE U CRY” and fan-favorite disco-drenched track “kim kardashian” (based on the iconic Kim K crying meme), Bentley has been luxuriating in the lachrymose for some time now. With UGLY CRIER, both the luxury and the lament are in glorious overdrive.
With high-octane beats, hopeless romanticism, and a killer voice, one listen to this latest project just might make you a fan for life. If you get lucky enough to see him live, one of his dazzling winks from the stage will definitely do the trick.
We caught up with Bentley to chat about UGLY CRIER, queer pop culture, and his rising star journey.
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What’s a story from your life that best exemplifies the energy of Ugly Crier?
Every single day of my life? Ugly Crier has changed meaning with this project. At first it was synonymous with “overdramatic” or “crybaby”, but now it means living life in capital letters and full force. I am a cancer sun and a taurus moon; I feel every emotion amplified and I feel it for a while. I think these songs are all a testament to that. They are all real life examples of my ugly crier existence.
When it came time to dish about the list of famous folks who attended her Las Vegas residency, Adele had a confession to make.
What would be five essential things on your Ugly Crier mood board?
Glittery tears, dancefloors, broken hearts, speeding cars, and bleach.
Which part of this recent era of your career has been the most exciting or unexpected?
The most exciting part has been getting the opportunity to create a world revolving around Ugly Crier. I’ve been a singles boy for a long time and they’ve helped me get to where I am, however getting to curate a project rollout from start to finish that’s cohesive and has a story has been the coolest part of my career thus far. Ugly Crier is part one of two (more is coming pretty quickly) and I feel so lucky to get to share it with the world. In regard to unexpected, I’d say landing the cover of “Fresh Finds Pop” has yet to be beat.
What aspect of your music do you value most?
The songwriting itself. Don’t get me wrong, a nice crunchy bass synth can make me c*m, but nothing hits harder than lyrics. I like to think I have a really fresh POV when it comes to songwriting. I grew up a weirdo and had to navigate life without a map, but that experience gave me a unique lens to see the world through. Songs like “GOD IS A FUCKBOY” or “SIDE EFFECTS” are a direct result of that.
What do you consider your flop era and what did you learn from it?
To be honest, I feel like I have little flop eras on a weekly basis. I am very much in the trial-and-error stage of my career. There are moments where I feel like a total star, like I have it all together and my career is really moving. Then something will come out of nowhere and remind me I know nothing. The music I made in 2021 felt so iconic at the time, now I look back and cringe. I’m happy that’s the case though — a nice balance between flop and slay is what keeps me hungry to be better.
What queer pop culture moment defined your childhood?
LADY GAGA. Full stop. I know I was an early teen when she hit the world but her whole career was a queer pop culture moment to me and it galvanized me to the core. Being a little monster is how I learned to love myself. There is no comparison to the feeling blasting her songs gave little gay me.
Who is a queer pop culture creator that deserves to be better recognized?
I think my queerbies doing BIG pop music at the level of these main pop girls all deserve more mainstream success. Being an indie artist is the hardest thing in the world & there are so many artists who are killing it right now. My current favs you need to be streaming would be: LEXXE, Lagoona Bloo, ZEE MACHINE, Gregory Dillon, and Madison Rose.
What do you think queer pop culture needs more of now?
I think queer pop culture is immaculate. As a gay man with perfectly curated queer Twitter (X)/Insta/TikTok feeds I can proudly say queer pop culture is fierce. Nothing makes me laugh harder and feel prouder than to see every day queer creators making content that is authentically of our community. BUT, if I have to be negative for a sec, I’d say it could benefit a bit from a little more love and inclusivity — but that’s the world as a whole right now.
Stream more of Bentley Robles’ pop prince goodness:
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