Back with a fierce independence, Betty Who is gearing up to unveil her latest single ‘Ignore Me’ which the dance-pop artist describes as “an ode to my new freedom.” Her feisty and powerful anthems gained exposure after a marriage proposal to her song ‘Somebody Loves You’ went viral on YouTube, and now she’s following on from the success of her second album ‘The Valley’. “I think Ignore Me is the first of many songs that will be conflicting and contradictory and fun and strange”, explains the Australian singer. Behind the music, Betty Who exudes defiance and passion. She’s headstrong yet she’s aware her musical exploration is far from finished. “I’m constantly on a journey of self-discovery, and I’m working on trying to be my most authentic self.” Here she chats to House of Solo about her life, her music and her love for Kylie Minogue.
I wanted to really rewind to the very beginning. How did you first begin in music growing up?
I started playing cello when I was four years old, so I started pretty young. I dabbled in a lot of instruments and choirs my whole childhood but really put most of my focus into cello. I ended up at a performing arts high school for classical cello when I was fifteen and studied there until I went to Berklee for singing and songwriting.
Can you tell us more about the proposal video on YouTube that featured your song Somebody Loves You? Did you know about the video? Not going to lie, it really warmed my heart!
I didn’t know about the video until I saw it and it totally warms my heart too! I saw it for the first time sitting getting my hair done in Boston, and sat there and cried. My hairdresser thought I was a psychopath.
You have a great deal of support from the LGBT community, why do you feel that your music connects with that community in particular?
I think a large part of the identity of the LGBT community is about being yourself and I think a lot of my music embodies that. I’m constantly on a journey of self-discovery, and I’m working on trying to be my most authentic self. I’ve been able to share that with my fans through my music.
How did you develop your own sound? How did you get to that point where you thought ‘yep, this is me and this is my music?
You know, I only had one moment that was like that. The first time I heard Somebody Loves You produced, Peter had sent it to me with an email saying “I think we found it”. I listened to it and was ecstatic, finally feeling like I had this song that excited me and made me want to dance and have fun. I had a tendency to make sad love songs, and I was tired of it.
I feel as though your music is of course fun, but also has a sense of empowerment and defiance to it and from following social media, I noticed you seem to surround yourself with positive, empowering and passionate people (Sophia Bush, Shay Mitchell and many more). How do the people in your life inspire your music?
I’m constantly inspired by my friends and family, but most of the stories I tell are my own. Family is definitely the most important part of my life by far so I think my heart has been so opened by the unwavering support and love and community those people provide me with. In the end, I really just want to make music that makes my family proud and makes my friends wanna dance.
You’ve had great success with your previous albums and Eps with Slow Dancing reaching No.1 on the iTunes chart. How did you feel when you discovered that it went to iTunes No.1?
I was in an airport waiting on a delayed flight, stressed beyond all belief trying to get to a show on time and then there it was. Numbers and stats are so weird that way. They’re supposed to be a gauge of your success but it feels so far away sometimes. Here is this big life moment, and I’m stuck in Vancouver panicking that I won’t make a show. It was pretty exciting though, I think I screamed in the airport when I saw it.
Having toured with some great artists (Katy Perry, Keisza) what’s been the most important piece of advice that you’ve carried with you?
Kylie Minogue sat with me for a few minutes and we chatted and I was so struck by her kindness, the fun she has on stage, how much everyone loves her… I learned in that moment that no matter who tries to hold you back, even if someone is awful right to your face, it is always in your best interest to be kind and love what you do. What’s the point of doing what we do if you’re not having fun?
Lets talk about Ignore Me! What a great track! Can you tell us more about the single, how it came about and the story behind it?
I love this song so much, it’s my first song that I’m releasing as an independent artist and I’m so proud of it. This is a whole new chapter of my career so I wanted to lead with a song that felt like me. It holds such a special place in my heart, and is sort of an ode to my new freedom.
How does ‘Ignore Me’ follow on from your previous album, ‘The Valley’?
This is the best part of my new independence: I don’t have to make albums if I don’t want to. I can put out songs when they’re ready and when I want to share them. It’s a whole new world for me, and I think Ignore Me is the first of many songs that will be conflicting and contradictory and fun and strange. I finally get to have complete creative control and give music directly to my fans.
Have you got any plans for a music video for ‘Ignore Me’? Any hints as to what we can expect to see?
We are filming the music video very soon! I want to play with light and dark and symbolism a lot. I want to leave it up to interpretation, so you can take what you want from it
Can we expect to see another album any time soon?
I have absolutely no idea and that’s the best part!
I know this is a tough one, but which of your tracks so far would you say are the most personal ones to you and why?
That’s an IMPOSSIBLE question to answer but if I have to pick one: Just Like Me is still one of my favourites. It was so honest and sort of just flowed out of me in the studio (which is rare). I felt like a vessel delivering the story I was supposed to.
From your career so far, what has been the most memorable moment for you?
Singing for and meeting President Obama. Hands down.
Finally, what’s on the horizon for you in 2018?
So much is up in the air right now, all of it exciting, all of it completely uncharted territory. I have nothing but joy and passion to give leading into this year.
Ignore Me by Betty Who is out now. https://bettywho.lnk.to/ignoremePR