Betty Who is herself breaking musical boundaries, but shes credited the K-pop music scene, and the internet, for allowing artists to get more creative and for music lovers to find their own freedom.
The singer, who has a huge following in Australia and the US, is hitting the UK pop scene hard with her new EP Betty, and with an ethos of having freedom and encouraging her fans to be comfortable in her own skin, its an uplifting, vibey record thatll help turn a bad day around.
Shes toured with both Katy Perry and Kylie, and taken their advice on board, so this lady knows a thing or two about pop – and her music is good old fashioned pure pop, with a heavy 80s vibe, but its quirky and a bit different, a bit like her.
If what Im preaching is that everyone should be who they want to be, just be yourself, and that means I should walk the walk too, and put out music Im excited about, she told us.
She credits a lot of the current musical freedom to the sudden uprising in popularity of K-pop in the western world and the fact the internet allows us to find our own tunes, rather than being told what to listen to, as well as the fact BTS are bringing performance back to music.
I love K-Pop, and I love BTS – I was watching the Billboard and I couldnt believe them. Theyve been around forever just not in the American market and them performing at the Billboards, especially with a song thats not English, its amazing, she said.
The internet has done that to us! Betty, real name Jessica Anne Newham, added. Now we can access all kinds of music and its not just what people tell us now. It used to just be the radio and youd get told whats good, now people have so much more free reign to decide what they like.
A K-pop band could not have had a half English have Korean song performed at the Billboards five years ago. Especially 10 years ago. Its the first time the world has seen it, and I love how performance driven they are.
Betty is a huge fan of acts who perform their tracks, as she herself makes sure to bring a full performance to the stage – something else BTS have helped revive.
It really excites me, some people get up on stage for a couple of minutes and theyre done and its like, cool thats your thing. Its not bad its just how it is. Then BTS get up there and theyre choreographed to within an inch of their lives and its such a production and performance, thats what excites me.
Betty has a huge LGBTQ+ following, largely because shes all about encouraging others to be who they are, and it led to her recently revamping the theme for Netflixs Queer Eye with a video featuring the guys from the show.
Its important for me to clear a space for people to come and be themselves, she said of her fans. People to come and enjoy the show and have fun with their friends. Everyone has shit that goes on, the good the bad and the ugly. My favourite thing anyone says to me is when they say Ive had a shit day, Ive put on your music and its made me feel awesome. Thats the biggest compliment.
She added that she felt the backlash Rita Ora received for her track about her sexuality was unfair.
I feel like its really hard especially in this day and age when everybody has the right to express an opinion, she said. Especially as an artist you dont make music to be politically correct you make it to express feeling, and maybe the feeling was I had to get drunk to make out with a girl because I was afraid to do it. Its her truth. And then everyones like fuck you and its not really fair.
Bettys new record isnt just pop, in her own words its a roller coaster of sound, because why would we want it to all sound the same?!
I want it to be a roller coaster of my musical boundaries, she said.
There are twp new songs on the EP, Just thought You Should Know and Friend Like Me, with tracks Taste, Look Back and Ignore Me also featuring.
Betty Part 2 will be released in the autumn.
Shes taken inspiration from both Katy Perry and Kylie Minogue during her career, both of whom shes toured with and had the chance to spend a bit of time.
God I learned so much, she said of working with Katy, Ive always wanted to do an arena tour and thats been my dream, and to have seen how much has to go into her show and how hard she has to work, she works fucking hard. Its 2.5 hours.
Betty once spent a day chilling on a yacht with Katy: She rented a yacht on Sydney harbour. This was awesome. We spent the day out there. I think she was so tired because shed already been out for a year and had another year to go. It opened my eyes to how hard you have to work to do this thing that I love.
Kylie Minogue also gave her some of her time, chatting about her experience with chemo after her breast cancer, and giving her advice on her career.
For 10-15 minutes she sat in my dressing room and that was the coolest thing that ever happened to me. She was paying it forward, Betty said.
She was totally down to earth and humble, and her show was so fun. Shes mastered playing a show that is perfect for her.
We chatted about the tour, shed just come back from chemo and told me how emotional it was. We chatted about her experience, her journey.
Betty began her career as a cellist before switching to singing after her music teacher insisted her vocals were too good to waste.
I put out my first record at 20 and Im 26 now, she said. Ive been chugging a long for a while making it happen.
Betty Part 1 is out now and you can get it here.