I’m in love and for once it is something other than vegan food. Welcome to a music post with a vegan twist!
One of my hobbies is to troll around the Internet looking for music that tickles my fancy. I adore finding songs that speak to me. During my latest round of musical exploration I stumbled upon a track that was so instantly catchy, I had to walk out of the room and re-enter to make sure I wasn’t imagining things. The song I am referring to is Somebody Loves You by the artist Betty Who.
I am quickly discovering that the Australian-born, USA-residing Betty Who writes and delivers tunes that are smart, poppy, loveable and catchy as all get-out. Her powerhouse vocals take her songs to a level above the current cache of throwaway dance tracks and her Aussie twang instantly sets her apart from other vocalists.
Check out the song that has got me going weak at the knees for Betty Who (available as a free download!) before scrolling down to read my interview with the talented singer in which she shares her love of Kylie Minogue, vegan cupcakes and being an independent artist.
Fat Gay Vegan interviews Betty Who
Fat Gay Vegan: Let’s start at the very beginning. Betty is such a well known first name but Who not so popular for a last name. What do the readers need to know to feel up to speed with your life so far?
Betty Who: Essentially I am an Australian born and bred, California frequenter, East coast resider kind of girl who grew up playing cello then decided to write songs about boys. The name “Betty Who” came from a song I had written and titled as such, but then it was just too good I had to use it for myself.
FGV: Growing up in Australia certainly shapes people in different ways. In what ways has/does Australia influence what you do as an artist?
BW: I think the most obvious way it influences my music is probably the way in which I sing my lyrics. I talk with a kind of mangled Oz-merican accent and I’ve always believed that you should perform in the most honest way you can. Even though I grew up listening to American pop music, once I started writing my own songs I decided I didn’t want to imitate an American accent in my lyrics. Apart from that, I think growing up around Australian artists like Kylie Minogue, Sia, even on a smaller scale Tammin Sursok (“Pointless Relationship” was my jam) totally shaped and informed my music now. I want to eventually do a cover of “Hand On Your Heart” by Kylie in my live show.
FGV: I tweeted a link to your insanely catchy single Somebody Loves You and you got straight back to me to say thanks. How crucial do you see this level of listener/artist interaction these days?
BW: As an independent artist I think there’s nothing more important. I am doing everything on my own, with the help of some incredibly talented artists and business people of course, but I don’t have a record company funding or controlling my aesthetic/sound. So everything I do is an honest representation or who I am to my core. If someone enjoys my music or likes my videos, they are taking a sincere interest in who I am, which is more than I could ever ask for. I have to be so grateful for that. Thanking as many people as I can who tell me they like the music is possibly the most important thing I’ll do in any given day.
FGV: One of the things that struck me about the new single, as well as the previous release Fire With Fire, was your killer vocals. I can imagine you in a dimly-lit lounge bar doing soul covers! Do you ever venture outside the fabulous world of intelligent indie dance pop and try your hand at other genres?
BW: Oh I’m so glad you think so! I started off by writing singer/songwriter music in the same style as Joni Mitchell or Sara Bareilles which lends itself so well to a smoky bar in the basement of a church in Brooklyn. Just recently I spent some time in a Reggae band and before that I was in an R&B band where my specialty was singing “Shining Star” by Earth, Wind and Fire. Singing all types of music is one of my favourite things to do and I think I will not only explore that in my live show, but also as time passes and I have more freedom as an artist because people already know what “Betty Who” music sounds like.
FGV: If you invited me over for vegan snacks and soda pop, what music would we listen to? Who is on the Who stereo?
BW: Vegan snacks are my FAVOURITE type of snacks! I think we’d be munchin’ on a Whole Foods vegan cupcake and listening to anything from Chet Baker to Baauer, Harry Connick Jr. (who will sing at my wedding I’ve decided) to Kimbra, Diplo to Michael Jackson, the list goes on really. I have been jamming pretty hard to the new Rihanna album specifically. That, and I really like the new One Direction single “Kiss You”, but don’t tell anyone.
FGV: You mentioned in a tweet that you are vegan. As this blog revolves around being vegan, I am sure the readers would love to know your thoughts on choosing a vegan diet.
BW: I became vegan about a year and a half ago after reading the Jonathan Safran Foer book “Eating Animals”. I had been vegetarian for about five years at that point but it is true what they say: ignorance is most certainly bliss. Once I read in horrific detail what the factory farm industry is really like, I couldn’t continue to fund it. I do have a pair of leather boots that I refuse to give up though so I will admit I am a hypocritical vegan. My father likes to remind me often in hopes I’ll give it all up and eat his homemade chicken curry with him again.
FGV: Back to the music. If people like what you do, what can they look forward to in the near future? Album? Gigs? Celebrity perfume?
BW: Although the idea of a celebrity perfume is quite tempting (I think it would smell like cookies – I’d like to think smelling edible is always a good thing), I think for right now the most important part of my career is getting my EP ready for it’s release date along side my EP release shows I’ll be playing with my band. We’re about to start rehearsals and I’m pretty sure it’s about to get real stanky.
FGV: Last question, but possibly the most important. Gaga has Little Monsters. Slipknot has Maggots. Even Barry Manilow has Fanilows. Who does Betty Who have? (Please note that Whovians is already taken by Doctor Who fans)
BW: My father is a serious Whovian so I don’t know if he’ll ever let that term go, but the name that has been so endearingly coined by several of my friends/fans is “Who Crew”. One particular friend of mine likes to yell it like a gang name in the middle of the street when I pass her. I’m hoping she’ll get it tattooed on stomach in the style of the Tupac “Thug Life” tattoo.
I love my pop idols vegan, don’t you?!
Check out these links to make sure you get in on the ground floor with Betty Who before she skyrockets to fame and glory.