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7 July 2016, 12:54
Betty sang on Troye Sivan's 'Heaven' and now she's ready to hit the big time.
If the name sounds familiar, that's because Betty has already made quite the name for herself in certain circles. Not only has she worked with our precious Troye Sivan but also her music was once featured in a viral video. Her music is often compared to Katy Perry and that's no bad thing in our book.
Her latest single has been on constant repeat on the PopBuzz office stereo, so we thought it was time to get to know her a bit better. Let's start from the beginning.
Betty Who, but that's not her real name. Jessica Anne Newham, as her parents know her, was born in Sydney, Australia in 1991. She started music early, learning to play the cello from the age of four. She received classical training and taught herself piano and guitar. After moving to America when she was 16 to study music, she ended up in Boston a few years later where she met her songwriting partner Peter Thomas, who she still writes with today. The name Betty Who came from a character from a song they wrote together.
After releasing a number of EPs, Betty's career stepped up a notch when her song, the Madonna-esque ‘Somebody Loves You’ was used on a wedding proposal video that went viral. The YouTube clip features Spencer Reeser-Stout, a resident of Salt Lake City, propose to his boyfriend in front of a flash mob dance troupe at a Home Depot store. The video has been watched 13.5 million times. Eventually, the couple got married at the 2014 Grammy Awards with 32 other same-sex couples (which Madonna officiated!) Betty sang at their private ceremony not long afterwards. How cute!
Her debut album ‘Take Me When You Go’ was released in 2014 and earned her a devout following, particularly among the LGBTQ community. Troye Sivan was a big fan, so much so he asked Betty to jump on ‘Blue Neighborhood’ track, ‘Heaven’.
The song is about Troye's journey of self-acceptance when he started to think he might be gay. He said of the song, "When I first started to realize that I might be gay, I had to ask myself all of these questions, these really really terrifying questions. You know, ‘Am I ever gonna find someone?’ ‘Am I ever gonna be able to have a family?’ ‘If there is a God, does that God hate me?’ ‘If there is a heaven, am I ever gonna make it to heaven?" But then Troye experienced a deeper revelation. "If there is a heaven but I can't be myself up there, then maybe I don't want heaven."
This is one of our favourites from the album and features Betty's beautiful vocals on one of the verse. The song was produced by Jack Antonoff, who produced parts of Taylor Swift's behemoth ‘1989’. Could Troye return the favour on a Betty Who track? We bloody hope so.
To keep fans ticking over while she’s working on her new album, last month Who dropped a cover of the Donna Lewis classic ‘I Love You Always Forever’. Speaking to SPIN, Betty revealed why she picked the song.
"It's one of those songs that you don't know, and when you hear it you go, ‘Ah I know this song,'” Who says over the phone. “I think those are the best ones to cover because it still feels fresh and it still feels new but there's such a deep familiarity about it that you can't get."
But don't expect to see the song on an album any time soon. "I am a little worried about people thinking this is the first single. I'm such a writer. I'm such an artiste that I'm so concerned about putting out my story specifically, and this is Donna's story. For me, it's redirected attention, wanting to go, ‘Hey guys, I promise I’m not dead.”
Betty has been working hard on the follow up to Take Me When You Go, recording 40 potential tracks already! She has a little more time left with writing and hopes to have it all completed by August. She's been working with Thomas again as well as song-writing duo Pop & Oak (Alessia Cara's 'Here' and Nicki Minaj's 'The Crying Game') and Justin Tranter, who co-wrote the Orlando Charity single 'Hands' which features Troye Sivan and Halsey and dozens of awesome artists (check it out here).
When will the album actually drop? Who knows! (Well she probably doesn't just yet, actually). But if 'I Love You Always Forever' is anything to go on, then we can expect a luscious, electro-pop masterpiece before Christmas. Bangers for days.