Betty Who has always had a strong sense of independence.
Those early bops were self-released, with the Australian artist's viral success paving the way for others to follow.
New album 'Betty' might be her defining moment, a challenging pop experience that ripples with empowerment.
Betty Who kindly penned a full Track By Track guide for Clash readers, and she told us: Making 'Betty' has been one of the greatest experiences of my life.
Incredibly challenging but so rewarding and I’m so excited to finally be sharing it. There are a lot of different stories on this record so I hope these provide some more insight on it.
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'Old Me' was that song that was either gonna be the first song on the record or not be on it at all. It felt like the perfect opener to announce this new chapter in my life. I wanted to write something that felt powerful, to represent how it feels when you come out of a bad relationship or experience on the other side and you’re so proud of yourself and you finally feel like maybe you’ll be okay.
This album for me also was made very similarly to how I wrote my first record: locking myself in a basement (or in this album’s case, a pool house) with my homies making music we think is awesome. It’s empowering to be the only person holding yourself accountable to making the best record you can. This song is a celebration of that power.
Do With It
'Do With It' was the last song to get finished on the record but one of the first to get written. I sometimes (okay... a LOT of the time) get really picky over a song being perfect and we went through what feels like ten thousand versions of this song. I always know a song is important when I can immediately see a music video for it the day we write it.
This is one of the songs I’m the most excited about performing live, too. My band is so talented, they’ve been with me since the very beginning and I like making music I think will excite them. And of course, my dream finally came true: I got the key change I’ve always wanted. I felt like Celine Dion. Or Jojo.
Just Thought You Should Know
'Just Thought You Should Know' is one of the songs I’m the most proud of in my career. I’m really emotional (duh) and in relationships sometimes it’s impossible to share that with someone who doesn’t feel the same way about you, even if they did at one time in your lives.
These lyrics feel like they came right out of my diary. I’ve been in this situation so many times. Being second choice to someone who has only ever been your first choice is heartbreaking, and you don’t want to cause trouble in their lives but sometimes you just have to say how you feel, even if it’s drunkenly at 3am. This song was on my EP that came out earlier last year and seeing everyone’s faces singing the words back to me affirmed that this song was really special.
'I Remember' is my ode to true love. Real love. Imperfect love. I’ve written a lot about being hurt or judged or misunderstood - but I have been lucky enough to find a partner who loves me through all of the bad stuff. And I love them through all of their bad stuff. Not ever wondering if it’s over because you had one stupid fight... Knowing you’re going to make it through because you’re together.
I didn’t know how much work it took to be in a relationship until I was in the right one, but it’s worth all of that hard work because of the partnership you give each other. There are a couple songs on this record that are dedicated to the security I’ve found in my relationship. It’s been one of the only things that got me through the last few years. I also want my legacy as an artist to be one of joy and love. I think we need more of that in the world. So I’ve been trying to share more of that.
'Marry Me' was written at a writing camp in Norway in the dead of winter, of all places. I remember finishing the session and running to call my manager and tell him I was in love with this song I’d just written. I was talking to Evan Bogart, a writer I’ve looked up to and always wanted to work with. He was engaged and planning his wedding and my now-fiancé and I had been talking about maybe getting married.
There was all this excited energy in the room and Evan and I decided to write the ultimate marriage anthem. In my time as an artist, a lot of people have shared their wedding videos and stories with me because they either walked down the aisle or had their first dance to one of my songs, so I thought I’d put something out that was perfect for any wedding. I love nothing more than being a part of people’s love stories. It puts the biggest smile on my face and reminds me of the reason I wanted to be an artist in the first place.
'Language' was one of the only songs I’ve ever heard and gone “omg I want to sing that song”. I obviously write all my own music and rarely hear songs that have been written/started without me and feel like I could perform the shit out if, but I heard the beginning version of it from my long-time collaborator and I immediately told him I wanted to be a part of it.
It was one of the last songs to be added to the album so by the time we finally got into the studio to work on it, I was chomping at the bit to make it mine. It’s sassy and sexy and so fun to sing. This is another song I can’t wait to perform for everyone.
'Taste' was LITERALLY written about a Norwegian candy. I am not kidding. I was in the studio talking about how my deeply unhealthy relationship to food was ten times worse in the middle of the night and ESPECIALLY with chocolate.
Then the two Norwegian men in the room were like... “well if you like chocolate, you’re gonna die for these” and they ran to 7/11 in the middle of the session to buy me and the other writer J these chocolate covered salty treats that were horrible yet also SO DELICIOUS. We ate one... then two... then the whole bag was gone. So we wrote a sexy song about it.
All This Woman
Speaking of sexy songs, 'All This Woman' is definitely the sexiest song I’ve ever written. It started with the chorus - I wanted to write a body-positive, incredibly confident song about how crazy anyone would be to not celebrate every inch of me (or any woman, for that matter).
I always joke with my friends about how playing hard to get really doesn’t work on me. The second somebody isn’t into me I immediately lose interest, so this song is my almost overly-confident anthem for every woman who knows what she wants and is determined to get it.
Between You And Me
'Between You And Me' really makes me emotional. Similarly to 'Just Thought You Should Know', it’s a story that I feel like I’ve told over and over again. The tension between friends that can grow and infest every silence or lingering smile can consume you. This song is sort of like my inner monologue of everything I wish I could say to that person when you’re in that feeling. Plus I’ve been watching a lot of Parks and Rec and it feels like Leslie and Ben’s anthem before they get together.
'Ignore Me' was the first song I wrote after getting out of my record deal. I was sitting in the studio with Leland and telling him stories about my experiences over the last few years and as I was talking he stopped me and said “you just said our title - 'Ignore Me'. You can ignore me.” And the song was written about an hour later. I wanted it to be applicable to any relationship that didn’t go the way you wanted it to.
With this song more than most I feel like I’d be heard from so many fans saying “that is my anthem to my ex” and I love that. I love writing songs that can help somebody move on, because that’s what they do for me too while I’m writing them.
'Whisper' was the last song we finished at the Palm Springs house. I think we all avoided it at the beginning because we didn’t know how we wanted it to sound or feel. There were so many directions we could have taken it. When Pretty Sister and Peter finally sat down to work with the production, I was in the other studio cutting vocals for 'Do With It'.
When I came back in a couple hours later to check on them it was a totally different song to what it was before and it felt perfect. It was a tough egg to crack but I credit the boys with this one, they really hashed it out.
'The One' is probably my favourite song on the record. They’re all my children and I’m not supposed to have favourites but man do I love this song. It’s a song I’ve been wanted to write for years so for this record I finally went in with Peter and Pretty Sister and was like... “listen guys. I want a song that makes me feel like the love child that Britney and Justin never had.” It was the music that I grew up on and to this day still some of my favourite music in the world.
It has influenced me for so long that I wanted to pay tribute to that era of pop. I used to be upset when I was a kid that I wasn’t a boy because it meant I couldn’t be in a boy band. I didn’t want to be in a girl band. I wanted to be in a boy band. So... this one’s for you 10 year old Betty Who.
Stop Thinking About You
Even though this song isn’t really a ballad, it’s the closest song to a ballad on the record for me. It’s about a lot of things, but especially losing the love of your life. It’s so hard for me to think about if something happened to my fiance. During this session I tried to imagine what my life would be if I couldn’t be with him and this song was born. Listing all these impossible things that are never going to happen... when pigs fly? That’s when I’ll be able to get over you.
It’s the saddest song on the record by far but it felt really important to share that feeling. It also reminds me how grateful I am for the love and life I have now. Making this record has given me a lot of space for gratitude and pride and I’m really excited about it all.
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'Betty' is out now.
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