Betty Who Talks Reinvention, Allyship, & Her Latest Album The Valley

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Taylor Henderson

Australian singer-songwriter Betty Who is back on the music scene, glossier and more wonderful than ever, with her impressive sophomore album The Valley.

Featuring a wide range of bubbly pop hits, the new record includes tracks like "Some Kinda Wonderful," the eclectic disco wonderland of your dreams, "I Love You Always Forever," a remake of the 1997 Donna Lewis classic, "Wanna Be," an unrequited love story in the same vein as Robyn's "Dancing On My Own," and "Mama Say," a playful bass-driven ode to Britney Spears, which Who says is her favorite song on the album.

The Valley showcases a much more self-assured songwriter than its predecessor, Take Me When You Go, and boasts a glossy, confident pop star who is ready for the limelight. "It's so different mostly just because I feel so different. [TMWYG] was the entire beginning of my career," she explained during an exclusive interview with PRIDE. "And this feels so much like the beginning of a second chapter."

Who also penned a self-professed love song to the LGBTQ community titled "Beautiful" that was inspired by tragedy.

"I woke up and the Orlando Pulse shooting had happened the night before," she recalled. "I saw the CNN update on my phone and burst into tears first thing in the morning."

She went into the studio that day feeling heartbroken, and after being unable to record through the flurry of emotions, she decided to put them into a song. "Enough," she told herself. "Let's do something positive. Let's make it beautiful. Let's make art that makes people feel good about themselves and feel happy."

"Looking in the mirror/Staring at my enemy/Every day's a battle/With the girl in front of me," Who sings over a funky bass line and hard-hitting beat. "On your worst day, you're still beautiful/So goddamn beautiful."

"I wanted to do something for not only a community I have loved and felt so a part of forever, but for me, on those days where I feel really shitty about myself and everything kind of seems like it's wrong," she said.

Betty Who first burst onto the music scene in 2013 when a gay marriage proposal using her song "Somebody Loves You" went massively viral. And earlier this year, she was featured in Troye Sivan's music video for "Heaven," a touching nod to LGBT activism that the gay superstar calls "the most important song" of his career.

"I'm so jealous of the people who wrote ["Heaven"] because I think it's so important." Who said. "It's such a beautiful way to say something that has been said before but maybe not as honestly or as candidly. I've sang it with him at his shows, and every time I perform it with him I really feel how special he makes people feel and how he is creating space for young people to know 'there are people out there like me, who have gone before me and are successful and are fabulous and are loved for who they are.'"

So what does the pop star want fans to take away from her new album?

"I hope that people will listen to the album and go '"Mama Say" reminds me of that time that me and all my friends got drunk together before this girl's birthday party' but then '"Blue Heaven Midnight Crush" reminds me of that time when I was driving with this boy that I'm completely in love with.' Little pieces of everybody's lives, that's all I want to be a part of. I want to write the soundtrack to those moments."

The Valley is out now on iTunes.


 

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