Chasing some Tunes…


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Taste – Betty Who

Australian-born pop singer Betty Who makes vivacious yet bittersweet music that calls to mind divas such as Whitney Houston, Robyn, and Katy Perry. Born Jessica Anne Newham in Sydney, she began playing cello, piano, and guitar as a child, and moved to America with her parents when she was a teenager to attend the Interlochen Center for the Arts performing arts school. She then went to the Berklee College of Music for more training as a cellist, but really wanted to focus on being a singer/songwriter (she began performing her own songs at age 16). While at Berklee, she met producer Peter Thomas, and the pair began writing and recording material together. Drawing inspiration from the songwriting skills of Joni Mitchell and Carole King and the epic synth pop of M83 and MGMT, they came up with a sound that was equally nostalgic and contemporary on songs like “Somebody Loves You,” which Who wrote shortly after Houston’s death. The song became the first single from Who’s self-released debut EP, The Movement, which arrived in April 2013. A year later, she returned with the Slow Dancing EP, a slightly more polished effort that found Who expanding on her brassy style with R&B-inspired production and more introspective songwriting. In October 2014, Who released her first full-length, Take Me When You Go, which featured production by Thomas as well as Starsmith, Claude Kelly, and Martin Johnson. After spending much of 2015 on the road, she returned in 2016 with a soulful cover of Donna Lewis’ 1996 single “I Love You Always Forever” that charted in Australia and the U.S., and that November’s tropical-tinged “Human Touch.” Who reunited with Thomas and also worked with producers including Pop & Oak, Mstr Rogers, and Robopop on her second album, 2017’s The Valley, which reflected her move to L.A. and found her experimenting with a variety of styles. She continued the following year with the single “Ignore Me.” ~ Heather Phares