Betty Who Returning With 'Self-Assured' Sophomore Album in 2017
"I feel like I’m this completely different person,” says the “Somebody Loves You” star.
Two years removed from her 2014 debut album Take Me When You Go, Betty Who is at long last putting the finishing touches on her follow-up, which she’s been readying basically since her first LP was released.
“I’m finishing the songs that I have production notes on and mixing everything,” the Australian singer-songwriter tells Billboard. "Everything should be done by Christmas. The track list is set. It’s happening! It’s been so long and I’ve been making it for so long. I’m in a weird sort of disbelief -- we’re actually going to finish this album!”
Indeed, the 25-year-old pop star is hoping that 2017 keeps her busy, after she broke out with the dance-pop hit “Somebody Loves You” in 2014 and spent most of last year on the road. Since then, Who (real name: Jess Newham) has moved to Los Angeles, gotten into a serious relationship (her boyfriend-related social media posts are both adoring and adorable) and experienced the personal growth that she says naturally comes when you enter your mid-20s.
“On this album, there’s still grieving about my last relationship, or talking about friendships that have fallen apart over the past couple of years due to the nature of my job -- but I also think it’s much more self-assured,” she says. "I think that I have really learned a lot about myself, as any 25-year-old person does. The difference between who you are when you’re 22 and who you are when you’re 25 is not just some casual difference. I feel like I’m just this completely different person.”
Who has released two songs this year: a warm, electronic cover of Donna Lewis’ “I Love You Always Forever” and, more recently, the dynamic dance track “Human Touch,” which will be included on her sophomore album. With a new lyric video featuring a stripped-down version of “Human Touch” and the album ready to be wrapped up, Who is eyeing a spring release for her next album and hopes to start touring in the weeks following the release.
"It makes sense to me to put out ‘Human Touch’ first [from the album], because it is quite different from the first record,” she says. “But I think the biggest sonic difference on this album is that I really wanted to sound like a singer. On the first album the vocals were very wash-y, it was indie, and I was trying to be cool. And that’s great, that I did that! But I’m a pop musician. I write pop songs. We dressed them up as indie-pop, but when you break down ‘Somebody Loves You,’ it’s a pop song. So I wanted that to be what the record was.”
Along with longtime collaborator Peter Thomas, Who recruited Pop & Oak, Mstr Rogers and Robopop for her second full-length, after playing a round of “speed-dating of producers around L.A.” She’s also making her voice heard behind-the-scenes on her next album, learning the process two years ago.
"I’m not exactly soft-spoken about anything -- I wonder if people are like, ‘This bitch over here…,’” she says with a laugh. "If I have a vision, I’m not quiet about it. On this record, it was a little bit of almost redemption for me, for all the times I didn’t get to make the artistic choices that I wanted to. I can’t wait for people to hear that."