After earning blog buzz when her debut single “Somebody Loves You” was released late last year, Australia native Betty Who will self-release her fantastic first EP, “The Movement,” next Tuesday (Apr. 16). For those looking for new auteurs of starry-eyed electro-pop, you’re in luck: check out the four-song release one week early, exclusively on Billboard.com’s Pop Shop:
Betty Who always knew that she wanted to be a musician — in high school, she headed to the States to play classical cello at Interlochen Center for the Arts. “I never fit in within the classical world,” Who tells Billboard. “I didn’t have enough discipline with cello — I wanted to play because I loved it, not because I had to.”
Soon she switched to writing pop songs about teenage boys, and once she met producer Peter Thomas, a musical career was given a foundation. The four songs that comprise “The Movement” were written at various points in 2012: “Somebody Loves You,” for instance, was written right after Whitney Houston passed away in February of last year, and Who tried to honor the pop superstar while drawing upon a recent breakup. “When we were writing it, I had had enough distance from that relationship to have a moment where I could say, ‘Okay, not everything was bad,'” she says of the bubbly single.
The songs on “The Movement” shimmer with a self-assuredness extremely uncommon in an unsigned artist issuing her first EP: “High Society” twirls around a handful of arresting hooks, while the ballad “Right Here” teases a technicolor crescendo to release its quiet tension. While Who and her manager have been approached with label and publishing deals, the singer-songwriter is more than happy to be making music on her own terms for now.
“I want to stay unsigned for as long as I can,” she says. “I’m very aware that radio play is something that comes along with being a signed artist, and that would be the dream. But I think for right now, the music industry is changing — you hear people like Macklemore get on the radio without a record deal, and Hoodie Allen is selling out halls with 5,000 people… If I can find a way to continue getting my music as far-spread as I can, I don’t need a label.”
Following the Apr. 16 release of “The Movement,” Who will perform at a release show in her current hometown, Boston, on Apr. 18, alongside French Horn Rebellion. A New York show will follow on May 3, and the singer is in negotiations with a booking agent, with an eye fixed on a potential summer tour as she continues writing new songs with Thomas.
What do you think of Betty Who’s “The Movement” EP? Give it another listen and sound off below.