A GoPride Interview

Betty Who

You better know Betty Who and her gay anthem "Somebody Loves You"

Wed. June 18, 2014  by Jerry Nunn

It is really special for me to see so many people that know the words to it.
Betty Who

You better know Betty Who and her gay anthem "Somebody Loves You"

Australian-import Betty Who is heading back into town and this time she's bringing her tunes to Boystown.

The 22-year-old blond bombshell was named by Elle Magazine as "Your Next Pop Obsession" and TIME Magazine as one of 14 Musical Acts to Watch in 2014. Her upbeat anthem "Somebody Loves You" was featured in a wedding proposal video by Spencer Stout and Dustin Reeser. The romantic video and song went viral and was viewed by millions.

Her latest EP Slow Dancing, which hit No. 1 on the iTunes pop music charts when released in April, has the New York City-based singer touring around the world.

ChicagoPride.com's Jerry Nunn caught up with Betty Who to discuss her upcoming Chicago Pride Fest appearance and why gay men are in love with her.

JN: (Jerry Nunn) Hi, Betty. Are you out in the middle of the road?

BW: (Betty Who) I'm literally in the van right now. I think we are stuck in traffic.

JN: Where are you heading?

BW: We just finished in Nashville and we are heading to Ohio right now.

JN: Nashville is my hometown.

BW: No way. Nashville is amazing. We had the best time there.

JN: How was it?

BW: It was great. We played at Nashville Pride, which was in and of itself pretty amazing. We had a great time. We then had a day off so we didn't do anything all day. It was exactly what we needed.

JN: Back in my day the Pride parade in Nashville was two same sex people walking down the street holding hands while people gawked.

BW: This is the first time they have had this in a big open space before.

JN: Now we need to get gay marriage down there.

BW: I know, right?

JN: You are coming to Chicago Pride Fest and I imagine you will be performing "Somebody Loves You." Does it have more emotion after becoming a gay anthem?

BW: People ask me that all the time but I don't think of it that way because I have had such a long history with the song. It is really special for me to see so many people that know the words to it. That's definitely new for me and the amount of people. I think when we were in DC we played for a couple of thousands of people and so many of them knew the words to "Somebody Loves You." It was one of those moments that you will look back on and remember how it felt.

JN: Tell me about that varsity jacket you wore at your last Chicago show at Lincoln Hall.

BW: The one that I was wearing during the show was a letterman jacket that was custom made that RCA got us. I have one that is red, white, and blue, felt and leather letterman jacket. The rest of the band has white cardigans that say BW on the side. For the encore of that show I have one particular fan that has tweeted me when I had only a hundred followers a long time ago. Her name is Bailey and we had to ask the venue for special acceptance for her to come to the show because she is only 16 and it is a 21 and over show. Her and her mom came and showed up with a jacket that she had made me and her so we had matching ones. It was a denim jacket that she had painted my logo on the back and put diamonds all around it. For the encore I came out in that.

JN: That's sweet. It was great meeting your family backstage.

BW: They are the best. They were just on tour for a couple of shows so we played at Interlochen where they live. I am going to be there before we have a show, which will be the first time we are doing that. That will be nice.

JN: We talked about Michael Jackson's new music in a previous interview. What did you think of it?

BW: I like the single but I haven't heard the whole album. I haven't sat down to listen to the rest of it to be perfectly honest with you. Partly it is because I am so busy and also because I am nervous that I will dislike it. I remember the song when I heard it on the radio and thought it sounds like Michael but couldn't be because I haven't heard it before. It is a little weird how it has been released after everything but nonetheless I still like the song and I am glad I got to hear it.

JN: You are touring with Katy Perry in Australia at the end of this year?

BW: It is in November at the end of this year.

JN: You must have been blown away when she asked you.

BW: I had no idea it was even being talked about. My manager didn't want to tell me it was a possibility until it was confirmed because he didn't want to get my hopes up. Sometimes when big things happen he tells me months after they are proposed and I am shocked. When the Katy thing happened we were all in Vancouver touring and he told the whole band that we were going to open for her over Skype. We were all totally blown away. We looked at each other and were very overwhelmed. We were screaming and doing the whole thing.

JN: Your manager is super nice by the way.

BW: Isn't he great?

JN: This is my game plan, you need to corner Katy backstage and make her write you a song like she did for Jessie J with "Domino." That was a such a big hit.

BW: Oh my god, I will do what I can!

JN: Would you ever cover one of Katy's songs?

BW: We had talked about that even before I got this gig and covering her because I am such a huge fan of hers. The thing is people compare me to her way too much. I don't want a comparison because I want to be my own artist. I don't want people to say, "Oh, she's the next Katy Perry." That is not what I set out to do. I set out to write songs that I love and hope that other people like them. Now that I am opening for her that doesn't really matter anymore!

JN: When you are a new artist they will always compare you to someone else until you grow into yourself as Betty Who.

BW: Exactly and I definitely looking forward to getting to that place. I want people to say, "Oh, that sounds like Betty Who." As long as people are saying that then we are doing the right thing.

JN: When can people expect new music from you?

BW: In the fall is the date for the new album. I am working on it right now and finishing up some stuff. I have a couple of last minute songs and doing the whole thing. It is definitely coming together and I am very proud of what we have done. I am so excited for everybody to hear it.

JN: What kind of feel will it be?

BW: Basically, a couple of the songs are released already from the first two EPs so we have some of those then a mix of the songs I have been writing for the last three years of my life. I think it is an end to this last chapter. That is the way I would put it. There are a couple of songs that are very different and cool so I hope it is not too far astray from what people normally love from me so far.

JN: I look forward to seeing you perform at our big gay street festival.

BW: It will be so great. I cannot wait!

Betty Who performs the South Stage at 6 p.m. on Saturday, June 21. Chicago Pride Fest, which is organized by the Northalsted Business Alliance, runs June 21-22 on Halsted Street between Addison and Grace. A $10 donation is recommended. The Chicago Pride Parade is the following Sunday, June 29 at noon.

Chicago Pride Fest Schedules: Saturday, June 21 | Sunday, June 22

Interviews: Alex Newell | Betty WhoCarlito Olivero | Jennifer Hudson

Headliners: Alex Newell | Amber | Betty Who | Carlito Olivero | Catfight | Crush on the Radio | Girlband | Jennifer Hudson | Kaci Battaglia | Mya | Thelma Houston

ChicagoPride.com Pride Guide


Interviewed by Jerry Nunn. Jerry Nunn is a contributing writer to the GoPride Network. His work is also featured in Windy City Times, Nightspots Magazine and syndicated nationally.