entertainment

Betty Who on labels, the Rita Ora 'Girls' backlash and working with Queer Eye's Fab Five

"I’ve never once made a song with the intention of taking advantage of the community."

2018-06-15

Fresh off covering the Queer Eye theme song this month and getting us all in the mood for Pride, gay fave Betty Who is back with a brand new EP Betty Pt. 1.

Here she talks labels, the Fab Five, and the backlash to fellow pop ally Rita Ora's latest single 'Girls'.

You performed at the Mighty Hoopla in London recently, did you enjoy it?

It was so fun! I wish I could have performed for longer! 

You dropped a new single last week with the concept of being “unlabelled”. You said this refers to yourself, your music and your focus on other people. Would you say you would identify your sexuality as unlabelled as well?

The EP is actually going to be called 'Betty Part One' but I think I initially wanted to call it 'Unlabelled' for that exact reason.  I think when you’re any sort of public figure people decide they know things about you that they maybe don’t. Generalisations are made and assumptions run rampant.

Because I am engaged to a man (the best man ever), I think people assume that I’m 100% straight down the line heterosexual but that’s absolutely not true. But I’ve also never heard a word that I feel like really describes my sexuality aptly so I have sort of let people decide what they think I am and let that be that. 

Being unlabelled in any form – gender, sexuality and belief – has become more accepted over the past few months. Do you think everyone will be inclusive to all eventually?

I hope that one day we don’t need to label anybody as anything. Labels are just our way of trying to understand something easily, so I get why, in this very volatile and transformative time in our human history, we have a thousand labels for a thousand different things. We give it a name and compare it to everything else we already “know” so we can try and understand each other better on first glance. But eventually, who knows, maybe we’ll all just have one label: human.

You have a large LGBT following, how has the community impacted your career?

It’s impacted my career and my personal life as well. Being a part of the LGBTQ+ community has been one of the greatest joys of my life. The relationships I have formed and the stories that have been shared with me from fans have absolutely altered the course and fabric of my life.

Rita Ora recently faced criticism for her latest single 'Girls' and came out as bisexual following the backlash. What are your thoughts on that? Was it the right time to come out amid the backlash?

I genuinely believe Rita was trying to do something for the LGBTQ community, not exploit it. At least in my experience and career, I’ve never once made a song with the intention of taking advantage of the community. All I’ve ever wanted is to bring joy and life to it and make art that represents and appeals to so many people who are fans of my music.

I think Rita was probably just trying to make a fun song that she thought her fans would love, and her coming out was probably not meant to “justify” but to explain her process. 

 

She was also called out by some prominent LGBT artists, how did you feel about their response to the song?

I think we’re all trying to find our footing of what an appropriate representation of the community is. Just as Rita is allowed to speak her truth in her music, Hayley Kiyoko is allowed to speak hers. But I think educating each other and being patient, especially with those who obviously support and love the community, is the best way to further global acceptance.

You’ve also recorded a new song for Queer Eye! How was that? Are you a fan of the show? How did you go about landing this?

I LOVE THEM SO MUCH. Netflix actually reached out after the first season was already out about covering the theme song and I didn’t really understand the extent of how cool it would be.  The music video was so fun to shoot and I just am such a fan of the show and the boys.

The video was with the cast, how was shooting that? 

They’re all such angels and such professionals. The shoot was a pretty long day but it felt like it flew by because we were having so much fun.  And yes, I have been asked many a time about Antoni’s crop top. I was there. It was beautiful. 

The five guys are all lovely! Have you ever looked back and wished they were there to give you advice?

Honestly I may just start calling Karamo every time I doubt myself and have him give me a pep talk. There have been many times in my life, as I feel like all of us feel, where I would have paid a trillion dollars to have the fab five pull me out of my misery.

Out of the five, which one would help you the most?

They are all so amazing, but I am serious about getting Bobby to help me pick out furniture when I eventually buy a house.

This is your first EP in five years, why did you wait so long to drop the new music?

Well my last album came out a year ago so I felt like I wasn’t totally ready to do a full album yet. I wanted to just test the waters and see what fans liked and didn’t like so when I went to make the record I was really ready.

Was there any creative differences you went through while writing/recording?

I am lucky enough to have the most amazing collaborators who listen to me and put up with my process but they also put me in my place when I need to be straightened out a little.  There’s no housewives level drama but definitely some long, wine fueled back and forth.

Are you already working on new music?

You better believe it!

Betty's new EP 'Betty Pt.1' is available to stream and download now.