Beatrice Betley - 10 Questions Interview
Beatrice Betley is an acclaimed vocalist, producer, songwriter and composer, whose roots originated in Hamburg, Germany. Throughout her musical travels, her love of the craft started at an early age. Singing basically before she could even walk, Beatrice learned to play the guitar, recorder, and recently the piano to add to her repertoire. Her music spans genres as she blends elements of Jazz, 80s pop, EDM, Argentinian Folk and dashes of Flamenco and Fado.
Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it.
I decided to finally start writing my own music after facing the possibility of having to undergo a thyroid operation. As the thyroid is located so close to the vocal cords, there's a real risk of damaging them. So you could have an altered voice or even lose it all together - at least for a while. It really brought it home how important singing was to me and that I hadn't yet really used my voice - meaning with my own lyrics and music. So I started writing and recording “Upside Down”
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career?
I agreed to perform some jazz classics for a very low-key charity fundraiser and ended up jamming a few songs with Gaynel Hodge, a true legend, founding member of “The Platters” and who doesn’t know his hit song “Earth Angel”? The best things always happen to you when you least expect it.
What has been the high point of your music path?
I must say right now. I released my first album with my own work and it is being considered for a Grammy nomination. Even if I do not get nominated - three years ago I would never have believed I could be here!!
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like?
I try to observe life, what I see around me, my feelings, thoughts… The song “Sunshine” was not planned for the album. But as I saw images on television how ordinary Italians, who were in total lock-down for some weeks due to Covid-19 were singing to and with each other from their balconies - I just had to write it. I wanted to contribute a positive happy vibe in such unprecedented times. So I inspired my lyrics on two lovers who can’t be together, but know their love will overcome this and they will meet again someday.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be?
Indie artist face two big challenges. One - exposure. Just because there are streaming services, and this gives Indie artist the possibility to self release, it does not mean the big players in the industry do not have a fast grip on them. It is hard to stand out as an Indie artist. I would love it if streaming services would not just show their own curated playlists on top, but allow listeners to have easier access to independent ones. Or perhaps create a few playlists ONLY for unsigned artists. The second challenge is that Indie artists must not only be musicians, but they also have to be entrepreneurs and think about marketing, finances, branding, booking gigs, merchandise etc. Next to rehearsing, performing, writing music - our profession. That is a lot.
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?
There are so many great musicians out there! Lenny Kravitz springs to mind - I have been a fan since his first release - but that wouldn’t fit vocally. I always imagined singing Adele’s “Rumour Has It” as a duet. But really I am happy jamming with some great jazz musicians on an intimate stage…
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show?
Live show? What is that?? I hope it will be possible again, but Covid will have a long lasting impact on how we will interact and spend our time. Usually I rehears the day before, then do some vocal warm-ups before the performance. And imagine I am just singing to some very good friends instead of an audience.
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
“Words.”I had the lyrics and loved them. Really loved them. Then the music just came to me; I wrote the music, made the arrangement and .. the lyrics didn’t work at all! Rhythmically, intonation, emphasis... No. So I started re-writing them, and re-writing them, and re-writing them. More than twenty times!! I got so frustrated, threw all the drafts into a bin, worked on a new song and did not go back to “Words” until that song was finished. I made a new attempt on the lyrics, just had to make a few changes and..voila! But there was a point when I thought it would never get done.
What's coming up in the future?
I was asked to do some vocals for the TRX Project, that will be a Lounge/ Chill / Deep House album so I am looking forward to that. I love a new challenge!
Tell us where fans can access your music?