The first time I heard Australian-based Betty Who’s “Somebody Loves You,” I instantly flashed back to riding around at night with my best friends from high school. There’s something completely sweet and carefree about the song, along with the other singalong pop tunes on Who's 2013 The Movement EP. Lucky for us, the pop singer is set to follow it up with even more new songs this March on an as-yet-untitled EP on RCA. In the meantime, we caught up with Betty Who on the eve of her 10-day US tour to chat about her musical favorites (MJ, who else?), her latest beauty obsessions, and what she can’t stop listening to right now.
Who was the first person to inspire you to get onstage? What music did you like when you were a kid?
Michael Jackson—it’s impossible to not be inspired by him. That was a big thing for me, watching videos of him perform. I was also listening to a lot of Britney Spears—that was kind of my whole life.
You grew up playing cello. How did that influence your musical style?
I think that having a classical background was very informative and helpful for writing music—I got this whole new idea of how to play.
Where did the name Betty Who come from?
I wrote a song when I was 17 and had named it “Betty Who.” A couple years later when I was trying to figure out what I wanted go by, Betty Who just fit really perfectly. I liked the colloquialism of it. I liked the way it rolled off the tongue. It just felt right!
What does it feel like to perform as Betty?
It’s my most comfortable state; it’s what I enjoy most about what I do—those moments when you get to connect with people in a way that so many people can’t. I think that the adrenaline when you're onstage would change anybody.
What’s the main difference between you as Jess (your given name) and you as Betty Who?
For me, Jess is sitting at home in my onesie watching Criminal Minds eating sorbet out of the container, you know? And I think that Betty is everything else.
We love the video for “Somebody Loves You.” What’s the story behind the song’s sweet lyrics?
Somebody loves you was originally a breakup song for me. I had written it initially about this guy I was dating, and he didn’t care about me as much as I did. I was writing the song to him like, “Wait, I love you so much and you’re not listening to me.” When we went back to record it, it was way more joyous and fun. Once I figured out what I was doing in my relationship, it all kind of opened up.
Earlier this year a couple used the song in their viral proposal video. What was that experience like?
It was sweet and surreal because all of my friends were freaking out about, it was kind of like, “This is amazing—I get to be the person to make the song in the video that’s totally about unconditional love.”
You’re recognizable for your cropped blonde hair. Have you always had this look?
I had dirty blonde natural hair and then my freshman year of college I was like, “It’s time [for a change]; I’ve never had brown hair.” I did a temporary dye of this really dark hair, and I loved it, but then it was time to go back to blonde. A year later I went platinum, and I’ve been that way since.
How do you protect your hair from bleach damage?
Bleach really, really dried out my hair—it got to a point where I was like, I need help! So I talked to my colorist about it for products to use. I use a coconut milk, an argan oil, and an olive oil cream that I put in. I’m all about hydrating.
Any other beauty obsessions?
Oh my god, I love wearing lipstick. My standard is Ruby Woo by MAC, and also Rebel by MAC. I’m playing around with plum—really dark lipsticks—and really bright hot pink and orange lipsticks.
Who do you look up to as a beauty icon?
Marilyn Monroe, who doesn’t? She was a big girl and kind of refreshing. And I worship Beyoncé. I’ve literally been listening to nothing else.
Who are some of your other favorite people making music right now?
I love the band King, and I love the Ariana Grande album. I’m listening a whole lot to Miguel and Drake. (Ed. note: Check out Betty's Playlist Essentials which she put together exclusively for Birchbox.)
Find out when Betty Who is playing near you by visiting her Facebook page!