“Probably one of my first memories, actually, is being sat around a campfire with all these bearded men and their guitars—my uncles and my father—all singing. And that was the first thing that really locked me on to music. There’s everybody around the fire, and I’m just there staring at them,” Betsy tells American Songwriter. “Because, for me, it seemed so magical.”
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Betsy is a Welsh singer/songwriter who began pursuing music while living on her family’s rural goose farm. Consequently, growing up in a small town (Pembrokeshire, Wales) meant that Betsy had few points of contact for the music industry. Her uncle, however, encouraged Betsy to continue writing music. “[T]hat was definitely what first started the fire,” Betsy confirmed.
Since then, Betsy has moved several times—she’s currently living in Portugal—and released her debut self-titled album in 2017. BETSY roared onto the pop scene with the singer’s billowing vocals and tendency for high drama. “[In] the first explosion of what I wanted to create I was trying to emulate all of my idols. I wanted to be the bells and whistles, the kitchen sink, the whole shebang. I wanted the glamour and I really wanted to push it as far as I could. Which I adored and it was the right thing for me at the time.”
But now, Betsy declared that she has stepped away from her previous Glamazon persona—the one who “worked at Balenciaga and swags around with the rich and famous.”
“Now, I feel like I’m in a stage where I want to be more myself. I am a girl who was born on a goose farm in Wales, I’ve got three brothers and I don’t really do my hair on a daily basis,” Betsy says. “I want to come back to what really initially sparked my interest in music, which was real songwriting—real emotion. And just stripping it bare and just being a lot more me.”
So, to get back to her roots, Betsy released her EP Sugar Daddy on June 4. Sugar Daddy is composed of four tracks that pull from a more intimate well of inspiration. More specifically, “Behind Her Smile” is an elegantly sorrowful song that tracks Betsy’s battle with mental health. “That’s my most favorite song I’ve ever written. It feels incredibly real to me, and I’m incredibly proud of that song. As you can imagine, it’s quite a difficult one to have written,” Betsy said.
“Don’t You Stop” was also difficult for Betsy to pen. “I was with somebody who I was in love with, and I was being betrayed in front of my eyes. Which was quite devastating,” Betsy revealed.
The title track, “Sugar Daddy,” tells the story of a more recent love affair. “‘Sugar Daddy’ encapsulates my current relationship that is turbulent and obsessive and beautiful and bad. And all of those things—bad, good, sexy—for me it encapsulates everything.”
Finally, “True Romance” offers a slightly different take on love. “‘True Romance’ is a really fun one,” Betsy explained. “It’s about that start of a relationship that is so very magical. And how freeing it is and how liberating it is to find someone who you think is your other half… And when I think of ‘True Romance,’ I think of an incredibly colorful picture. Like screenshots, little photos, Polaroids or Kodak pictures of events and things that happened. It feels very romantic to me, which I think is joy. I think it’s nice to have a bit of joy.”
In this whirlwind of romance and heartbreak, joy and desperation, Betsy has built a timeless musical experience.