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Shot by Kye Barnes

BETTY / MUSICIAN

New year’s resolutions are a risky business. Quickly made and rarely kept, they’re a spark of electric hope and, for most, short-lived commitment. In 2020, Amy Mifsud (aka Betty) flipped this age-old tale on its head and gave it a groove-inducing indie soul soundtrack. In the wake of a degree in Media/Communications and Art History, Amy pledged that 2021 was the year of Betty – her musical project. She pulled music to the forefront of her world, drew a circle around it and called it sacred. As far as resolutions go, this one’s turned out swimmingly. Betty made waves in her debut year with smash-hit single “Sneak”, sophomore single “Teenage Daydream” and a total of 22,500 streams on Spotify in 2021. Betty’s namesake – Amy’s grandmother, Betty Miller – lends the New Age pop soundscape an old fashioned sense of home. It’s a classic, familiar feel that will no doubt follow Betty as new resolutions take her sights and sound into uncharted waters in 2022.

Clockwise from top left: 'Flesh Vase' (2020) by Emmeline Morris; Emmeline shot by Kai Barnes; 'Porcelain Teeth' (2021) by Emmeline Morris; Emmeline shot by Kye Barnes; 'Flesh Vase' (2020) by Emmeline Morris; Emmeline shot by Kye Barnes

Interview with Georgia Boonen

If you’re in the music industry, you’re here because you love it. When did you first fall in love with music?


I’ve always been around music growing up. My dad is a singer and guitarist. My brother is a singer as well. But I first fell in love with music when – I mean, this is, you know, obviously weird now – I was gifted the essential Michael Jackson CD. I was seven years old, and I got it for Christmas. I know the entire thing back to front. I fell in love with music – every single day, in my room with my little CD player.

 

Who is Betty? What’s your DNA as an artist?

 

I’d say Betty is someone who only listened to Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson and neo-soul growing up, and is now trying to weave alternative pop into that.

 

On a spectrum bookended by “project” and “alter ego”, where would Betty sit?


Originally, I thought it was a project, but now I’ve started being approached as Betty in person, which is jarring. I don’t even know if it’s an alter ego. I mean, you never know how far this is going to go. I also think Betty has become a cool experiment of what people assume about my music because of the songs that I’ve released. How can I surprise them by doing it differently live?


Do you still resonate with what your earlier songs meant at the time you wrote them, or have they
grown with you?


Look, some of them, no. They’re about my first relationship. I’ve kind of changed the narrative to suit myself, because [laughing] I don’t really want to be singing about my ex-boyfriend. I mean, it wouldn’t be natural for something that I’ve written now to sound like “Teenage Daydream”. I’m more confident in what I want – I know how I want my music to sound. The songs that I’ve written but not released are a lot more personal – a bit darker, a bit more serious – and there’s a solid
narrative behind them.

So, your go-to creative output is music – but what do you consume?

 

Music. I’m always on my Discover Weekly or my Release Radar on Spotify. I’m not a big movie person. I only really watch two TV shows - my safe shows - on repeat, which are Arrested Development and Parks and Recreation.

 

When you get lost, where do you go? Places, spaces in Sydney, music or otherwise - what’s your anchor?


I go to this book called ‘A New Earth’ by Eckhart Tolle – it’s been really influential for me over the last few years whenever I feel lost. Also, I think I don’t want to go to music. Music is one of those things that can just make you feel nostalgic. I will create new music. It’s an instinct, I think, to get [emotions] out. Or alternatively, I’ll make art. I’ll paint. I really love going to the Art Gallery of New South Wales or White Rabbit Gallery. So, I guess the connection is consuming art. Trying to put myself amongst a fresh perspective and to look outside myself.

How would you describe the Sydney music scene?


It’s like family. Everyone’s like, “Oh, I know Blah blah blah and Blah blah blah” – like having like a second cousin twice removed. It’s also very indie [laughing]. There are indie bands galore. And does powerhouse sound weird?


No, not weird at all. So, working in a Sydney music scene that feels like family, is collaboration important to your process?


Absolutely. It drew me to this industry. At first, it felt like an intimidating process – to come to someone else and say, “Here are my ideas. Hope you don’t think they’re shit, but like, add something to it”. Now it’s one of my favourite things in the world. Something weird happens when you’re in that space. You really get to understand some weird facet of a person and how their brain works. I’m just like, wow, where the fuck did that come from? That’s it. They somehow know the song so much better than I do. I’m constantly being reminded that my friends are so talented. Everyone’s in this scene with an essence of creativity that’s so unique, and it’s not something to be competitive over. It’s a really beautiful space for sharing.

Top 5 Sydney music venues?

1. Lansdowne
2. Oxford Art Factory

3. Laneway Festival

4. Vic on the Park

5. HiWay

Who do you think is the most exciting young and emerging creative in Sydney right now?

Magnolia Sparke

Photographer

@magnoli.a

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