Betsy has released ‘Fair,’ the astonishing title track off her forthcoming debut solo EP via Warner Brothers / Columbia Records. The track premiered yesterday on Vice’s Noisey and is available now on iTunes and Spotify.
It’s an introduction which immediately begs the question ‘where did that voice come from?’ – though few would predict the answer actually lies on a goose farm in rural Wales, where Betsy was born and raised. From campfire singalongs and her parents’ 70s record collection to the inspiration of towering local hero Shirley Bassey, Betsy was surrounded by music. But she knew no-one in the industry and so – encouraged by her hard-working family to find a fall-back – moved to London to study fashion design at Central St Martins. One distraction led to another when she was invited to design catwalk for the esteemed Balenciaga in Paris, an intense and exhilarating experience filled with unusual characters, some of whom turn up in her lyrics. And as music continued to call to her, Betsy returned to Wales, quitting what many of her peers deemed the job of a lifetime in favour of pursuing her own.
After decamping to a grotty caravan in her brother’s garden (also pictured in the first press shot), Betsy discovered Garageband. Then, there was no stopping her – she furiously set about making music, essentially tasking herself with writing her way out of the caravan. Among the early results is ‘Fair,’ an unflinchingly raw confession to feeling suffocated in a failing relationship, musically as inspired by the lush atmospherics of Massive Attack as the tender yet powerhouse vocals of Billie Holiday. Across an EP written and co-produced by Betsy, this fusion of soulful, gospel melodies and modern electronics is further explored: ‘Time’ is an infectious but infuriated ode to an addictive relationship with a new love, whilst the sparse blues of ‘Rosie’ is more vulnerable still, penned in tribute to a family friend who died in a car crash at the age of eighteen.
First glimpsed in the “trashy-opulence,” David Lynch-inspired imagery to ‘Fair,’ some may have already heard Betsy’s distinctive tone alongside Joe Goddard of Hot Chip, who reworked her early solo demo of ‘Endless Love’ into the pair’s acclaimed collaborative single from his last EP. From a goose farm via Paris (and back again), an unconventional path has nonetheless landed Betsy precisely where she needs to be – a force-of-nature voice for 2016, whose time has come.