While she was studying classical cello, that wasn’t the only style of music she was interested in. She taught herself piano and guitar and then “I wrote my first song when I was 14 and my music teacher at the time who was one of my favorite people, he was the first guy who listened to my song, and he was like, ‘I know you’re 14, but this is actually good for your first song ever. You should keep doing this,’” she says. “It felt sort of like a hobby, and I think I was a little bit too afraid to be like, ‘I want to be a songwriter,” so I was just like, ‘I just do this. Everybody does it. It’s fine.’ As I got a little bit older, I realized that not everybody does it and it’s the coolest thing ever and that I loved doing it so much. I ended up going to college and I majored in songwriting.”
While finishing up her degree at the Berklee College Of Music, her video for her first official single “Somebody Loves You,” was quickly going viral. She signed with RCA records and released her debut EP The Movement in 2013. She toured with Katy Perry and Kylie Minogue and released hit singles like “Heartbreak Dream,” which was featured in Pitch Perfect 2. But after the release of her second album The Valley, Betty Who left her label and has been dropping singles such as “Ignore Me,” “Look Back” and “Between Me and You,” at a steady rate as an independent artist.
“It is definitely scarier. I think that the risk versus rewards thing is definitely at play here. I am kind of betting on myself in a really intense way, where I’m going all-in on believing what I do, which feels empowering in a lot of ways but also if it doesn’t work out, well, we’ll see what happens,” she says. “I think the thing that I love the most about it is making the music that I make and going, ‘I think this is really good. I don’t want to overthink it. Let’s just finish it and put it out.’ I’m finishing up a song right now. I should be going to mix in the next 10 days and we’re going to put it out.
“I think when you’re on a major label,” she adds, “one of the cons is that there are 10 billion people in the building who have to approve everything, so I would write a song and go, ‘I’m super psyched. It’s really relevant right now. Let’s put it out in the next couple months. I know there’s stuff we got to do, but come on!’ and it would be like a year and a half later and I’d go,
‘I’m sick of this song now!’ I think the turnaround time has changed the way I make music.”