Artist Spotlight: Rose Betts
A new month means another opportunity to shine some light on an incredible artist, songwriter and musician. This month, we’re super excited to feature one of our favorite new songwriters from London, Rose Betts. She is a multi-instrumentalist, vocalist and songwriter. Growing up surrounded by music she takes her inspiration from everything she sees, hears and reads, be that the work of Tolstoy, an old record by Joan Armatrading or the blackbirds singing down London streets late at night. This girl and her piano defiantly blur genres, demand attention and for a minute, and make you forget the mania of modern life.
With such an unique sound, we wanted to dive a bit into where that comes from, where she get inspiration for her songs and what she’s up to.
Tell us about Rose Betts, who you are and how it came to be?
I’m a singer songwriter from London, England. I was born here but raised just outside London in a small English village, as soon as I left school I moved to London to pursue a career as a musician. I’ve got a large, wonderfully musical family, we were all singing before we were talking. My father is an actor and my mother has been many things, a dancer, a musician, a teacher and at the moment she’s a therapist, all this means I’m no stranger to life as an artist and it was just obvious that it was the life I wanted and was meant for. I was writing songs from about eleven and just never stopped, it’s always been this private place, a world where I can reflect, look at my life, past present and future and try to find some truth to share about it.
What are you trying to achieve with your music? What do you want people to feel or get when they listen to a Rose Betts album?
On a personal level songwriting is many things for me. It’s a place of solace, its therapy, its playful, its completely necessary for my health to write songs, which sounds full on but I really can’t imagine life without it! It’s an interesting question ‘what do I aim to achieve with my music’, I’m still exploring this. I think it comes from that human desire to share, to communicate, to connect. Music is a universal language, you can touch anyone, you can lift them, take them somewhere else for a few minutes, you can make them look at themselves and their lives differently, the ripple effect is endless and amazing and completely unpredictable. You never know where a song will take you, both as the audience and the performer. If a listener could take even the smallest drop of any one of those things away with the them I would be happy.
You have such a unique voice and sound. What artists, songwriters or producers do you pull inspiration from to create your sound?
For words, themes and ideas I read, all the time, mostly classic fiction and poetry as the language is so inspiring. Russians writers, Tolstoy, Turgenev, Chekhov I can’t get enough of them, as well as poets like Keats, W.H Auden, Kathleen Raine, Seamus Heaney and more. Musically I listen to as much as I can, I like nothing better than listening to other peoples music. At the moment I’m listening to a lot of electronic pop really as those are the songs I’m writing so I’ve started exploring electronic music more. I just discovered Woodkid who has amazing percussion. I also have an old record player and some lovely old records by Joan Armatrading, The Police…. even 30’s Glenn Miller records so I often end up listening to old stuff too, everything that goes in comes out in my music some way or other.
What is your favorite song you’ve ever made and why?
Ah tricky question! I have many songs that I love for different reasons. One song I wrote, called “I Am An Island” was one of those songs that just fell into my lap. While writing it I kept thinking ‘surely this exists already’ as it just came fully formed. Some songs you have to work for, but sometimes it feels like all you have to do is reach out and pluck them from the air, those are always special songs.
Explain your process of making a song?
My process differs but most of the time songs begin at my mini grand piano. The melody will shape itself as I find the chords and the words will come moments after. Sometimes I get ideas for melodies while out and about so I record them into my phone, I’ve nearly crashed my bike on several occasions recording songs. Sometimes I have an idea and it takes a while for the idea to find a melody and an accompaniment so it’ll be quietly simmering in the background and sometimes, like I mentioned above, they just fall out of the sky and all I have to do is be there to catch the. After I have the bare bones of the song (vocal and piano) I go to my computer, open Logic and begin producing a demo, this is always where the song starts to take shape sound wise, the decisions I make with the beat and the arrangement can take the song somewhere new.
Who is your favorite artist right now?
Argh another tricky question! I love Randy Newman’s warmth on stage as a performer, I think someone like Bjork is super inspiring as she’s always being so creative, even if I don’t listen to her music all that much. I still love the singers from the past, Aretha, Ella Fitzgerald, amazing women with such phenomenal voices. Woodkid’s production is great too, so cinematic. Also classical composers like Debussy and Chopin, their melodies are just sublime.
What are you currently working on at the moment and what plans do you have in the future?
I’ve just begun working with some producers on a project where I’m writing for them and they’re working on the production of my songs, their music is super electronic so it’s great to be immersed in that. I’m also writing music for a short film, gigging with my band and working on a concept album, a big project with artists, writers, poets, jewelers, all the amazing creative people I’ve met in London basically. Lots going on but it’s wonderful.
Anything else that you want to say?
Only to thank Songfinch for having me on board, it’s such a great thing to be a part of and so rewarding when a client is moved by their song, that’s what music is all about!
From their first kiss to a mountaintop proposal, Rose crafted this couple’s love story into a beautiful song to celebrate 5 years since saying “I do” in the sweet summer rain.