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Jessica Anne Newham, known as Betty Who (born 5 October 1991), is an Australian singer-songwriter and musician. Newham was born in Sydney, Australia, where she lived until her mid-teens. Trained since age four as a classical cellist, She moved to the United States in 2007 to attend Interlochen Center for the Arts, whose alumni include Norah Jones, Rufus Wainwright, and Josh Groban.
Newham is also self-taught on piano and guitar, and wrote her first songs at age 14, and began performing as a singer-songwriter at age 16.
After high school, Newham attended Berklee College of Music in Boston. During her first semester, she met producer Peter Thomas who was also attending Berklee. Thomas suggested pairing Newham’s songwriting with a more dreamy, anthemic production style. The two began writing new material together and developed Newham's sound over the next two years.
Betty Who's debut single, "Somebody Loves You," was initially released independently as a free download, and was premiered by pop music blogger and at-the-time official Grammy blogger Arjan Writes on November 30, 2012. Co-written by Newham and Thomas, and produced by Thomas, the song garnered immediate praise, spreading quickly online and being featured by other well-known outlets including Socialite Life, Pop On And On, and Popservations. A music video, directed by Evan Savitt, was released on January 22, 2013, and an official remix by acclaimed indie pop producer FM Attack was released on March 11, 2013.
Betty Who’s debut EP The Movement was released on April 16, 2013. An independent, free-download release initially, the EP’s huge success online helped lead to a large amount of major label interest, before she ultimately signed with RCA Records. It premiered on Billboard on April 9, 2013, one week prior to its official release date and continually received rave reviews from countless major blogs and magazines throughout 2013. Upon release, Idolator described the EP as "A spine-tinglingly euphoric 80's pop nugget," indie pop blog All Things Go claimed she was "charting new musical territory," and the famous UK outlet Popjustice called it "the best proper EP so far of 2013". Press continued to organically build throughout the year, with ELLE calling her "Your Next Pop Obsession" on August 5, 2013 and TIME hand-picking Betty as one of 14 Musical Acts To Watch In 2014.
She’s described her sound as, “taking influences from [past] music and mixing it in with the emotions I’m actually living through. We’re all secretly wrecks and we’re all in love and all being heartbroken. Combining those things for me has been a huge tool to get the sound I want.”
So far, her music has been crafted in collaboration with producer Peter Thomas. The pair operate under the motto that “making something good is easy, the challenge is making it right.”
Betty Who signed to RCA Records on September 15, 2013.
On 8 March 2014, "Somebody Loves You" reached number one on Billboard's Dance/Club Play Songs chart.
In April 2014, Who released her second EP, Slow Dancing, which made it to number one on the iTunes pop music charts. The first single from that EP, titled "Heartbreak Dream", was released on iTunes and Google Play on 18 February 2014. The song is used over the end credits of the 2015 film Pitch Perfect 2.
Who has praised Katy Perry, Robyn and Miley Cyrus as influences. She told Variance Magazine in 2014 that they "make pop that's generational. They're making the pop music of our generation that's going to stick around. People are going to look back and be like, 'Oh my God, it's Robyn's Body Talk album. That's one of the best pop albums of the last 10 years.'" Who supported Katy Perry and Kylie Minogue on part of the Australia leg of The Prismatic World Tour and Kiss Me Once Tour respectively. In 2014, Who made her American television debut when she performed "Somebody Loves You" on Watch What Happens: Live.
In late August 2014, Who made the announcement that her full-length debut album, Take Me When You Go, would be released on 7 October 2014. She also released the track list with the announcement. Thirteen songs, four of them being taken from her previous EPs, appeared on the album. From the album, the track "All of You" was her second number one on the US Dance chart, peaking at number one on 21 February 2015.
On 3 June 2016, Who released a cover of Donna Lewis' "I Love You Always Forever". It became her third number one on the Billboard Dance Club Songs chart, and proved to be her breakthrough hit in Australia, reaching number 6 on the ARIA Singles Chart.
On 24 March 2017, Who's second album, The Valley was released.
On 19 January 2018, Who released "Ignore Me", which is Who's first single as an independent artist, after parting in 2017 with RCA Records. On 16 February 2018, the singer released a cover of Kylie Minogue's "Come Into My World" for Made in Australia compilation by Amazon Music. In 2018, Who released a remixed version of Widelife's "All Things (Just Keep Getting Better)" to be used as the theme song for season two of the Netflix reboot Queer Eye. A music video was released featuring the cast of Queer Eye and Who.
On 15 June 2018, Betty, Pt. 1, Betty Who's third EP, was released containing the singles "Ignore Me", "Look Back" and "Taste" as well as two other previously unreleased songs: "Just Thought You Should Know" and "Friend Like Me".
On 14 November 2018, "Between You & Me" was released as another new single. It was the first single from the new album Betty that had not been previously released on the Betty, Pt 1 EP. With the release of this single, Betty Who used different shades of blue and photos of herself on her social media profiles to release lyrics to the song. The lyrics that were revealed were "You've got one hand on the wheel", "Sitting at the red light, tensions are high, vibe you could cut with a knife", and "just between you & me, I can feel something here, wondering if you do too". An Instagram post by Betty Who on the day after the release showed that the single already had 22,310 streams on Spotify, and had risen to 31,000 streams two hours later. By 12 December 2018, streams had surpassed 500,000. The music video for this song dropped on 28 November 2018, in which Betty Who plays herself as well as her own love interest. On 10 January 2019, "I Remember" was released as the fifth single from the album, with the music video for the song being released on 24 January.
In June 2020, Who launched a Patreon to fund new music and give fans access to exclusive content.
Betty Who describes herself as a "queer, bisexual woman". In 2014, Who began dating photographer Zak Cassar, son of director and producer Jon Cassar. The couple announced their engagement on 21 November 2017. They were married in 2020. Betty Who is a dual citizen of Australia and the United States. Read more on Last.fm
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