We love record stores. Give us a free afternoon and a substantial bank balance and we’ll be more than happy to spend the time endlessly shopping till we’ve flicked through each vinyl stack about four times.
We also love pop stars. Aussie-born/LA-based positive-pop icon Betty Who is one of these (and happens to be very, very good at it.)
We invited the artist to join us on a record store browse of Notting Hill hotspot Rough Trade West, selecting and discussing the records that influence her artistry and have fed into the inspiration for the new full-length album The Valley.
Read our full In Conversation interview with Betty Who from back in February right here.
Elvis Presley: 50 Greatest Hits
Betty: “So I actually bought this one as a Christmas present for my boyfriend who loves Elvis. We always talk about how Love Me Tender will be our wedding song if we ever get married. I never really got too into Elvis when I was younger but seeing as my boyfriend is such a fan it’s totally a part of my life now and something that I feel like I missed out on. I get that he’s one of the coolest Americans of all time but I just love it because my man does…” [laughs]
Blondie: Parallel Lines
“Look at how fucking cool she is, right? Debbie Harry is the coolest person in the entire world. She is so pretty and I’m always so intrigued by the way she presents herself as an artist. It’s something I’ve struggled with as I know how I want to sound, perform and portray myself but when it comes to marketing myself as a brand, I get stuck. It’s just so interesting how she got it all so right.
“I’m not sure if that’s something that plays on my mind a lot in my life… I love that I know what I have going for me and what I’m good at and I know what I’m bad at, so I can know when to let go of something or let someone else be in charge. That’s what I’m pretty good at so, for me, I can be very comfortable with people saying, “This is what you should look like.” I’ll never do anything that doesn’t make me feel like me and that’s what Debbie was so strong at doing. What do I think of Blondie’s new stuff? To be honest, I haven’t really spent all too much time with it but I hope to soon.”
Regina Spector: Remember Us To Life
“This is actually one I haven’t got round to listening to yet but I’m obsessed with her. I learnt to play Braille on the piano during my 14-year-old singer-songwriter phase and I’ve just adored her since. She played a very big part in determining what kind of music I was going to write and perform and what I wanted to do as a teen. Sometimes I still think I want to be that singer-songwriter kinda girl…”
The Strokes: Room on Fire
“God, I love this record. Reptilia is actually one of my favourite songs of all time. There’s a cover by this band called the Punch Brothers that they do in their live sets which I’ve always thought is one of the coolest things ever. I’ve always loved The Strokes album art too, I think the creativity is something that should be admired.”
Elliott Smith: An Introduction To…
“There are some artists that I spend years listen to and cherishing. Then there are some artists that I will adore for just a month or so. The latter is how Elliott Smith came into my musical repertoire though that month together was just so special… It was intimate… [laughs] Exclusively for a whole month, I only listen to him and then after that never really went back to play any of his stuff.”
Madonna: True Blue
“Probably both my favourite Madonna album and artwork, I think. You have no idea how many shoots I’ve done where the True Blue artwork is referenced at least once… The jawline, the jacket, the hair, urgh!”
Grease: Official Soundtrack
“Oh my gosh, still to this day I’ll just scream if anyone suggests watching Grease. Did you see the live musical version on last year? I LOVED it. If think it was the best one that has been done so far. I think a lot of the other television productions don’t match up to that one, though I know how crazy it is putting together and the amount of work that goes into pulling that shit off live. Grease Live! was near perfect though and Julianne Hough turned. it. out. [complete with finger snaps.] I was not expecting that much from her but she was a fucking queen. Carly Rae Jepsen’s contractual one song was amazing, wasn’t it? Someone told me the other day that we’re all living in a post-Carly Rae Jepsen world which I have to believe.”
Betty Who’s latest record The Valley is out now.
Many thanks to Rough Trade West for hosting us for the afternoon.