Betsy Is Crafting a Soulful New Persona in Pop

Betsy Is Crafting a Soulful New Persona in Pop

For its November issue, V honors the leaders shaping popular culture and carrying it into the future. Here, rising U.K. singer Betsy talks her debut album, supermodel ex-boyfriends, and the speedboats, darling.

For its November issue, V honors the leaders shaping popular culture and carrying it into the future. Here, rising U.K. singer Betsy talks her debut album, supermodel ex-boyfriends, and the speedboats, darling.

Photography: Inez & Vinoodh

Styling: Jay Massacret

Text: Ian David Monroe

“It’s my weakness…pretty boys and fast cars, little dogs and booze,” says the mononymous singer Betsy between sips of her cocktail in the back booth of Chelsea’s speakeasy-style bar, Bathtub Gin. She seems right at home in the setting.

She continues, “I’ve had a few bad men in my time. My next [song] is about a Cuban supermodel I used to date. He was gorgeous, but he was a bastard.” The tall, blonde bombshell has the look of a vintage Bond girl and the wit of a Bond villain. When talking about ideas for her next music video, Rihanna’s bloody “Bitch Better Have My Money” comes up: “I’ll have to think of something more gruesome. Feeding Cuban supermodels to sharks or something.” Talking to Betsy, one quickly learns she’s a visual thinker, something likely sharpened by her education.

Betsy studied fashion at Central Saint Martins, a school that counts Alexander McQueen, John Galliano, Riccardo Tisci, and more as alumni. Post-university, she found work in Paris at Balenciaga, working under the tutelage of Nicolas Ghesquière. Ultimately, she gave it all up to return to her hometown in Wales, to a dingy trailer in her brother’s backyard. It was there that she began recording music.

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Quitting a job to chase a dream is a something most fantasize of doing, but few ever would, especially from such a comfortable career position, but Betsy has no regrets. “I think I've always been a risk taker. It's something that's always made me click.” On how she came to the decision, she says, “The problem is, it's much like music; you have to have the eye to do it and do it well, really throw yourself in it or else not at all.”

That leap of faith landed Betsy two recording contracts: one with Columbia Records in the U.S. and another with Warner Music in the U.K. This year, the singer released her soul-crushing EP, Fair, and quickly followed up with the disco-tinged dance tracks “Lost & Found,” and “Wanted More.” Play any of her songs for an uninitiated audience and they will almost immediately ask, “Is this Cher?” The vocal similarities are uncanny. Chances are they’d get along swimmingly.

The singer has been hard at work finishing her debut album, but it is not, surprisingly, what she is looking forward to most in 2017. “Definitely [buying a] speedboat, darling. The speedboats, the parties, the fabulousness. Obviously, wherever this life takes us.”

Credits: MAKEUP JEANINE LOBELL (TIM HOWARD MANAGEMENT)  HAIR CHRISTIAAN  MANICURE DEBORAH LIPPMANN (THE MAGNET AGENCY)  EXECUTIVE PRODUCER STEPHANIE BARGAS (VLM PRODUCTIONS)  PRODUCTION COORDINATOR EVA HARTE (VLM PRODUCTIONS)  STUDIO PRODUCER TUCKER BIRBILIS (VLM PRODUCTIONS)  STUDIO MANAGER MARC KROOP (VLM STUDIO)  DIGITAL TECHNICIAN BRIAN ANDERSON (VLM STUDIO)  LIGHTING DIRECTOR JODOKUS DRIESSEN (VLM STUDIO)  PHOTO ASSISTANT JOE HUME  STYLIST ASSISTANTS OLIVIA KOZLOWSKI, SEAN NGUYEN, SOPHIA TORRES-ULRICH, TALLIA BELLA PEPE  MAKEUP ASSISTANT JESSICA ROSS  HAIR ASSISTANT TAKU SUGAWARA  MANICURE ASSISTANTS STEPHANIE ARIA AND RIWAKO KOBAYASHI  RETOUCHING STEREOHORSE  LOCATION PIER 59 STUDIOS  CATERING DISHFUL

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