The next up and coming pop icon, that’s who! I have been obsessed with her music for a couple of months now. She reminds me of early Madonna or an 80’s pop diva, mixed with Katy Perry and a touch of Robyn. Born in Australia, Betty Who (Jessica Newham) moved to the States to attend Interlochen Center for the Arts in Michigan, followed by Berklee College of Music in Boston where she met producer Peter Thomas. She now lives in New York City. You might have already heard one of her songs without even know it. Have you seen the video of the marriage proposal with the flash mob? The song they were dancing to was “Somebody Loves You” by Betty Who. If you haven’t yet seen the video, check it out here (if you’re like me, grab a tissue).
Since the video posted on 09/11/2013, the video has 10,066,035 and keeps on growing! On 09/13/213 she performed a sold-out headlining show at the Knitting Factory in Brooklyn with JOYWAVE. Obviously this was going to grab the attention of some major’s, but RCA made the deal. Read all the details on Billboard.com here. Her EP The Movement is still available as a free download on SoundCloud here. My favorite track fluctuates, but right now it’s “High Society.” Check out a live performance of the song at NYC’s Pianos last month.
Now, I know any decade that begins with a world-altering terrorist attack on the globe’s last-standing super-power is not going down in the history books as “The 10 Years of Humanity at its Best”, but was the first installment of the new millennium really deserving of Daniel Powter’s “Bad Day” as its defining anthem? According to popularity, the answer is “Yes”. Ahead of their full “Best of 2000’s” content roll-out, on December 9th Billboard.com released its “Top Ten One-Hit Wonders of the Decade” list, with Powter’s “Bad Day” at number 1. Spending five weeks in the top slot of Billboard’s pop charts in 2006 gave the track the bragging rights that let it pull ahead of other dance-floor favorites like “Lean Back” from Terror Squad (2004) and Crazy Town’s “Butterfly” (2001). Billboard also does disclaim the facts that the contenders for this years list were artists and acts from the years 2000 through 2007 to account for any acts that may be taking an extended break or touring on the success of their first hit. To qualify as a one-hit wonder, an artist or act’s second hit had to have not cracked the top 25 in the same chart listing.
Facts and figures aside, let’s look at some of the real implications here. The first ten years of the new millenium could be considered, for some people out there, among the last of humanity’s golden years. Recent pop-culture phenomena surrounding ancient Mayan prophecies dealing with the end of the world, any myriad of stories on the evening news covering the several wars happening at once, even artistic renderings as far back as Rush’s classic 2112 album all point to a spot on the not-to-distant horizon as the official start of humanity’s decline, if not the actual rapture itself. Take all that into account, do we really have to say that we’ve all “had a bad day” everyday for the last ten years? Regardless if the world is about to end, and that the political machine is constantly scaring us into believing we’re seriously screwed in every way you can imagine, are there no more moments in the sun to make us happy to be alive? Realizing that the last two years have been completely omitted from consideration (explaining why Daniel Powter was even able to compete with newcomers like Lady Gaga, Taylor Swift, or dare I even mention Miley Cyrus), does the fact that “Bad Day” was the featured “Thanks for trying, better luck next year” send-off music for the most recent season of American Idol mean it defines the last ten years (minus ’08 and ’09) for the music loving public? Have sales popularity and commercial regurgitation replaced all the standards of quality by which we, the music loving public, decide what music is good or bad, or defines the times in which we live?
You tell me music lovers, I’m just giving you the news. Do you agree with Billboard’s choice? Does a song’s commercial success determine its social relevance? Are your spent dollars the ballots by which you vote? The floor is yours, let the discussion begin, and as always, keep it poser-free.