an interview with Rose Betts

Rose Betts is a British Singer/Songwriter currently based in Los Angeles. She's recently released her debut album White Orchids a beautifully written well put together. She also released “Song To The Siren last year, which was the leading song of Zack Snyder's Justice League (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack), created by GRAMMY-nominated multi-platinum producer Tom Holkenborg. Rose is taking over the world one incredible track at a time. Rose and I got to talk about music, and everything in between!

Hi Rose! Thanks so much for answering my questions, how are you?

Lovely to be here, I’m doing well!

How did you get into music?

I was born into a super musical family, us kids were all singing from the moment we could speak and there were instruments everywhere, which is how I ended up playing the piano.

When did you start writing songs?

I wrote my first song when I was about 11, on a family holiday in Scotland, we were staying in an old hunting lodge in the middle of nowhere and on a very rainy day I picked up my dad’s guitar.

You’ve recently released your debut album White Orchids, congratulations! What was the main inspiration behind it?

The main inspiration was a golden bubble of time, a two year period when my life felt a bit like something more radiant than anything I'd experienced before. My first real heartbreak, a run down mansion in north London, parties and creative projects… all the ingredients for an album.

What was it like recording White Orchids?

It took its time, we were close to completion when the pandemic struck so it’s been a lesson in patience but writing and recording the songs was pretty straightforward, they knew what they wanted to be and me and my producer shared our vision for them and that always helps make the process more pleasurable.

What was the writing and creative process like for “Recovery”?

Recovery was written in the eye of the storm really. I was in the first throws of a big break up and couldn’t really see anything clearly but for a moment it cleared and everything went quiet and in that moment I wrote Recovery. It was the most honest I’d ever been in song at that point.

One of my favorite things about your music is how honest your lyrics are. How do you keep that honesty within your lyrics during the creative and writing process without steering away?

Oh I’m so glad to hear this. I used to hide in songs so I still feel drawn to that. It’s not easy to bare your soul all the time, and I think one should be careful, the heart is a tender place, but I know that honesty makes a song so much more authentic so I constantly remind myself to stick to the truth, find the beauty and the meaning in the small things. And mostly I just try to get out of my own way!

Your sound is so uplifting and fun! How did you go about finding it?

Thank you! I suppose even though I wallow in the sad things, the heartbreak, longings and losses of life I am essentially an optimist so I guess that plays a part in how the songs end up sounding. I also love a good melody, and often an optimistic melody, paired with more melancholy lyrics is a pretty magical combination. Nothing can lift your spirits like a good tune, so I guess that’s the main ingredient.

Was the writing and creative process for “Recovery” different from “Driving Myself Home”?

Haha what good choices, I can’t think of two more opposite songs from my album. Strangely though, even though they sound like they are in such different places the writing process was quite similar. The emotions behind both are so different, Recovery is so heavy and sad and develops slowly as a song whereas Driving Myself Home hits you quickly and is quite trivial and joking, however both were written as immediate and genuine reactions to something real and both are completely rooted in truth. I didn’t embellish either song, they sort of wrote themselves in their own ways so in that aspect they sit in a similar pool.

You’ve also done a lot of SoFar Sounds shows! Do you prefer more intimate shows?

I love intimate shows, they allow for real story telling and that’s such a big part of my songwriting. Bigger shows are very different, you are more separate from the audience which has its charms but on balance yes, I do prefer intimate shows.

You worked on a song with Bazzi “ Young and Alive” which was nominated for a Grammy! What was that like?!

Yes, how surreal. I only played a small part in the writing of that song but it’s always funny to see where things end up. I work with Bazzi’s producer and collaborator Kevin White on my own music (he produced my album) and I’d sent over some song starters (small song ideas basically) and one of these ended up being the starting point for Young and Alive. I think my vocals are somewhere in the track too.

What inspires you the most when writing lyrics and creating music?

The challenge of encapsulating a feeling into a three minute song, as richly and succinctly as possible is the engine that keeps me writing. As for what inspires… well pretty much everything. The things everyone sees but don’t notice… perhaps that’s it… I try to notice everything, there’s so much out there to inspire as long as you keep your eyes and your heart open.

Do you listen to any bands or artists during the writing and creative process? If so, who?

No I don’t really to be honest. Sometimes I’ll listen to something and it will suddenly spark something so I’ll go off and write.

Is there a formula you follow when creating music and writing lyrics?

Lord no! I mean, unless focusing on creating a strong melody and as good lyrics as I can manage is a formula? I leave it pretty open, there are things I know to do which help in the process… but I think a formula would be somewhat inhibiting.

When writing lyrics do you have a certain audience you want to reach?

No not really. I believe we all go through fairly similar things so I guess I’m trying to reach those connecting threads within us all but I’ve found from experience that lyrics can mean one thing to me and something entirely different to someone else, so I find they’re best left to their own devices and journeys.

You were also a part of the London music scene, how did that impact you in your journey?

I learned how to stick at it in London. There is a lot of music there, but the gigging scene is rough, and having a band is no easy feat either… also playing some dodgy venues, hard gigs where no one’s listening, or you get heckled, or a group are playing jenga on a table in front of the stage… you end up seeing it all! I learned how to perform in London though, figured out how I like to go about it… and I had some pretty fun times of course… random gigs from churches to living rooms with Richard Branson in the audience.

What was the hardest song to write on White Orchids?

Oh I’ve not been asked this question! They were all pretty straightforward really… but I guess the one that cost me the most is Recovery, though it wasn’t hard to write, it was hard won.

You have a show coming up in Los Angeles, which is super exciting! What regimes do you go through to prepare for a show?

It is! It’s my first non private show here so I’m excited! I just practice really! And make sure I've sent all the necessary bits and pieces over to my band… I have a cellist and a bassist playing with me so that involves writing out their parts etc. And I make sure my voice is warm and ready to go with regular run throughs in the lead up.

We’re all about discovering new bands/artists, who should we be listening to right now?

A band I love from the UK called Night Flight are great, I played with them a few times and was always blissed out in their set, the lead singer has such a great voice. I also recently discovered a singer called Winnie Raeder, a stunning song called The End of Me, listen, it’ll move you!

Words by Melody

Keep up with Rose