On the last day of 2012, I was lucky enough to be able to sit down with the one and only Betsie Larkin. Aside from being one of the most talented vocalists in trance, she also turned out to be one of the sweetest people that I have ever met. I am so grateful to have been given this opportunity and I certainly hope you all enjoy reading this as much as I enjoyed doing the interview.
I’m here with Betsie Larkin at POP NYE 2012. Betsie you just got done with your first of two sets for the night with Andy Moor and Lange. How is the crowd?
B: They’re awesome! It’s a huge crowd, first of all…Oracle is a proper stadium with people all the way from the floor to the ceiling with the elevated seating. It’s crazy.
Fantastic! And you go back on at 11 with Ferry?
B: No it’s a little later I think around 1.
Oh right. Dash Berlin first, then you and Ferry to close out the night. So you’re obviously excited for that?
B: Oh yeah!
Lovely. So just on the topic of Ferry-related stuff: When I was preparing for this interview, I read that you cried after you wrote “Made of Love”. Have you had any similar experiences with anything since then?
B: Yea… sometimes right after I finish writing a song I just get overcome by something. I just.. I’m kind of.. gosh this is horrible you’re audio recording this and I’m totally stumbling because it’s hard to explain. I guess I feel like something just came…. that didn’t come from me. And it’s just a really emotional experience and sometimes I well up a little bit. It doesn’t happen all that often but it does happen occasionally and I’m just like “Oh my gosh.. thank you so much” because sometimes I really struggle to get a song written and other times it’s like “poof! There ya go! There’s the whole song!” you know? I’m just so thankful that I didn’t have to sit for eight hours feeling like I’m lost in the world. Wow.. this is a really honest interview!
B: No, no it’s okay![/box_light]
Alright let’s get a little more personal then! As far as “All We Have Is Now” which is an AMAZING album, what are some of the thoughts and emotions that really inspired you when you were writing it?
B: Okay.. ‘All We Have Is Now’ actually took.. SO many years to put that album together if you count when I first started writing those songs. Some of them I wrote YEARS ago and I kind of brought them back and resurrected them. Like the song ‘Stars’ with Ferry. That’s actually going to be our next single (and that’ll be the last single). But that’s a really old song. Ferry heard it and I believe it’s the one the that made him want to work with me in the first place.
Wow! Not ‘Made of Love’?!
B: No it was ‘Stars’. So I was saving it for him to eventually re-produce as an EDM track. Some of those older songs document the experience of moving from LA to New York. With the song ‘All We Have Is Now’.. I just really believed in that message and probably wrote five versions of it before I was happy with the melodies. I wrote it on keyboard and then I gave the whole thing to Super 8 & Tab and they changed the music quite a lot to make it work for EDM.
Sick! So is that your favorite song to perform? Or favorite song off of the album?
B: Gosh.. I don’t know. No not necessarily. I do like doing it live because people really respond to it live. And that’s..
Yea… it’s a very emotional song for me, as well.
B: Oh.. yea thanks! Um.. I don’t know what my favorite song is on the album
It’s really hard to pick one.
B: Well they’re all different. It’s pretty diverse. I actually really like the tune ‘The Flicker Inside’ because it’s different. It’s not something that I usually do.
There’s no need to classify things anyway! Okay.. so I kind of just want to ask about the industry dynamics. I guess until recently, it’s been a very male-dominated industry. You’ve been around for a bit, I mean.. long enough to kind of see the transformation. Have you ever had to deal with any.. unfavorable circumstances because you’re a female or because you’re a vocalist instead of a male or a DJ?
B: Umm.. yea I’m sure there have been things that can be described as injustices. But I think you really need to focus on what you can control and not get too hung up on things like injustices because it’s just.. in the world. It’s everywhere and you’re better off saying “okay I can’t change that I’m going to focus on something else”. And that’s what I’ve learned to do. In the beginning.. I got a little stressed out like “I can’t make this happen; I’m trying to make THIS happen and I’m trying to do THIS” and you get upset because you’re trying to make all of these things happen and it’s like okay.. it’s not happening right now. Do something else. Yea.. with the contracts and that sort of thing. As vocalists we have to work a little bit harder to get a fair shake. But you’ve got to stick up for yourself. And you’ve got to work with people who respect you. And they’re absolutely out there! So.. yea. I try to just focus on what I can change and I try to avoid working with people who are jerks.
That’s a really awesome mentality to have.
B: It’s the only way to stay happy and to do what you want to do.
So would that be your one piece of advice to any young ladies trying to become vocalists? Or do you have another piece of influential advice?
B: Gosh.. there are a lot of things that I have learned along the way but definitely I would say when things aren’t going the way you want them to go, try harder to get better. Take it upon yourself to improve your own skills because the better you get, the more opportunities will come your way. So work on your song-writing, work on your singing, get a vocal coach, work with other song writers and learn some of their tricks. Another thing is just work with the best people that you possibly can because you can learn from them.
So basically to capitalize on your opportunities?
B: Yea.. if there’s anyone that you have access to that knows more than you do, sit down with them, have a writing session. It’s very low-commitment and you never know what’s going to happen.[/box_light] [box_light]
Is there anyone you started off working with that you sort of give a bit of credit to?
B: Ferry for sure! Ferry was actually the first DJ that I worked with in EDM so I just got stupid lucky, I’m not going to lie to you. That was great. And Ferry knows a lot more than just how to DJ and produce dance tracks. He’s got a real sense of music and harmony and even.. lyrics. Yea.. Ferry was a good one. John O’Callaghan was another one who really surprised me the first time I worked with him. We got together in New York and he sat there and drafted out a whole chart of the song and organized it and was like “okay we still need something here”, you know?
Yea he’s a really nice guy, really talented writer. So I guess.. hmm.. we’re running out of time here in 2012. What’s your personal resolution and what are your hopes/resolutions as an artist for this coming year?
B: Okay.. I said I wasn’t going to talk about this but oh well. I’ve just decided I’m going to! I’m working on another album so I definitely want to finish that album this year. I hope I finish it WELL before the end of the year; that’s a definite goal. I guess on a personal note, just enjoy it. Enjoy everything that I have: all the opportunities and things that I’m able do…. To stop and smell the roses because it’s easy to get stressed out and bogged down. Got to enjoy it.[/box_light] [box_light]
Perfect! Yea the roses will die at some point; have to enjoy them while you can. But on another note, I think that’s all I have for you. Looking forward to your next set and.. thanks so much for sitting down with me!
B: Thank you!