Betta Lemme has already made a name for herself in the music business – and she has no intention of stopping there. Born and raised in Montreal, the Canadian singer-songwriter has been active in the music scene for the past five years, performing alongside artists such as Sofi Tukker and shattering preconceived notions of art.
Native French, English and Italian, Lemme’s multicultural identity and experiences add a level of depth and authenticity to his art. Blending elements of pop and dance, his music is as striking as his personality – magnetic and electrifying.
Lemme’s second EP, Ready for the weekend, is no different. Part denominational, part empowering, this new work reveals a raw vulnerability that will encourage you to reconnect with your authentic self.
Lemme’s art revolves around self-care and connection, two concepts that she says are intrinsically linked.
In an exclusive interview with Global Citizen, the artist highlighted the power of the human voice through vulnerability, its relevance in society and its mission to provide support to others. She also discussed the need for self-care and the importance of changing the conversation about mental health – especially in the face of daunting global challenges such as climate change and COVID-19.
Can you tell us what inspired you to pursue music and how your career began?
My career began when I had the courage to move to New York. I was kicked out of music schools and was really tired of not doing what I really dreamed of. On a whim I went to New York and said, “I’m going to find people to make music with”, and that’s how I met. [my producer and friend] Grinding wheel.
We started writing my first EP after a really tough time, and it was honest and beautiful. He helped me have the courage to express all of these emotions, and that’s how it started. I came to New York without friends and with a backpack. I jumped into music because I thought I was getting old, if I even had the privilege of growing old, and I would have been horrified if I hadn’t at least tried to follow my heart and make music. .
What has kept you from trying so far?
I think it was an internal dialogue based on external beliefs instilled in me, like: “Music people can’t make a living” or “If you want to be a musician you have to read the notes” . These statements made me feel immense self-doubt because I couldn’t read a single note. But if you had to put any song in front of me, I was able to play it by ear. When I play, I feel very connected.
I feel like I exist when my hands are on the piano. My world might fall apart, but my internal chatter stops as soon as I’m connected to something as powerful as music. Growing up, being told that you could only make music with classical training was overwhelming. Eventually, I discovered that Paul McCartney didn’t always know how to read music and Karl Lagerfeld didn’t always sew, and yet they were both masters at their craft. I had a lot to learn, and I’m still learning, but knowing it was possible gave me hope.
What is your process when you create music?
It is rarely the same process. For example, the song “I’m Good” which came out last month, but it was actually written almost a decade ago when I woke up in the middle of the night and noticed the song in my journal. Then there are other times when you are sitting in a studio with another writer and you can bounce off the energy and experiences of the other that materialize in a piece of music.
When I write music 90% of the time it starts with sitting near the piano. The remaining 10% loop what they play on the guitar.
The creative process is intuitive, just like a lot of things in life. Intuition is the most powerful gift. As children, we are often taught to ignore our intuition, but we end up spending our entire adult lives trying to hear it again. That’s the beautiful thing about music: you can follow that intuition.
How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your creative process, if at all?
Looking back, strange as it may sound, I am grateful to have been faced with such personal challenges, as it has forced me to step back from creation and put myself in a position to feel, to cry and think. And ultimately, being so immersed in this process is what allows me to create from a place of honesty and vulnerability. Nothing should be forced.
You can take a little break and come back knowing exactly what you want to say, how you want to say it, and who you want to say it to, but something rushed just doesn’t make sense. And people find it hard to relate to what is not real.
What advice would you give to people struggling with mental health and self-care issues in the face of global changes such as climate change and COVID-19?
Taking a step back and taking the time to heal is a privilege and many people don’t always have the resources to do so. But it’s important to allow yourself to feel what you’re going through and remember that declines in mental health are often environmental, that things can change, and the first step is to talk about it.
Often times when dealing with mental health, things that seem basic are difficult. Like preparing a meal or even having the resources to do it. So when I feel my feet are dragging or notice that a friend might need a boost, my favorite way to support someone who is struggling is to cook or send them a meal. one with a simple note of support. If you are fed and feeling supported, chances are you have the courage and strength to stand up and start your day.
It is also important to watch your really strong friends, because not everyone talks about their personal struggles.
That’s why I partnered with Global Citizen – the normalization of conversations about mental health is what breaks the stigma of mental health. We all go through this at one time or another and that’s okay! The staff are universal. And by having those conversations and realizing that we’re not alone, it makes us strong enough to take on the big things that might have seemed intimidating before.
You’ve talked about being there for others, but how do you surround yourself with energy and people who are beneficial to you and your art?
It’s very important for me to have people who saw me at my best and at my worst. In other words, it is of the utmost importance to surround myself with people who can be themselves around me and around whom I can be myself. You attract what you put out.
[Finding these people] start by presenting yourself very honestly. I like talking to random strangers and asking questions you wouldn’t normally ask them right off the bat. Being ridiculously transparent and making yourself vulnerable to actually connect: tell me about your life. What’s your karaoke story? How did you grow up I want to know who I’m talking to. You get these people by cutting through this massive social ice with your vulnerability and getting to the heart of it. This is how I find beautiful humans, including Rick.
Authenticity is hard to grasp because so many people put on a face, and I think that’s what sets everyone on fire.
You are Canadian, you speak three languages and you have this multicultural identity. How do you deal with this through your art?
How do I navigate through identify? I do not. I am fair. How do I navigate my identity through my art? I do not. It’s just what it is.
What’s the next step for you?
This Friday I’m posting a project with Global Citizen just in time for World Kindness Weekend, which features a new song called “I Love the Weekend” – all about listening to yourself and celebrating no longer. want to pretend. Because after all, being kind to yourself is the first step in being kind to others.
We admire Betta’s confidence to break down barriers and her dedication to evolve and experiment, which is what makes her an incredible artist and a citizen of the world. You can stream Betta’s second EP Ready for the weekendhere. To learn more about Betta and see what actions she takes as a citizen of the world, be sure to follow her on TIC Tac, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.