Image by David Martin
Savannah Betts has wanderlust in her soul and a new EP entitled Warning to release. Containing contemporary beats with classic songwriting values, it’s an atmospheric look on life through well-travelled eyes.
Born in Hong Kong with German/South African parents but now based in Newcastle, Savannah’s journey to this release has been a long one. “The first and most important thing I think there is to know, is that I have been travelling around the world even since before I was born.” She points out early in our exchange. Savannah’s style is open and honest, and the songs that make up Warning hold nothing back. The title track demonstrates Betts’ ‘diamond in the rough’ vocal at the height of its powers, given a distant pulse by a drum machine and keys.
Her father’s job meant Betts and her family travelled throughout her childhood, but it was upon returning to Hong Kong that musical inspiration struck. “Meeting people from different backgrounds and cultures happens every day in a big city; it’s where I discovered guitar and songwriting.”
I have always found moodier sounding music to be a great source of comfort to me
Moving to Newcastle and completing a degree, attention to her studies meant music didn’t always take come first. “I’d made a difficult decision to put my music to one side until I completed my degree, which ended up being a tough year for me. After graduating I wanted to get into back into the music scene, but felt very stuck and a bit lost. I posted a distressed status on Facebook last year and Mark Stafford, an old acquaintance and manager of the Nemix studio, reached out and offered support. It was all really organic, we helped each other and became friends.”
Betts’ newfound confidence is on display on Help, which clearly speaks of this period of her life; it’s vocally accomplished and very much the sound of Betts now standing on her own two feet. “Initially when I first started out, I was obsessed with folk and its foot stomping beats. I could never quite shake this slightly darker side of me that kind of steered my songwriting. I have always found moodier sounding music to be a great source of comfort to me.”
With the majority of the EP written in her bedroom – a financial decision, rather than a necessarily DIY one – the stripped down focus of the EP adds to its atmospherics, creating a warm and self-assured release. “The EP went from having a very clear theme, to a more general expression of personal experiences I was desperate to express. I think that desire of expression in the end is what lent itself to my more fragile sound.”
Savannah Betts launches the Warning EP at Nemix Studio, Newcastle on Saturday 1st October. She also plays Ernest, Newcastle on Sunday 16th October and Soapbox Sessions at Hole In The Wall, Darlington on Sunday 6th November.