Betta Lemme Is Always ‘Ready for the Weekend,’ Even If She Doesn’t Much Care for It (Q&A)
Betta Lemme details her conflicted feelings about the weekend and showcases her knack for crafting thought-provoking, electro-kissed anthems on her new EP Ready for the Weekend.
The trilingual pop mastermind (she speaks English, Italian and French) is a self-taught musician who broke onto the scene in 2017 as the featured artist on Sofi Tukker's "Awoo." Her debut EP Bambola touched down the following year. Its title track — an irresistible and global bop — took off a second time after it was placed in Netflix's To All The Boys: Always and Forever earlier this year.
Now, the rising star returns with her sophomore EP. While its tight 5-song track list delivers danceable floor-fillers, there is a twist to the title: It turns out Lemme is actually not a massive fan of the weekend.
“As I grew up, I noticed how the work week would take my mind off of real life depression or anxiety,” she explains in a press release. "Ready for the weekend (even though it sounds like something to be excited for) was more of a way of hyping myself up for the two days that felt like silent agony."
Lemme delves deeper into the topic on the EP's opener, "I Love the Weekend." Meanwhile, "Cry" — an obvious standout that interpolates Eiffel 65's biggest hit — celebrates the catharsis of letting loose a couple tears and features a killer breakdown laced with the sort of hiccups one would make while breaking down. The equally addictive "Girls" is a queer anthem with plenty of replay factor.
As a whole, the project showcases Lemme's incredible aptitude as a pop artist who deserves our full attention.
Below, Betta Lemme tells PopCrush about the colors she sees when listening to Ready for the Weekend and details how several of its songs came together. She also spills some tea about her arsenal of years-old, still on-trend unreleased music, dream collaborators and more.
You’ve been dropping singles from this project for the last seven months. How do you feel to be at the finish line?
I love the idea of being closer to a finish line. I’ve been wanting to be close to a finish line for a minute now, and I’m really happy with “I Love the Weekend.” It was written during a time that was very blue for me, and I tried to just dance those blues away. I feel like a lot of these songs on the EP are for putting your hands over your chest and crying it out. But you’ve got to be dancing.
That’s such a vibe. I think it makes a song so relatable.
Thank you! Were there any songs that you were like, “Okay, I get it?” I’m always curious… Forget what I think, I want to know what the listener thinks and hears.
The most instant song for me was “Cry.” The breakdown after the chorus with the hiccups was a moment that totally took me away.
I have a very big smile on my face because that part almost did not make it in. I wanted that in the song so badly. We need to have that sound effect before dancing. The fact that that’s the thing that resonated with you makes me so happy. I think that song is one of my favorites on there, too. Literally that specific part that you just said.
Is there a reason why “Cry” was the first song you dropped from the EP?
To be totally honest, I didn’t think the EP was going to exist yet. “Cry” was really just how I was feeling at that moment, and I thought it was important to release it when I felt that way. Then that feeling kind of followed me, and it became an EP.
Was “Cry” following in the footsteps of stand-alone singles like “I’m Bored” and “Mommy” then, but it turned into something more?
You know,  was a very odd year. That was the quarantine year. I feel like everybody’s energies were a little wack, and not everyone was in a headspace of working. I found it very hard to release the things that I wanted to. I felt like there was a big disconnect where I couldn’t… Those were little things to enjoy in the moment, but they weren’t work. You feel me? In my opinion, I wish Anne-Marie got “I’m Bored.” I love her. Or I wish Katy Perry got a song like “I’m Bored.” But I really was bored, and I put it out and that was that.
My friends in London call it a piss-take, which means like a joke. It was really just a joke track that I didn’t expect to be released. That’s why I’m happy “Cry” came out. Because “Cry” is something that is very dear to my heart that I very much believe in and feel very close to. It’s something that I really wanted to sing live.
Are you starting to think about live performances?
I have some plans in the future that I’m very excited about. Just this morning I sat here talking about this crazy live show. I’ve actually never played my own live show before. I’ve played with friends. I’ve done Coachella with Sofi Tukker; that was awesome. I’ve done TV in Italy. It was crazy, but I’ve never actually had the chance to do my own curated, lovely, wild show. That is something I’m so looking forward to. As nervous as I am, that’s something I look forward to.
The chorus on “Girls” is an ear worm. What was your experience recording it?
I love that song. I never expected it to come out the way it did, no pun intended. It was the most fun I think I’ve ever had in a session. First of all it was very quick. I was with people I had never met before. Things were feeling a little superficial at the start. We were tiptoeing like a first date. I decided to dive in so I asked everyone who their first crush was.
We had this beautiful conversation, and they wanted to know my first crush. I thought and was like, “Oh my gosh. My first crush is Princess Diana.” I remember being a kid unsure if I wanted to marry her or be her. I was so enamored. When it came to writing the track it was going to be about our first crushes who all ended up being girls. I sat at the piano, and I remember telling them that I love Aqua. If you break down Aqua, all of their chords are very similar to that of ABBA, which is very classical. That’s where my heart lies: more in classical pop.
I did the top line. Then for the chorus we just started screaming. We were a bit of a wild bunch toward the end of it.
I saw on Instagram that you wrote “I’m Good” 10 years ago. Do you have a lot of other songs in the archives?
So many! It’s stupid. My SoundCloud has hundreds. Sometimes I listen to them going to the grocery store like, “I can’t believe I wrote this five years ago. It needs to come out now.” Or sometimes I write a music video treatment, and three years later someone has a very similar music video. That’s when you know you’re on the pulse. I think the best position to be in is to be surrounded by people who trust you to be on the pulse. That’s how great art is made. Otherwise you’re just late to the party and it seems like you’re copying everybody else. I don’t want to ever, ever be that.
Are there songs you wrote long ago that you cringe over now?
You know what? I have to tell you… I am probably one of the most self-deprecating people I know. But when I hear these songs I really believe in them very much, and I want them out so badly. Sometimes I’ll hear a song and be like, “This is good.” It may not be for me, but each song is like a baby. I’d rather have it adopted and be put in another music home if I know I wouldn’t do it justice.
Who would be a dream for you to write for?
Lady Gaga would be number one. I can really appreciate the way she’s woven herself through so many different genres. I would love to write with Burt Bacharach. He’s an old-school, incredible writer who has worked with so many incredible artists. There’s a big list. I really like Anne-Marie, Aqua, ABBA…
There are also a lot of features I want to do. Like Dorian Electra. I find Dorian incredibly fascinating. There are truly an amazing group of artists coming up and those that have been here for a while that I have my eyes on.
I saw Fletcher give your song “Girls” some love. I’d love to see a collaboration there.
I would love, love to collaborate with her. Not only because she’s such a talented writer but also she’s such a nice human. That’s the only type of human I want around. What I love about her is she has such an emphasis on creating with a strong female team. There’s not many female producers out there, and she finds them. She has this really super tight-knit but growing community of incredible females. She’s a powerhouse. So yes, let’s add her to the list.
How do you decide if a song should be in English, Italian or French?
It usually depends on the first lyric that comes out. Whatever feels right and comes out first, you go with that and believe in it. Trust your gut.
I saw that when you’re creating music you choose two artists with different sounds and fuse them together. One of the examples was a song described as the musical baby of Nine Inch Nails and Britney Spears. Which one is that?
It was “Give It.” It was that Britney talk… It reminds me of “I’m a Slave 4 U” but then the drop of Nine Inch Nails.
How did you come up with that idea?
It comes after we make the song. The songs are made naturally but afterwards I’m like, “Wait, doesn’t this sound like...?” It’s never formulaic like, “Today I want Madonna and Red Hot Chili Peppers.”
We make the song first, which is my baby. But then it’s like, “This could also be…” When I make music I have a family tree. On this family tree are some of my favorite artists. These are the people I would want to surround myself with sonically. I want to be on their family tree if they ever did the same. That’s how I create personally.
You have a very eclectic taste in music. How did you develop your taste?
YouTube is my dark hole of escape. Sometimes it’s 7 o’clock. The next thing you know it’s 2 o’clock in the morning. What happened? That was more when I was younger. Now I don’t fall into those dark holes, but when I find an artist I really like I do still dive in.
You described your debut EP in terms of colors. What colors do you see for Ready for the Weekend?
When I was doing the Bambola EP that was very vibrant, royal colors. I’m talking crimsons, silvers, gold. Very rich. There’s texture to it. With the sonics, the level of intent. This EP feels like plastics as opposed to gold. It feels like blues and aluminum as opposed to pinks and platinum. Much like the weekend, there’s that feeling of a fleeting moment that never lasts.