Through a career that hearkens back to the early ’90s, Sarah Bettens has been there and done that. Perhaps best known as the frontwoman of K’s Choice (which garnered platinum sales in Europe), Bettens stepped out on her own a few years ago with Scream. Her follow-up effort, Shine, was recently released to great fanfare, and rightfully so. It’s a great blend of power pop rockers and sultry personal ruminations. It’s so good that Belgium’s DeMorgen newspaper bought and sold 180,000 copies all on its own.


Although a fan on iTunes compared you to Brandi Carlile, you’ve actually already had quite a career with your time in K’s Choice and other projects. Despite your longevity, do you ever feel like you’re really just hitting your stride?

I feel like that all the time, so I’m happy to answer that question. When you’re 20, you’re impatient and not quite mature enough to take it all in and realize what’s going on. I feel like I have so much more to offer now, and life has so much more to offer me. Musically, I think I’m still getting better all the time. 🙂
You’ve said that you’ve found some inner peace and balance for your life that opened a space for you to step outside of yourself in your writing. Was there something particular that happened to bring that about?
I fell in love with my partner, who I’ve been with for seven years now, and I have two amazing step-kids. Realizing I was gay and becoming part of a family changed everything for me. To be able to share all the good fortune with others is quite the blessing.
I read a few months back about how Sheryl Crow was challenging herself and other artists to step up and write songs with a bit more gravitas than the standard “ooh baby, baby” fare. You’ve been able to do that here. What’s your process with that?
I just write about things I care about; it’s not particularly planned. Something moves me, and that’s material for me. I don’t know how much of a difference we can make as artists, but it feels good to try and to contribute to something that’s bigger than ourselves.
Some artists strike one note really well and that’s about it, but you have an impressive ability to dance between sultry and edgy without missing a beat. Is that just an artistic expression of the various aspects of your personality? A sort of musical schizophrenia that happens to be cohesive in your hands?
I just don’t over-think things, and that might work in my favor. I’m not trying to fit a mold; and, like I said before, I can only write about things I feel strongly about. Musically, I want to make things that I would listen to myself, and since I listen to different things, I enjoy making different things. As far as my personality goes, I can be both loud and quiet.
You’re incredibly successful in Europe, but Americans are a bit slower coming to the game. I don’t usually like generalizations, but do you think, for the most part, Americans are quicker to embrace the one note artists?
It’ s just hard to get your career going anywhere, and America’s big and saturated. There are a million bands here trying to make it big, and it’s definitely true that the American Idol generation is not doing me any good. 🙂
South Africa and Europe are getting their dose of Bettens right now. Any more U.S. tour dates on the horizon?
Yes, we’re playing in New York in June, Atlanta and Dallas in July and more festivals are coming in for the summer. If all goes well, we’ll do a college tour in the fall.