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Who’s That Girl?

June 28, 2017 3:40 pm0 commentsViews: 32

Betty_Who-2_Ben_Cope_photoby Steve Desroches

Betty Who is from arguably one of the gayest cities in the world.  Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, the pop star remembers sitting in her living room as a little girl with her father watching the Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras parade on television eagerly looking for her mother who was marching along with her LGBT friends in one of the biggest Pride events in the world. Her parents’ gay friends often filled their home doting on her, and now, at age 25, she speaks of the gay community with a familiarity characteristic of her generation in that LGBT people are not “the other,” but rather part of mainstream society.

“I grew up around a lot of gay men,” says Who. “I grew up around a lot of fabulous gay men that took really good care of me. And that’s not changed one bit.”

With an Australian father and an American mother, Who speaks with a hybrid accent that reveals her split nationality. But her support of and popularity with LGBT fans is just as deep on either side of the vast Pacific Ocean.  Just about a week before she makes her Provincetown debut playing Town Hall for a Fourth of July weekend dance party with DJ Citizen Jane, Who prepares for a series of performances in conjunction with San Francisco Pride.  Since she began her career about seven years ago Who has played the Pride circuit, hitting cities and towns around the United States and Canada, making her an up and coming pop star with a strong gay following.

Her early singles “Somebody Loves You” and “Heartbreak Dream” put her on the map with dance music fans in her home country as well as in New Zealand and the U.S., but it was last year that a cover of Donna Lewis’ 1996 hit  “I Love You Always Forever” put her on the charts in Australia for the first time, going all the way up to number six. That comes after the rising star opened for pop superstars Kylie Minogue and Katy Perry on each of their most recent Australian tours.

“It was pretty f**king cool,” says Who. “I grew up listening to their music. To go on this arena tour was amazing. I asked a lot of questions. To watch Katy Perry and how hard she works. I am such a big fan. Her shows are like an athletic event.”

While she spent most of her childhood in Australia, Who came to the U.S. first to attend summer programs at the prestigious Interlochen School for the Arts in Michigan, and then to study at the Berklee College of Music in Boston, where she met fellow student and producer Peter Thomas. The two would go on to become songwriting partners as well as working together to develop Who’s distinctive sound and style.

The Provincetown Business Guild is bring Who and Citizen Jane to Town Hall for the Fourth of July weekend as part of an effort to appeal to a younger demographic and expand on the diversity in Provincetown to create new future visitors. The nonprofit organization, which promotes the town to the LGBT community, is planning a variety of events to increase diversity in general and to maintain Provincetown as an important destination and cultural hot spot for gay, lesbian, bisexual, queer and transgender people.  And while Who plays dates everywhere between San Francisco and Sydney, Provincetown is a place that has captured her imagination since she first visited as a college student during her days in Boston.

“I did go with my mom to Provincetown, and her friend and his partner,” says Who. “It was quite an experience. I imagine it will be a different experience this time without my mom! It will be quite different this time around!”

Come August Who kicks off her “Party in the Valley Tour” in Santa Barbara, California, crisscrossing the U.S. before dashing into Canada to close the tour in Toronto the first weekend in September. Armed with all she learned from Katy Perry and Kylie Minogue, Who is ready for her own arena tour. But when it comes to playing smaller venues, she loves the connection with the audience and the vibe that’s created when her anthemic sound gets people dancing.  And now that she’s coming to Provincetown without her mother, she says she’s ready to let loose at Town Hall.

“You can expect a whole lot of energy,” says Who. “And it’s going to be an extra fun show as I have some friends coming in from New York, and I always like to show off when friends come and see me perform. It’s going to be a great night. I can’t wait to blow the roof off the place.”

Betty Who appears at the Bang! Dance Party with DJ Citizen Jane on Sunday, July 2 at Provincetown Town Hall, 260 Commercial St. The event begins at 7:30 p.m. with music by DJ Citizen Jane and Who going on at 9:45 p.m. followed by more music from DJ Citizen Jane. General admission ($35) and VIP ($100) tickets, which include a meet and greet with Who, are available at the door and online at ptown.org. For more information call the Provincetown Business Guild at 508.487.2313.