Photo: Bekka Gunther
Betta Lemme is her own kind of pop star. With an incredible sense of melody and breathing beautiful movement into every crafted song, the Montreal-bred singer-songwriter moved to New York City without knowing a single person with the intention of writing songs for other people. She collaborated with the duo Sofi Tukker to create the hypnotic tune “Awoo.” Betta Lemme went on to release her Bambola EP and is now working on her full length debut album.
Positioning her beliefs and visions at the core of her music, it is important to the budding pop star to celebrate Human Rights Day. Here is a playlist created by Bette Lemme to help inspire you to be a better person and a few words from her as to why these songs made the cut:
This playlist takes you from NYC’s Carnegie Hall in 1964 to Paris in 1973 to the 2000’s in Los Angeles and back to present day. There are songs on the playlist that make me want to fight for the freedom of those around me. There are also songs that help me feel fearless, unapologetic, and inspire me to just be myself when being just that can be a battle.
I’ve chosen 5 particular songs to highlight from this playlist and have explained why I love them so.
1. Rage Against the Machine - “Killing In The Name”
Sonically, this song is an absolute beast, dripping in pugnacity. Even if you’re sitting with your grandmother or getting stitches - there’s no way you won’t want to jump up and feel like a warrior. It brings out the fighter in us that wants battle injustices head on without EVER backing down. What I respect is the backstory of this song - it was written and inspired by the headlining death of a man named Rodney King, who was brutally beaten and killed by 4 LAPD officers because of his race. This song was a major shout out against institutionalized racism and has since been an iconic anthem for fighting for human rights.
2. Janet Jackson - “Nasty”Why this song? Because Miss Jackson gets it and furthermore, I too am a Nasty Woman. PS: did you vote?
3. Gossip - “Heavy Cross”
You know, it’s a cruel, cruel world to face on our own and we are much stronger together. We can play it safe or play it cool. We can follow the leader or make up all the rules. But the beauty is… whatever you want, the choice is yours. So… CHOOSE!
4. Charles Aznavour - “Comme ils disent”
Also known as “What Makes a Man.” This song is a special one for me. I had the opportunity to see this legend perform live in New York. My tears were the best highlighter I’ve ever used. Mr. Aznavour was not only vivacious while dancing at the age of 91, but he was brave and progressive from very early on. He explained before singing that many people advised him not to perform this song himself in fear the public would hate him or perceive him as gay. He wanted to write a song about the problems his gay friends faced at the time and how marginalized they were. He didn’t care - he had a story to tell and he told it. This song was one of the first songs in France about homosexuality, about a man who lived with his mother in Paris and performs as a cross-dresser at night. I mean… c’mon.
5. Shirley Bassey - “This Is My Life”Honestly, Dame Shirley Bassey is the most glamorous powerhouse and the kind of woman I aspire to be. She’s unapologetically herself and has been brave, bold, and all the glorious elements that embody the word WOMAN. She stood up for anyone who felt marginalized from any society or in love and let us all scream “THIS IS MY LIFE.” This is an anthem to be who you are. This was before “Born This Way.” Watch the live version on YouTube. If you don’t get goosebumps, I don’t know what to tell you.
Full track listing:
Rage Against The Machine - “Killing in The Name”
Marilyn Manson - “The Beautiful People”
Gossip - “Heavy Cross”
Lady Gaga - “Born This Way”
No Doubt - “Just A Girl”
Janet Jackson - “Nasty”
Elton John - “I’m Still Standing”
Queen - “Don’t Stop Me Now”
Spice Girls - “Spice Up Your Life”
Sofi Tukker - “Fuck They”
Sin With Sebastian - “Shut Up (And Sleep With Me)”
ABBA - “Does Your Mother Know”
Scissor Sisters - “She’s My Man”
Dusty Springfield - “In Private”
Britney Spears - “Stronger”
Ariana Grande - “Into You”
Fifth Harmony - “That’s My Girl”
Gwen Stefani - “Hollaback Girl”
SOPHIE - “It’s Ok To Cry”
Shawn Mendes - “In My Blood”
FLETCHER - “I Believe You”
Santigold - “Disparate Youth”
Charles Aznavour - “Comme ils decent”
Dusty Springfield - “I Close My Eyes An Count To Ten”
Dionne Warwick - “Don’t Make Me Over”
Shirley Bassey - “This Is My Life (La Vita)”
Nina Simone - “Mississippi Goddamn”
Kendrick Lamar - “i”