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Getting To Know: Courtside Betty

1.Can you share more about the emotional journey you went through during the break-up that inspired the song "Worry"? How did you navigate the overwhelming anxiety and uncertainty?

Break-ups are never easy and they take time to grieve and explore. The emotions I went through were multi-faceted and I think that’s evident in the way I approached writing about my experience. For both “Poison” and “Worry,” I tried to capture and write about the complex emotions I was feeling in a specific moment - and the journey of the break-up was an emotional roller-coaster so I had plenty of moments to pull inspiration from. As far as navigating the anxiety and uncertainty, I find songwriting to be an incredibly powerful and helpful tool for processing emotions. It’s a form of journaling for me and allows me to explore my thoughts and feelings by getting them out in the open and tapping into my creative brain. I write when I feel inspired or need to process but I never try to force it. I’ve written several songs about these experiences that will never see the light of day ha ha. Outside of music and songwriting, I’m a huge proponent of therapy, hanging out with friends, and taking things one day at a time. I’m incredibly lucky to be in a band with some of my closest friends!

2. As the vocalist, how did you translate the complex emotions and questions you were grappling with into the lyrics and melody of "Worry"? Were there specific influences or artistic choices that played a significant role in shaping the song?

“Worry” started with the chord progression. I started writing on January 1, 2023 and I remember workshopping the chords until I felt like it captured the rainy day vibe I wanted to set with this song. The next thing I wrote was the line “worry takes up all of my time.” I wrote it in my songwriting notebook, put it down, and kept returning to it. Once I had written out some thoughts and emotions that I wanted to fit in and had a rough idea of the lyrical concept, I started working on the vocal melody, which I wanted to have some movement, but felt needed to be a descending line to convey the tone I was going after. From there, I had a rough draft of the chorus pretty quickly but it took a few days to fine tune it. The verse took a bit longer to write - it’s a bit more vulnerable so I wanted to take my time with it. I spent a lot of time reflecting on and sitting my emotions and (probably over-) thinking through each word choice. I knew from the beginning of the writing process that the song was going to have an unorthodox structure. I’m not sure why, but the slow build to the big repeating chorus just felt right for this song. As far as influences go, there are too many to mention but Ada Lea, Soccer Mommy, Indigo De Souza and Samia were definitely in heavy rotation during the writing process. 

3. The band's sound is described as a blend of 90s alt rock and 2000s indie, with the unique addition of an electric harpist. How do you feel this combination contributes to the overall atmosphere of "Worry," and what role does each instrument play in conveying the message of the song?

I grew up on a mix of 90s alt rock, 2000s indie, and a variety of other influences. I love discovering modern indie artists and getting inspired by new sounds but those core influences are ingrained in my writing style so they all shine through. When I was putting together this band, Catherine reached out to ask if I’d be open to adding an electric harpist to the line-up and I was immediately excited by the prospect. Writing for the electric harp has been such a fun and unique challenge for me as a songwriter and I think it adds a really unique element to our music. For “Worry” in particular, I love the harp melody that comes around 0:25 - it floats above the murky guitars and it’s almost soothing in its melancholy. I think it adds a gentle vulnerability to the angst of the guitars that really leans into the contrast of emotions the song explores: frustration and sadness, anxiety and exhaustion.

4. You mentioned that you hope the song provides catharsis for those struggling with their own questions. How do you see the music of Courtside Betty serving as a form of emotional release for listeners, particularly in the context of challenging personal experiences?

I know writing these songs has been very cathartic for me, but I also try to approach writing about my experiences - for a variety of reasons - from a more generalized view point. I pull from real experiences, memories, and emotions, but I try to capture the essence of what I want to write about so that anyone who’s been through a similar situation can relate to some part of the song. On the flip side, I also strongly believe that writing too generically to appeal to a broader audience can actually make your music less relatable so these songs are still very personal to me. I hope that people struggling with processing their own emotions around a break-up, relationship troubles, or grief can find some comfort in the music and that songs like “Poison” and “Worry” can serve as reminders that we’re not alone in struggling through this complex whirlwind of emotion.

5. Following the debut single "Poison," how does "Worry" fit into the broader narrative or evolution of Courtside Betty's musical journey? Are there thematic elements or sonic choices that continue from the first release to this latest single?

While “Poison” and “Worry” don’t necessarily tell a linear story, they do explore similar themes from different angles. I wrote both of these songs around the same time frame so both feature experimentation with song structures, backing vocals, and various other elements. Both songs were written before Catherine joined the band and each provided a unique challenge for incorporating the harp. For “Poison,” Catherine wrote harmonizing harp melodies for the verse and chorus. For “Worry” I had already written what ended up being the main melodic harp theme, originally intending it to be played on guitar. Luckily, it fit the harp even better than I could have imagined and really allows the instrument to cut through the mix and shine in a way the feels organic and compliments the vibe of the song. 

Narratively, both tracks explore the exhaustion and frustration of a relationship that simply isn’t working anymore, but whereas “Poison” rebels against that dissatisfaction, “Worry” takes a more resigned approach. Drawing from my personal experiences, I used both of these songs to explore the different stages of grief. “Poison” flows between anger and bargaining, while “Worry” leans more into depression and, begrudgingly, acceptance. We’ve also tried to work the artwork for this series of singles into a broader narrative, with each cover sharing a different room in an apartment during a different stage of the break-up. With “Poison,” the kitchen in the cover art is in a state of disarray. Much like the relationship it represents, it’s not being cared for or nurtured. The open door, moving boxes, and luggage of the artwork for “Worry” imply (not so subtly) that things have progressed to the point of separation. I wanted the artwork for this song to be moody and darker than “Poison” because that acceptance is marred by a constant state of anxiety and worry.

6.With the addition of an electric harpist and a unique indie rock sound, how do you envision Courtside Betty contributing to the contemporary music scene? What impact do you hope your music, and specifically "Worry," will have on listeners and the indie rock genre as a whole?

My focus as a songwriter now is just to write the best songs I can. I’m incredibly excited to see how we fit into the SoCal and broader indie scenes as we continue to find our voice as a band which I feel is happening pretty organically right now! We’ve got a lot of music in the works and we’ve really hit the ground running this past year. I love hearing unique instrumentation and songwriting risks in indie and I hope that we can contribute to and inspire others to look outside of the typical indie rock band configuration or rock song structures. “Worry” leans into both of those aspects of our sound and I hope that serves as some small inspiration for our listeners. Speaking specifically to Catherine’s role in the band, she shared that harp is an instrument that often gets put in a box - people expect it to sound a certain way or for you to play a certain type of music. We hope our music inspires people to listen to more or play more harp and explore and enjoy the unique sonic possibilities the instrument offers!

As far as contributing to the contemporary music/indie scene, I think we’re just excited to be a part of such a diverse and eclectic scene right now!


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