Take one listen to Bette Smith’s voice – you know she was born to sing.
It’s because music is in her DNA.
“My father was a singer,” she says. “There’s some common bond there.”
Smith has been singing all her life and is making waves in the music industry.
She will make her New Mexico debut when she performs on Friday, Sept. 23, at Â¡Globalquerque!
The event is being held at the National Hispanic Cultural Center and will feature artists from around the world.
Smith is one of a handful of artists representing the United States.
She garnered great praise when her album “The Good, the Bad and the Bette” was released in fall 2020.
She’s often been compared to singers Aretha Franklin, Tina Turner, Betty Davis and Betty Wright.
The album was wrapped up in four days.
“Those days were long and it was very intense,” she says of the process. “We had to make sure that everything was going well. I had to keep my voice on point.”
Smith also writes her lyrics from a personal place.
“I write to my ancestors,” she says. “I write a lot of love songs and love stories to them. I lost my mom, my dad and older brother in three consecutive years. It was a lot to process. I had a lot of support while I was grieving and took the time to write the songs.”
On her album, there is a song called “Whistle Stop.”
Smith says it was written for her mother.
“It came from a dream that I had the morning my mother passed away,” she says. “She was living with my older sister. She didn’t want to die in New York, so we flew her back to the Caribbean. When my mom died, she appeared to me in an old train with the back open and she was waving goodbye to me. The train was pulling out of the station. It took me 15 minutes to write the song once I woke up.”
Smith is still getting used to her music reaching audiences.
She recalls being in Paris and performing “Whistle Stop” at a show.
“One fan during the intermission came up to me while I was signing autographs,” she says. “He barged through the line and told me that he drove from the south of France and couldn’t be let in. I talked to the bouncers and they let him in. He wanted to hear the song because it reminded him of a loved one. That song has reached people all over the world.”
With her tendency to write from a personal place, Smith admits there are moments of fear.
But she pushes through as she is reminded that to feel emotion is human.
“We don’t know what others are going through or how our words are going to connect with another,” she says. “It’s important to think of the big picture when we can get lost in our own framework.”