Lotte Betts-Dean: a classical singer in London
Lotte Betts-Dean an Australian classical singer based in London. I caught up with her between work commitments.
Life in Australia
I asked Lotte about her upbringing and relocation to Australia.
"My father played in the Berlin Philharmonic orchestra and my parents moved over to Berlin in 1984. I was born in Berlin in 1990 and moved to Australia when I was 10. We moved to Noosa in Queensland because my parents wanted us to have a real Australian experience.”
For UK readers, Noosa is a part of Australia associated with sun, surf and sand—it couldn’t be more different than Berlin. I wondered about how this musical family made the transition.
"It was quite a luxury to go to this beach lifestyle, but it also took a little bit of getting used to," laughed Lotte. "And of course Australia had very different values and it felt a bit strange: what’s cool in Berlin is certainly not what’s cool in Noosa when you are 10! After a couple of years, we all kind of realised that we should go somewhere a little less tropical and a bit more musical.”
I knew immediately that Lotte was referring to my own hometown of Melbourne. I asked her if Melbourne felt like a good half way point between Noosa and Berlin.
"Yes. It is funny because my whole family has now ended up back in Europe and we have kind of come full circle. Melbourne was the stepping-stone. I really love Melbourne and I go back quite regularly. It really feels like another home to me.”
Lotte studied at the Victorian College of the Arts and the Melbourne Conservatorium of Music. But a smaller choral organisation, the Gondwana Choirs, played a key role.
"My sister and I joined the Gondwana Choirs. That was an amazing and extraordinary experience. It taught me so much about being a musician. We did some great recordings and we toured internationally. I was a member of that choir from the age of 10 to 16. After that, it was pretty much a given I was going to sing. It just felt right.”
Moving to London
Following her studies in Melbourne, Lotte won a scholarship to the Royal Academy of Music in London.
"I was sort of feeling this call back to Europe. The Royal Academy in London is one of the most famous music schools in the world and I had always respected the vocal programme there. I found the transition quite smooth. London is an amazing city, as I am sure you know, and I settled into the place very quickly. I was raring for the challenge and opportunity to push myself in a different area.”
An artist in a global world
In arranging an interview with Lotte, we emailed across Europe as we tried to organise our schedules. It made me curious about the reality of living such a global lifestyle.
“I was lucky. I was raised in a different country and I’m bilingual which makes it easier to adjust quickly to the different scenarios. I get a kick out of it actually. I think it is really exciting to live a global life although it’s frustrating sometimes when you are living out of a suitcase for months on end. It just makes it all the better when you are able to settle in one place for a little while.”
Within all this travelling, Lotte is managing her own career. Her passion for musical and creative satisfaction is driving her forward.
“I am going through an interesting phase at the moment of having just come out of my final study phase. It’s made me really question what I wanted to do with my voice and what kind of artist I want to be.
There is a slight push towards focusing on mainstream opera and there is a bit of a feeling that, if you don’t do anything else you won’t have a career. I have forced myself to ask the questions of what do I love, what do I want to do, what kind of musician and what kind of singer do I want to be?
The grand plan is to remain flexible and to go with the flow. I am interested in contemporary music and lesser-known music outside mainstream opera but that doesn’t mean cutting out opera.
I want to sing and make sure I am staying true to myself.”
I am always keen to give the heads-up for other Australian women coming to London, so I asked about Lotte’s favourite places to visit.
“There are 10 different parts of London in every part of London if that makes sense. But if I had to name one place, and I know this is really clichéd, but Primrose Hill is just stunning. That view you have to see to believe. The vibe up there is really fun. People bring guitars and you can just make friends with people. It is pretty amazing.”
You can follow Lotte Betts-Dean here
Facebook Artist Page: www.facebook.com/lottebettsdean