Profile: Betty Soo

Asian American Heritage Month: Betty Soo

Ryan Wen

Born in 1979 just outside Houston to 1st generation Korean immigrant parents, Betty Soo grew up as Texan as they come. A UT graduate raised on country music radio, her musical mix of folk, twangy pop, and a pinch of gospel reflects her Texas upbrgining. But if that eclectic mix doesn’t immediately capture you, her voice will.

Her masterful vocal control and deft phrasing shines across her last 4 solo albums and recent singles like her version of “I Want To See The Bright Lights Tonight.” Her live shows don’t fall short either, filled with sharp humor and incredibly impressive guitar skills.

She’s also is a hell of a songwriter and has received multiple awards, including New Folk at Kerrville, The Dave Carter Songwriting Award at Sisters Folk Festival, and Mountain Stage’s New Song. She’s played festivals like SXSW and the Kerrville Folk Festival, and her music has been featured on Riverdale, Girl Boss, and was the musical inspiration for A Girl Named Sue, Christine Hoang’s 2017 play.

Although COVID put things on pause for Betty Soo, she’s come back swinging and she’s currently touring across the U.S. with James McMurtry and Chris Smither, and with artists like Eliza Gilkyson and Pat Byrne working with her, it’s clear there’s no stopping her now.


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