Hamilton’s Betsy Struxness Shares Her Journey to Creating Her Debut Album
From joining tours (Oklahoma!, All Shook Up) to originating roles on Broadway (Hamilton), Betsy Struxness has done a bit of everything as a musical-theater performer. Now, she’s returning to an old dream: becoming a pop singer. She recently released her debut album, Physical Attention.
Growing up inspired by Britney Spears and Christina Aguilera, Struxness spent her late teens fantasizing about making music. But, she says, “The theatrical career kind of took over. I got to sing and dance all the time. I got to be onstage all the time. I got to wear fun costumes and fun wigs. It gave me the experience of being a pop star without ever being one.”
So why did she decide the time was right to create a pop album? In the past, “the energy in my body was far more suited to being onstage than it was to being in a recording booth,” Struxness says. “I needed the theatrical outlet, the stage, and the physicality of that time period.” After years of long days hustling in New York City, she was ready to turn her energy inwards and get familiar with her voice.
“As a recording artist, you want to be more intimate with the microphone and use the softer side of your voice,” Struxness says. “You want to get the vulnerabilities in as well as some of the power.”
Expanding Her Artistry
After dancing in New York for over 20 years, Struxness made the move to Los Angeles in 2019. She had worked all over Broadway, but always on other people’s projects. She wanted to start creating her own work.
She started with improvisational dance videos. They led to a realization: “I didn’t feel like I could maneuver with my voice with the same sort of alacrity and awareness,” she says. “I wanted to be able to do that.”
The album, she explains, is “that assignment that I’ve given myself so that I can start getting to know my voice as an instrument the way that I know my body as an instrument.”
Creating the Album
Despite her musical background—she played violin as a kid—Struxness doesn’t consider herself an instrumentalist. But, alongside producer Sam Perlow and co-songwriter Ella Poletti, Struxness helped craft the sound and orchestrations of her songs by tuning in to her dancer brain. When listening to the tracks sent to her by her producer, Struxness would dance to the music to see what beats were missing, what sounds she wanted to highlight, and where she wanted “more meat.”
Now that the album is out, what is next for Struxness? “Music videos, music videos, music videos!” she says. “I basically made the music so that I could create music videos.” In the meantime, Struxness would love to see dancers dancing to Physical Attention.