Betty Reed views karma through two lenses: the age old adage of “what goes around comes around,” and the tangible results of taking one’s happiness into their own hands and moving forward in life. It’s the latter definition that Reed embodies in her latest single “Karma” – premiering today exclusively with Audiofemme – from her upcoming EP, Mistakes Made, Lessons Learned, out September 3, 2021.
“The song is about the moment you break free from an abusive relationship and are living your best, and that’s their karma,” Reed describes. “It’s not something bad happens to them, it’s really you being able to love yourself and be happy without them.” Reed’s liberating version of payback is transformed into a modest pop number where instead of wishing ill upon her former partner, she finds freedom in personal happiness and self-love. The song opens with an introduction to the toxic relationship wherein Reed’s dignity is torn apart and her words are used as a weapon against her by a partner who gaslights her into thinking she’s constantly at fault. Throughout the song, Reed sheds the trauma of the past, turning the negative situation into a positive outcome for herself as she lets the relationship go once and for all.
“Getting the life you deserve, the happiness you deserve from someone that loves you or from loving yourself, it’s this whole turnaround of confidence. I feel like that’s some good karma right there – getting confidence and getting some love in yourself that you thought was taken from you,” she expresses. “I think that’s the thing about karma. I don’t have to listen to those words. I can create my own happiness as opposed to relying on a loved one or someone that you think you trust to make this happiness for you. It’s really overcoming this emotional abuse, understanding your self-worth, realizing your self-worth is the negative person’s karma.”
“I learned that I’m strong/And my world keeps moving on/Got all this noise outta my head/Pushed the devil out of my bed,” she proclaims in the song’s triumphant line, reclaiming her own agency. The latter lines were the first that came to Reed’s mind as she was crafting the lyrics, setting the tone for the song and overall EP. “It became that theme of overcoming, and that’s what this whole EP is about,” the Berklee College of Music grad reflects. Reed notes that the half dozen songs all tie into female empowerment, facing challenges, and becoming stronger in the process. “Everyone makes mistakes, and mistakes are one of the most important things to do in our lives, and I am full of mistakes. I love making them because it’s really the best way I learn,” she observes. “There’s no such thing as not having redemption for it and becoming enlightened from whatever has been done.”
As someone who was encouraged to make mistakes as a learning tool growing up in theatre, Reed has channeled that skill into living with depression and anxiety, using music to process her emotions in a healing way. “I’d rather write about trying to overcome it and my coping skills to make it better, because not only does that help me, but I feel like that would help a lot of people who go through the same things that I do,” Reed shares of her writing process, elevated by her mission of building bridges though her music. “I love connecting with people through lyrics and melody. It’s so diverse. That’s the thing I love about music the most,” she continues. “You can connect through music, you can understand someone through music, and I think that’s one of the most beautiful things and what I want to do with this EP and with what I write.”