Betty Davis Interview on The Sound of Young America Podcast


Betty Davis is a legend of soul and funk music. The one-time wife of Miles Davis introduced the jazzman to Jimi Hendrix, Sly Stone and the broad world of electric music, leading him to create "Bitches Brew." She recorded three albums of her own in the 1970s, full of raw, sexy, outrageous funk. The first two, "Betty Davis" and "They Say I'm Different" have been re-released by the Seattle label Light in the Attic Records.

Davis left the music industry in the late 1970s, and has been completely absent from the public eye since -- at one point, a fan had to track her down in the suburbs of Pittsburgh to get her $40,000 in songwriting royalties.

This is her first radio interview since her performing days.

You might also enjoy these past programs:
Soul Sides with Dr. Oliver Wang
Southern Soul: Devin the Dude and Stax Records (MP3)
The College Years: Swamp Dogg

Our intersititial music is provided by Dan Wally


The one and only funk-rock diva Betty Davis

Hello, Thanks to a friend I have only just found this wonderful interview Betty did a while back now. Such humbleness and honesty in her manner. Such magic and purity in her music. I have been a Betty fan since the early 90's when her albums first resurfaced. Coming from Australia I'd never heard anything like her sound and her voice. She infused me and my life from the first listening. I haven't stopped boogieing to her music since! So much so that I created a show about her because I felt people should know about this wonderful musician. The show is called "They Say She's Different", and celebrates her life, talent, and music. Please head to to know more. Betty thank you for your wonderful music, and it's so awesome to hear you are still writing. We all look forward to hearing it!
With much love and gratitude -

Cecilia Low

Betty Davis

Up listening to her music, has been a fan since the 70's. She is just awesome! I'm waiting on her new music. I need more!

i love ur music

..Im 25 years old and I remember listening to " He Was A Big Freak " with my grandmother when I was really young. Until I actually started singing along then she stuffed the record in her closet. Lol I eventually forgot about it but when I rediscovered that song on u tube I suddenly remembered. I remember her telling me about the 70s and how much she enjoyed ur music because she too was a country girl who had moved to the city of Baltimore. I wish they would release something of you live. That had to be one hell of a show. Its interesting to how many artist youve influenced and gets no credit for it. From all the stories ive heard ive actually designed my living room with vintage things from the 70s and I have a ur album " they say im different " in a frame above my Tv. ROCK ON LEGEND!

just fantastic

I´m from austria and never heard from betty davis till about 3 weeks ago. And from this moment I was in love with the raw , fine funk. I love funk, but Betty Davis is more then normal. I bought all of the records I could find and can´t stop playing it.

I am sad , that she didn´t get the reward for her music at the time of making it, but like we know its late but not to late.
I hope she will be pleased to see how many people like or better love her and her music. Would be great if she still have some not published tapes in her house.

if somebody could sent her all this great comment, I am sure she will think about starting making music again.

love you Betty

A total legend!

Good to hear her after so many years. We can only hope for a tour so those of us who never had the chance.

Betty D.

I played keys for Betty on "They Say I'm Different" LP and toured with her for about a year. Betty was the Queen of Funk. On the 1st day of my session with her, I had just got to the West coast and that day I went to the studio before I had unpacked! I was like wow, this is too much. But she came to me and said, just play Tony. She said I want you in here and that was it! The high point of my music thing!! She trusted me that much was too much! Yea, we were both from NC and the same town of Reidsville, she let me do what I felt. I had a funky good time!! I will never forget it. Betty if you read this, I want to say thanks and that I love you........

Tony Vaughn

Betty Davis

I saw her live in 1973 at the Carter Baron Amphitheatre in Wahington,DC Undisputedley-One of the Best that Ever Did It!!!! Her first album had pointer sisters singing back-up and Larry Graham on bass-Need I say More!!! She is an icon and a living legend-I get chills just thinking about her-gifted beyond words and waaaay ahead of her time!! An influence to so many entertainers. The world is truly blessed forever with the gift of her divine talent!!!!! I LOVE YOU BETTY DAVIS!!!!!

Betty Davis

Come out and play Betty, we miss you!! Saw her perform in Wash. DC back in the day, and have always loved her style and energy. Would love to see a movie made about Betty. There is a singer Martha Redbone who I think could pull off the roll. She is a powerful singer, whose style is different from Betty's but I know she could pull it off, also she looks like Betty, only shorter.

Betty Davis

They don't make em like this anymo!!!!!

What a Gal, and so humble in the interview!!!! She comes across a bit like Zappa did when asked about drugs and how he came to do what they did with their attitudes and Art... interviewers can make it uncomfortable by asking THOSE types of questions and trying to put it in a box and label it, but hey, at least we got an interview!!!! I love Betty, she was the sexxiest fonkiest gal in town... x

Betty Davis the Greatest

Still ahead of her time, original Beyonce from the future, meta-muse in view of another dimension, greatest funk princess ! ! !


Hello Betty, I had the opportunity of being introduced to you by my late and first husband who is now deceased, I believe it was at your mother or brother's home here in Pittsburgh, btw how's your brother Chuck, or Shay I believe that is what my former fondly called him.
May God Bless and Keep !


Love You BETTY!!!

Everytime you came to Washington DC area, The Howard Theater, The Capital Center, ETC. You always invited me backstage or in the dressing room to share the musician experence. I was 13 or 14 years old at the time but I will never forget how down to earth you were and very very nice. Because of that I am a musician today. I would love to talk with you, and just tell you thanks. You can email me at


Man I have been searching for This Woman

I always revisit Betty's music.
I saw her in the village in 1979 performing her 3rd album and it was the show of shows...
That night Richard Pryor came backstage and it was believed he invited her to be on his Television show and I have been looking for the footage ever since.
This interview is cool but you need to get her back and get some real Betty davis questions answered..
Great accomplishment though love it

Richard Pryor TV Show

I was in the dressing room when he asked her, ( The Bottom Line) but it never happened.

Fred "Funki" MIlls
keyboards & vocals


I am 24-years-old and have never been moved by a singer the way that Betty Davis has moved me. I have all her records on vinyl (yes wax!) and can't stop playing them. It's such a shame that she isn't as revered as she should be. But she is a true musician and artist who was too ahead of her time and too hard to market. SO MANY MUSICIANS have Betty to thank for their style, swagger, musicianship and careers. My children will be required to listen to her discography.

My God - you found Betty

My God - you found Betty Davis? I was so in love with her in the 70's - and baby was fine as hell - sexy as all get out and could fu**ing JAM
I thingk I have at least three of her Albums- if you guys remember wah those were. FUNK was one of my favorites. She was the inspiration of the Brides of Funkenstein and VanitySix and all the FUNK from the era - sista could play too. HEY BETTY !!! we love ya gal.



This interview is probably the most important interview in the last decade in musical history.

Betty Davis, in my opinion, is easily one of the most important, and certainly THE most interesting and unique female singer of the 20th century. Ever since the release of her three records, no-one came even close to her.

Almost every one of her songs leaves me in shock and awe. Sometimes i really think i have all possible emotions at once (with the good ones being clearly on top) when listening to her music.

There are maybe hundreds of female singers that i have utmost respect for. Among those, only Betty Davis leaves me speechless. She's to good for my ears and brain.

Given her record sales, she's gotta be to good for the rest of the world, as well.

Thank you so very much for the interview! Finally that darn internet turned out to be good for something!

Yep, I totally agree with

Yep, I totally agree with everything you wrote and I couldn't have said it better myself.

Lets hope there are more BD recordings one day soon.

Betty Davis Rules!

Thanks for posting this interview. Do you know is there is any existing video footage of Betty performing? I'd love to see that.

live footage

to the best of my knowledge, there is no live footage of betty davis.
if you find out otherwise, the world wants to know.

would have made a great interview question.


I had never heard of Betty Davis until I listened to this interview. Well done Jesse! She doesnt sound like the easiest person to interview and its hard to believe she is the same person singing those badass songs. I will have to buy her album off Itunes.

great stuff! thank you for sharing. i did a review of "If I'm In Luck" a little while back on my blog. this interview was really well done.

Betty Davis was ahead of her time. She was very popular in Philly and along the east coast and WDAS-FM did play her music. I had the pleasure of seeing her perform twice; once at Morgan State's homecoming. I am soooo happy to have found this interview.Another Nasty Girl.

This is the most moronic (as our knuckleheaded ex-mayor Guliani would put it) out of touch interview I've heard in ages. Do you live under a rock or something? Do you understand what it takes to make the kind of transition Betty went through? -Wrong question, forget it. Tune into your humanity my man! There are soo many more things relevant to the state of america today to ask other than "frivolity". What a missed oportunity.


But I gotta kinda side with Anonymous. Some of the questions felt...weird. And her music has so many obvious links to the blues, I can't imagine why he'd ask how she went from listening to blues as a child to playing rock. I mean that's where rock comes from! And in terms of introversion (which he mentions so much) to imagine that she'd be the same at 12 as 28 and now in her early 60s is...mind boggling. "Was it hard to not get high?"??? Geeze!

Thankfully she actually takes some of the questions and makes more of them than what she's offered.

The interview was fantastic, respectful, and very tasteful. It made my day.Thanks Betty for all the years of inspiration!Bob Gaulke

I can't believe you got an interview with Betty Davis. What an amazing few records she did.Betty - it's never too late to keep going and offer the world some more....never too late...we'd love you to do some would be really fascinating in this day and age. Thank you for letting us know you are still on this planet. Keep funkin Betty!Mike from London x

I enjoyed this interview. I bought this album when I was in college and, stupidly, got rid of it after several years. As I listened to her, and her soft voice, I kept shaking my head. What a difference between her speaking voice and her singing voice

Holy shit! Way to go Betty! God, we love you! Please please bless the world with some more of your music! And Light In The Attic? Please listen, re-issue NASTY GAL and what about the 1979 sessions???

Glad to finally hear Betty speak! She is a true artist and her stuff is unbelieveable. Fascinating to hear her talk and her ideas.Maybe she said some stuff was off-limits, but no mention of Miles? There were really so many more serious topics I would have asked her about. I think perhaps the interviewer was not totally aware of Betty's music because he seemed to be kind of surprised that she was a true, true artist. I sure wish I had interviewed her!

Betty Davis the Concert Artist

I saw Betty Davis for the 1st time New Year Eve 1975 at Capital Center in Landover Md it was an awesome experience to say the least also playing that night was Parliament-Funkadelic and EWF, this was an evening an 18year kid will never forget, Betty Davis "showed out" and absolutely mesmerized the crowd including me..........AJB(

Go, Betty

Cool interview. Too bad she's not really engaging in an interview format but it's great to hear her in her own words, no matter how few they may be. I love Betty Davis. Great music, great vision, great talent. Had she been more successful, she definitely would be deemed the Queen of Funk if there was ever such a title.

Betty Davis

Personally i was just grateful to hear the Great Lady speak, Thanks for posting this..

Peace Everytime

ps.. now if anyone has any live footage hidden away in a dusty, lOFT/studio? SET IT FREE :)

Peace Everytime


Betty Mabry Davis

I literally played her records until they shredded. Then I talked about her to anyone who had a pulse. Then I bugged my mother endlessly until she got a writer friend of hers over at Rolling Stone to cover her live show at The Bottom Line for the New York Times, where I got to go backstage and talk with her. She called me on my birthday every year and encouraged my music and my other pursuits. Stupidly, when I turned 16 I thought I was too grown to go to dinner with her and now I regret that because she was so encouraging of young people man, she was just way ahead of the rest of these lame duck m.f.'s.

I know for sure that she still listens to what's current and still records and jams with musicians b/c I know a dude who went out to Homestead and jammed at her home. She counts among her first cousins The Brothers Johnson and her musical chops are better than better known and so-called more accomplished musicians, especially males. She really is very humble in person, so the interview did not surprise me on that level.

-Alayna Woods Buffalo

Inspired by Betty D

Hey Guys,

Check out this group -!the-buzz/c5ck

They do a musical/theatrical performance based on Betty D

Betty Davis

I love BD music. So great to read all the nice comments.

Wow Betty Mabry Davis

Wow,Totally Wowwing here,just heard of Betty M Davis in my readings today, and desperately searched for a live footage, cant wait for Nasty Girl film, Really appreciate this interview. I too would be nervous as heck asking her ??? with her 1 word answers. And with all the questions I want to ask her.Why did she retreat home? She sounds like a really inspiring woman to many young aspiring ones. When is the Nasty Girl movie release? Great she is still writing music, and to learn on this interview forum that she jams at home. Wow. A bit of Angela Davis Bolshy, but fascinating story of a young woman who made it into Fashion, modelling, Night Clubbing, Music. I must read more and hear more of her songs and her story. Legend Woman

Betty Davis

I love BD music. So great to read all the nice comments.