“Be Big” by Stephanie Bettman

Stephanie Bettman made her name in music circles as a talented practitioner of Americana/folk for well over a decade. She amassed seven releases to her credit and toured extensively as one-half of the highly praised Bettman & Halpin duo. Her songs during this period are characterized by a constant looking outside of herself to write about the world around her and telling the stories she heard and witnessed along the way. However, her new single “Be Big” rewrites her creative direction.

“Be Big” focuses on the personal in a way that her prior work did not. I should clarify though that Bettman has always invested her heart, mind, and soul into her art, and that hasn’t changed, but now she’s devoted to telling her own story with the hopes that others will glean wisdom from what she’s learned and relate to her particular understanding about life. “Be Big” is a bold and fulfilling step in that direction.

It’s far removed from the folk and Americana days of yore. She embraces a pop-rock sound that possesses plenty of oomph as well as a slick production varnish that never sounds false. Bettman also makes excellent use of dynamics in a way that her prior work did not. The drumming is crucial to manipulating those dynamics. There is a bevy of climatic payoffs built into the structure of Bettman’s “Be Big” that keep listeners on the edge of their seats throughout the song’s three minutes and change running time.

The thing that listeners will respond to the most is her voice. Few singers this year will release a single where they are so emphatic with each syllable of the lyrics. There’s no coasting here. She’s connected with the song in a visceral fashion that reinforces the personal connection she has with the material. Just as clear as it is that she’s now living by the creed espoused in the song, it’s equally clear that there was a time she didn’t, and it makes the moment all the sweeter for her.

The song’s message of self-realization is forever timely. Embody your dreams and the moment you are in rather than shirking from its possibilities. You will be hard-pressed to find any way of disagreeing with what her song says. She crafts that message with lyrics that are shorn of any wasted or throwaway words. The same laser focus that she brings to this briskly paced tune she brings to the lyric writing as well.

It all comes together to make “Be Big” one of the most resounding singles released yet in 2024. Stephanie Bettman has enjoyed a remarkable musical journey so far, and her newfound willingness to put her art’s spotlight on her rather than the outside world opens up previously unexplored dimensions. It’s like pressing a giant reset button on her voyage. She strides into the future confident beyond measure, and she should be. “Be Big” stomps and breezes past listeners with unquestionable self-assurance that even the most jaded listeners will find contagious.

Clay Burton