On the release day of her new album ‘Betty,’ Nina from SOUNZ caught up with Ainslie Allen to find out more the latest release.


Ko Puketapu me Manawaru tōku maunga
Ko Te Arai tōku awa
Ko Horouta me Tākitimu tōku waka
Ko Rongowhakaata tōku iwi

How did the concept for your new Album ‘Betty’ come about?

I’ve always been whānau focused, so to honour my Nan – I named my album after her.

Can you tell us about the process of writing this album?

This is a process that happens in different stages, I had already written a number of waiata prior to recording, I wrote a song while I was in the studio, as I felt the record needed a country-rock element. Writing for me is a vibe, sometimes it works and sometimes I need to get energy from papat

Your single ‘Love Doesn’t Work Anymore’ has so many smooth nostalgic country tones, can you talk us through the inspiration for this single?

This was a co-write with Allan Caswell, he is acclaimed Australian songwriter, whom I was fortunate to connect with while at the Tamworth Country Music Festival. We wanted a song that people are able to feel, and connect with. The production on the song sounds so good thanks to my co-producer Ben Edwards.

Will you be carrying these smooth nostalgic country tones through the new album?

I can’t wait to get onto album number two, I’m already excited, and tunes are coming to me, even in my sleep! It’s a vibe!

How did you first discover your love for country and how did you discover you have a silky smooth voice perfect for the genre?

I was brought up on country songs, my Nan Betty used to listen to Charlie Pride, and Willie Nelson, I later fell in love with Patsy Cline and her smooth velvet vocal. I used to sing her version of ‘Crazy’ written by Willie Nelson. She’s one of my heroes.

The album art for ‘Betty’ is so fun and pink, how did this concept come about?

I came up with the concept from my love of 70’s fashion, and music. I saved up enought] money to fund my album photo shoot including hair and makeup by Hils Cook, styling by Sopeak Seng, and Photographer Dave Richards, I made a Pinterest board of the vibe I wanted including fashion, musicians, colours and themes. I really wanted Betty to have a fun, feminine energy and look. I was lucky to connect with graphic designer Anns Taylor who brought my vision to life.