Can new artist V.V. Brown find success in the U.K. and across the pond? Vivid and vivacious, singer V.V. Brown can see the music in anything. For her, it’s all about the melody. She’s an artist that isn’t afraid to say she has “The Circle of Life” from Disney’s “The Lion King” on her iPod. (Don’t be surprised if you hear a song featuring a sample in the near future.) She loves the way kids’ show “Yo Gabba Gabba” uses crunk music to get kids to eat their vegetables. Bringing a love of 60’s girl groups, 50’s rock and roll singer Ruth Brown, and icons Grace Jones and David Bowie, V.V.’s gearing up to turn the music world on its ear. Set to release in the U.K. at the end of May, Brown’s debut album, Traveling Like The Light can be defined as contemporary doo wop. Not to be confused with that other singer with a retro sound, if you ask the 24 year old British chanteuse to describe her music and you’ll get two answers, Doo Wop indie and “50’s synthesized madness. I’m very much in love the ‘50’s, but there are a lot of synthesized, electronic things going on and I’m mad so I put all those things together.”
But there’s a definite method to her madness. After her first attempt at music stardom fell flat, Brown has taken a mantra of making her music her way. As a result, V.V. built this album from the ground up writing the songs, arranging the vocals, producing the tracks, even playing all the instruments. Songs “Crying Blood” and “Leave!” show the artist is definitely onto something. The upbeat, quirky tunes detail the real life story of a relationship gone south. During a two year stay in Los Angeles, Brown fell in love with a booking agent that was “a complete asshole.” After the breakup, V.V. took her one-string guitar and wrote the album over the course of a week. “It’s literally me pouring my heart out about how I felt about this complete idiot. It was just one of things where those things where I had a lot to say and I had gone through feeling very suppressed and compromised for two years. So when I came back from L.A. to England, it was like I was home again and everything just came out of me.”
While the time in L.A. may have created a smarter artist, it did nothing for V.V.’s wallet. In fact, she had to sell her keyboard just to pay for the ticket home. Upon arriving back in England, V.V. was broke. The lack of finances is where she derives her unique sense of fashion. Mixing creativity, some vintage store finds, and a needle and thread, Brown makes clothes that match her unique style.
“It made me kind of excited to buy a really old dress for a grandmother and cut it up and make it like it was for me.”
And to help out the recessionista-in-training, the frugal fashionista is bringing her kitschy vintage designs to the web in April via her brand new online boutique VVintage.com. When she isn’t rocking her own funky fashions, V.V. loves the classicness of Chanel as well as the sequined fare of Ashish. But don’t expect to see her sporting anything overly glam like rhinestone heels. Just like her music, V.V.’s style has a punk edge that can not be overlooked.
As V.V. prepares for her album release and the boutique launch, her mind is focused on the future as well as her evolution as an artist. Reflecting on her past experience in L.A., Brown is focused on bigger things than posting large album sales. She wants to take a page out of the book of successful artists like Erykah Badu, Common, and Amy Winehouse (yes, Amy). “When I was younger it was about fame and winning awards and selling millions of records. Now that I’m much more mature, it’s about credibility, it’s about consistency, it’s about having a long career. It’s not about just blowing up quickly and never coming back again.” And while she would be satisfied with an album that has a slow burn, talent like hers tends to heat up the music charts “like a comet falling out of the sky.” And while the road to stardom can be filled with delays and detours, especially for a foreign artist, look for V.V. to be the next Brit invading U.S. airwaves in the very near future.