First came the release of her hit single “Children.” Then came the announcement of the new album title, Lollipops & Politics, along with the track listing. In the past week she has performed two shows in Los Angeles alone, including a SOLD OUT performance just this passed Wednesday at Hotel Cafe. In the midst of all this, it seemed only fitting that we sit down with Vanessa “VV” Brown to coax even more intimate details out of the singer/songwriter about her new album and her November tour.
VV was kind enough to sit with me on a quiet Monday evening just hours before she was to take stage at the Bardot in Hollywood. She looked flawless in her all black get-up and electric blue Vivienne Westwood flats. Even more striking than her appearance, however, was her demeanor. She was amiable and content. It was the perfect atmosphere to conduct an interview, which honestly felt more like a laid-back conversation between an artist and a fan than a journalistic endeavor. VV propped up on the couch of her hotel suite, feet tucked under and completely casual, and that was my cue to begin…
So VV, this is the fourth stop on your November tour. You’ve had a couple shows in New York and one in D.C. How’s it been going? Can you tell us a little bit about the experience?
Awesome! Even though we’ve had some small successes, I’m always surprised to see when people turn up at my gigs. It’s just so nice to see people sing along to the songs from the last album, as well as show interest in the new one. I’ve been trying my hardest to talk to the fans at the end of each show, to figure out which songs they like and how they’re feeling about the new album. It has all been really exciting. Washington D.C. was absolutely incredible; there was so much energy. At one point in the show, I asked everyone in the crowd to do a specific dance move, and they actually did it. It was like a family party. Really, it’s been great.
I noticed there were two LA stops on the tour. Can you tell us why?
The whole tour is really small. It’s been more of a listening party. I felt that LA had to have two stops because there are lots of people who really want to check out the new album. Also, I think one of the shows is a bit more industry than the other. I think the Bardot show is an opportunity for press and people in the business to come listen to the record, while the Hotel Cafe show is more for the fans. I wanted to keep it separate.
Have you been preforming many songs from the new record, Lollipops & Politics, at the shows?
We’ve been playing basically 80% of the new album, so it’s a true listening party. People are going to hear the new record at these shows. I’m so happy we’re doing it too! We’re testing it, we’re finding out what people’s favorites are and whether or not they like it, and that’s more important to me than anything. The fans are the people who have supported my entire career, so really it’s their show.
The new single, “Children” (Feat. Chiddy), has already been nationally released and very well received. The music video for the song was also just released on November 1st. Was the shoot based in LA?
Yes, it was! The video was shot by Daniel Price and Edward Gil, two amazing new directors. Both are very good friends of mine, and it was a very, very real video. We went on the streets of LA ourselves, and we stopped real people. Every single person you see in that video is not an extra. They are people that we stopped with release forms. We got to know them, we spoke with them, and we hung out with them.
It wasn’t a majorly expensive video either. We shot it on our 5D cameras, and I styled myself. I wanted to shoot it like that because I wanted the message of the song to come through. I could of easily done a hi-fashion fierce video, but I wanted to strip it back down to basics and let it be what the song is about, and it’s about people.
The song is titled “Children,” but it’s about hope and what we’re going through, what’s going on in our world. It was a bit scary because labels wanted me to do a hi-fashion video for it, so it was a risk. I know some of the fans were expecting a more fashion-led video, and that will come with the other singles, but for now I wanted to introduce something a bit raw, a bit real, and for people to actually hear the music before seeing the visual. I wanted for people to see me as a musician.
What are the themes that we can expect from the album? Does it take any sort of clear musical direction?
I think this album is way more cohesive than the first record. There’s a lot more consistency with this one. When I was making the first record, I was so excited that I think I threw everything at it, every genre that I love, that is. With this album, I wanted to create a piece of artwork where everything married into each other. The themes within the songs are all very similar. They’re all about the world and what the world means to me. This album is all about what’s going on in our world and questioning it, which is why it’s called Lollipops & Politics.
Also, I think it’s way more of a pop record than my last album. There are no retro themes at all. It’s strictly straight pop with influences from hip hop and ’80s soul. It’s a bit difficult to explain because my sound is odd-pop, that’s what I call it. There will always be a weird twinge to it, so it’s harder to explain, but I will say that it’s more consistent than the first.
With this album I feel as if I have matured more, so there’s more of a linear line of who I am now in the record. Although the other albums were indeed me, there is more of myself in this album. I’m diving in deeper. There’s a track on the album called “Like Fire,” which I wrote myself, produced myself, and arranged the strings for myself…that’s my testimony. This album is another personal journey. It’s just a bit deeper into my brain, I think.
Did you have any artist influences on this album?
I like Cyndi Lauper and Blondie. I like those kinds of artists that have something important to say. I just love the fact that they were both very fun and playful, but there was a serious side about them as well. They always had some kind of message. Cyndi Lauper was very much a feminist with her music. It was very empowering, yet it was still fun, so I think I was looking up to those types of artists when I was making this record.
What’s the best part of the job?
Being in the studio, I absolutely love it. I miss it too..that and going live is the best part of the job!
Is there a release date for the new album yet?
February 7th, the day after my mum’s birthday!
I am sad to report that VV’s tour ended on Nov. 10th in Seattle, WA. Now that we’ve caught wind of her new album release date however, we still have something to look forward to from the British native in the very near future. You heard the woman: February 7th, people – mark your calendars!
For more info on VV Brown: