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Genre: Indie / Pop Punk / Soul
Location London, Un
Profile Views: 1687190
Last Login: 3/28/2012
Member Since 7/13/2007
Record Label Island Universal
Type of Label Major
BioBritish singer and songwriter Vanessa "V V" Brown has already made a name for herself on both sides of the Atlantic with her effervescent 2010 debut album Travelling Like The Light, which spawned the gold single "Shark In the Water." Now she returns with a stellar new pop-soul-electro collection to be released early 2012. Recorded in Sweden, London and Los Angeles, the album finds the Northampton native not only taking a major musical leap into experimentalism (aided by her collaborators Bjorn Yttling and Chuck Harmony), but also asking tough-minded questions "especially in regards to the youth," as she puts it, on such songs as "Famous" and the first single "Children," the latter a hip-pop classic with one ear cocked to Kelis' "Milkshake" and the other to T. Rex's "Children of the Revolution." "It's pop," V V says, "but that doesn't mean it can't be interesting. The album is a positive way to somehow talk about some serious things."
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V V Brown: "Children" featuring Chiddy of Chiddy Bang - Official Music Video
V V Brown ARTIST #TALK with Arjan Writes and HP
V V Brown: "Children" and London Riots
Children (Behind the Scenes) featuring Chiddy of Chiddy Bang
New V V Brown Album Coming Soon
..Lollipops & Politics..
Having already made a name for herself in her native Britain with her debut album, an effervescent slice of electro-doo wop entitled Travelling Like The Light, singer, songwriter, producer, and model Vanessa “V V” Brown hit U.S. shores in October 2009 with her smart, intuitive fusion of pop, soul, rock, and electronica that shined particularly bright on such tracks as the gold-certified single “Shark In The Water.” Leaving an exciting visual trail of video clips, fan-posted television, online, and festival appearances all over cyberspace, V V proved herself to be a luminous presence, vocally, visually, and creatively.
In Europe, her achievements have included Travelling climbing to No. 1 on the French Digital Albums chart (making V V a star in France), a sold-out tour of the U.K. and appearances at the major summer festivals, including Glastonbury, performing for HRH Prince Charles at the Princes Trust Celebrate Success Awards, and becoming the first black British woman to front an ad campaign for venerable U.K. retailer Marks & Spencer, which she landed thanks to her highly developed sense of personal style and stunning looks. In the U.S., V V appeared on Ellen, Rachael Ray, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, and The Late Show with David Letterman, hit the road with Maroon 5 for its 2010 North American tour, performed on BET’s Black Girls Rock show alongside Mary J. Blige and Jill Scott, and racked up glowing reviews for her album from Spin, Entertainment Weekly, The New York Times, and USA Today, which remarked that Travelling “reveals both a knack for killer hooks and, vocally, a rare mix of power and grace.”
Now this 27-year-old dynamo, who hails from Northampton, England, is back with her second album, Lollipops & Politics, which finds her taking a major stylistic leap by bending herself into experimental musical shape. Pivotal records V V had been exposed to while on the road promoting Travelling — from the anthemic punk template of The Clash to the experimental electronica of The Knife — began to subconsciously creep into her music. “I was going to a kind of experimental place I hadn't been before,” V V says. “It felt like growing up. I felt freer. I’m in this for the long haul. I want a body of work that I can be proud of, not just one hit album and over.”
V V began to sketch out ideas for the album while touring behind Travelling Like The Light. ”I felt like I was maturing as an artist,” she says. “I set up a studio in my flat and started going a bit mad with music. It was all part of the process of getting to where I am now. I had to re-program and learn who I was again.” Recorded in Sweden, London and Los Angeles, Lollipops & Politics opens with the first single, “Children,” featuring Chiddy (of Philadelphia’s Chiddy Bang). “The song was written about a generation that has uninspiring aspirations and believe material wealth is what happiness is,” V V says, adding that it feels particularly topical given the riots that occurred last summer in London. “You have to give people a voice,” she says. “Everyone has to be heard, because otherwise they will make themselves heard.” Produced by Rihanna, Mary J Blige, and Ne-Yo collaborator Chuck Harmony (whom V V worked with on five of the album’s tracks),”Children” is a hip-pop classic, with one ear cocked to Kelis’ “Milkshake” and the other to T. Rex’s “Children of the Revolution.” “It’s pop,” V V says, “but that doesn’t mean it can’t be interesting.”
“Children” also exemplifies a theme running through the album that inspired the title, Lollipops & Politics: “There is a lot going in the world today and taking the time out to make this second record got me thinking and asking a lot of questions especially in regards to the youth,” V V says. “Lollipops & Politics is about this dilemma. It’s a positive way to somehow talk about some serious things."
Other highlights on the album include “Be Yours,” a Ronettes-style ballad introduced by a wall of drums and a dream-like killer chorus (“It’s the only love song on the record,” V V says, “I find it hard to write love songs when I’m happy”) and “Like Fire,” which opens against two minutes of fuzzed-out discordant synthesizer and builds to a cinematic, hurricane climax of strings and a voice unleashed. “I’m so proud of that song as I wrote it myself, played all instruments, and arranged the strings,” V V says. Then there’s “Famous,” which V V co-wrote with her other producer Bjorn Yttling, of feted Swedish indie rockers Peter, Bjorn and John. In Yttling’s studio in Stockholm, Sweden, the two explored the awareness that society is moving into a post-celebrity age. “What is fame?” V V asks. “I can feel the idea of achievement, just doing the things you want to do and that you are proud of, taking over from that idea of fame.”
For V V, “doing the things you want to do” has always meant music. “I can’t remember a time when it wasn’t a part of me,” she says. “When I was five, I wrote my first song on the piano, playing the same notes over and over and from that moment I knew that music would be a huge part of my life.” As a kid, she daydreamed with her five siblings about being on Britain’s influential chart countdown Top Of The Pops. Every Sunday she sang in church choir, while at home she listened to her parents’ Aretha Franklin, Rolling Stones, Elvis Presley, and Queen records. However, the early pursuit of a music career left her alone and thoroughly off-course. The teachers' daughter skipped college and moved to Los Angeles to sign to a major label, while earning pseudonymous co-writer and background vocal credits on songs by Pussycat Dolls and Sugababes. But after three years in the mill, she felt profoundly bereft of purpose, not to mention devastated by a bad break-up. “I lost myself completely,” she remembers. “I lost my identity. My voice. Everything."
V V eventually woke up and found her voice, in every respect: “The artists I love connect with people because they do not compromise," she says. "They make music that reflects who they are, and when you’re honest on all levels, people will connect with that. People can tell. The way you walk, talk, wear your hair, and breathe. Everything that’s happened in the last few years has taught me to value the idea of knowing yourself, and being yourself.”
That self-awareness has remained intact on Lollipops & Politics. “I saw so much on the road, travelling the world with the last record,” she says. “I fulfilled so many dreams. I forgot about the concept of success or failure and just learned to stop looking at what other people were doing and relax. I want to get to the place, at the end of my life, where I’m proud of what I’ve done. Just me. It doesn’t really matter what other people think. It’s about the music. I hope people feel the emotion in these songs the way I did when I wrote them. That’s the only dream left now.”