Earlier this month, we were lucky enough to receive an invitation to attend the Sydney launch of Vera Blue‘s new record “Perennial” which was released nationwide today.
The fourteen-track record has an alternative/electronic pop sound and it was clear from the launch, that the record addresses the themes of heartbreak and healing through incredibly raw and vulnerable lyrics.
Vera Blue is set to go on a massive tour to celebrate the record around the country with friends Thandi Phoenix and Lakyn and we were lucky enough to grab her for some time out after her launch to discuss the new record, her songwriting process, the evolution of her music thus far and so much more.
Who are you and how would you describe yourself and your music?
My artist project name is Vera Blue. I would describe myself as an experimental folk and electronic artist, with the music being lyrically driven with emotional and production shaped around the voice, melody and feeling.
Do you remember the first time you were interested in music? Tell us about it.
I grew up with music in my family, so I always had an interest in music. I loved the way it made me feel so many different emotions and it inspired me to listen to many artists and learn instruments. I started to teach myself basic guitar when I was 15 years old.
Through listening to Taylor Swift, Angus and Julia Stone and other inspiring folk artists I discovered Joni Mitchell and fell in love with her music, lyrics and story telling. I wrote my first song when I was 16 when I was in a high school relationship. I think I was experiencing young love for the first time, so it was a pretty little song called ‘Stay With Me’.
How have you and your music evolved from the first day you decided to make it your career to this present day?
It has been a constant learning experience for me, meeting so many incredible people, including Eric J who produced my very first folk record called “Bodies” coming off The Voice and then meeting my current producer Andy Mak and his younger brother Thom, my close friend and co-writer.
Throughout the time we’ve known each other it has been a very experimental musical journey where we have created a sound that we love and that represents Vera Blue. We write folk songs and blend them with electronic production moulded around the voice and organic instrumentation. My discovery and love of electronic music blended with my folky background just feels so right to me.
We had a great time at the Sydney launch of your album! What’s the concept behind the new record?
Yes! It was such a special night for me and everyone involved in the project. “Perennial” was written from the ashes of fresh heartbreak. This record is about the healing process and personal development phases I went through to overcome heart break and acknowledge vulnerability. I learnt so much about myself over the duration of writing it and I’ve come out of it recognising my weaknesses and strengths, realising that emotions, feelings and memories will always come and go, last and pass and that it’s okay to be vulnerable.
What do you want listeners to take away from it?
I guess once the record is out into the world, I want the listeners to take it into their own hearts and hands and make the story their own as much as it is mine – connect to Perennial in their own way. It’s nerve-wracking releasing a whole body of work we’ve spent so long working on, but it’s also extremely exciting!
Which song/s from the record do you connect with the most?
I connect with all of the songs on my record. I don’t write songs that don’t mean anything to me and I wouldn’t put it on a record if I didn’t connect with it.
Talk us through your songwriting process. What comes first – the melody or the lyrics?
It depends. Most of the time Thom and I and occasionally Andy will sit at a piano and play guitar. We will have conversations about what I’m going through or something we both relate to. We’ll play some chord shapes until we find something that makes us feel something and then lyrics come pretty naturally over chatting. We write our songs as though it were a folk song and then the exciting part is working with Andy in the recording of the song and then experimenting and creating sounds that sit perfectly with the song, its meaning and emotion. It’s so fun! We know when we have something special when we are high fiving and jumping with joy!
What element of yourself do you always put into your music and hope that people will see?
My folky background and honesty. I’ll always stay true to who I am when creating such experimental and exciting music. The team that I work so closely on this record make it easy to keep it real. They are such humble, beautiful people and I feel so blessed that I get to work so closely with them and that they’re my friends.
Who are you listening to these days? If we were to look at your “Recently Added” or “Recently Played” playlists, who would we find?
All sorts of artists. I’ll always listen to Joni Mitchell, Simon and Garfunkel! More current artists would be Flume, RL Grime, Cold Play, Alt- J and a recent artist I have discovered is Asgier, an Icelandic artist. I love his melodies and the way the production moves with the melodies and lyrics. I look forward to seeing him at Splendour in the Grass.
You’re set to hit the road with Thandi Phoenix and Lakyn on a massive tour around the country – how are you feeling and what can fans expect from your live shows?
Yes!!!! I am so thrilled. Fans can expect a brand new show with new songs from Perennial, new exciting lighting show. I can’t wait to have Thandi and Lakyn on the road with us. It’s going to be a lot of fun and I’m excited to be travelling with my favourite humans. It’ll be special.
All photos and video captured by The 5 to 9 Life at the Sydney album launch of Vera Blue’s new record, “Perennial” on July 13th, 2017 at Paddington Town Hall