IT is hardly an exaggeration to say the solo singer-songwriter…
PHOTO CREDIT: @balconytvlondon
market is the most crowded and competitive in all of music. Every week, we see new artists come through with the same ideas: laying down their mark and putting their stamp on music. All too often, we see musicians fall and last only a short time. Those that remain and succeed are to be commended. VEI is a promising young songwriter with an army of fans behind her. That is hardly a stretch considering the sort of raw and emotional Pop music she writes. Rolling on You Romeo is her latest single and stunning declaration from an artist who is primed to go a long way. I talk to her about the song and what she has planned for this year; how she got started in music and the artists that have influenced her.
Hi VEI. How are you? How has your week been?
It’s been great, thanks. Have been trying to keep warm!
For those new to your music can you introduce yourself, please?
Of course. I’m an artist, singer and cellist, very much looking forward to this journey into releasing my album. My songs have a rawness and emotional edge: structured in an accessible way…
How did you get started in music? Was it a childhood love or was there a particular moment that sparked the fuse?
It started in childhood but has been an off-and-on thing at times until I was a bit older and found what I wanted to do with it.
Rolling on You Romeo is your latest single. Can you tell us about the inspiration behind it?
It’s just life - without going into too much detail.
Writing songs is such a cathartic way to turn any negative emotion you may be feeing into something positive.
You performed the song for Janice Long on The 2ube. What was that experience like?
That was great. It was a really nice couple of days being up in Liverpool and meeting everyone too.
For a lot of songwriters, they need to set aside time to write; some write when the mood strikes. How do your songs come together? Do you try and write a certain amount of music a day or just when inspiration hits?
These songs have been given space and weren’t rushed. We would write using technology which allows you to get an element or part of the song down before moving onto the next part. It’s definitely about doing both for me. I always have a notepad and pen - or the phone handy - to put down lyrics throughout the day or to record vocal hooks.
Rolling on You Romeo suggests more music to come. Can we expect a VEI E.P. this year?
We’ve got the next single on the way as we speak - leading on from that we’ll be releasing the album.
I hope it will be a fun journey!
You have been compared with everyone from Lenka and Björk to Kate Nash in terms of your delivery and accent. Are they influences of yours?
Yes, but I’m not trying to be them. When we wrote the album I rarely listened to other people - it was enough to just be with the songs we were writing. So, that way, I guess any number of others influenced this music but their influence was already digested and a part of who I was, and my co-writers, Mike Chapman and Simon Pilton were musical already.
In term of that triumvirate, and doing a musical Snog, Marry or Avoid?, which would you go out for drinks with? Which would you record a song with? Which would you share a flat with?
Drinks: Ella Eyre
Record a song: Major Lazer
Share a flat with Paloma Faith.
In terms of the musicians and albums that inspired you most growing up which would they be?
From dancing around at five years old to The Beach Boys - and my dad’s record collection - to Submotion Orchestra and the U.K. festival scene when I grew up a bit…
A lot of new music is rather tame and formulaic. You seem like a breath of fresh air. Do you think there is a lack of character and originality in modern Pop music?
I feel that it’s just harder to break through if you’re not following exactly what is out there at the moment.
Any music that has broken through and created its own sound world or audience has been on its own journey (and own industry doors to break down).
If you had to pick your favourite memory from your career so far which would it be and why?
Probably the early days of writing these songs - because they felt very carefree!
Summer is, we hope, just around the corner. Are tour plans for the coming months where we can see you play?
I’m singing as part of the third preliminary rounds of the London Coffee Music Project’s songwriting competition on Feb 21st (at The O Bar in Soho). It’s all in aid of Project Waterfall so very exciting.
Later than that, you can find any upcoming shows on www.veimusic.com as we book them in - such as the release party with our next single, Soak It Up.
Are there any new artists out there you’d recommend we check out?
Yes. Vince Kidd. I saw him perform before Christmas and he and his two lovely friends singing with him made me so happy!
Have you advice for new songwriters coming through right now?
Just stick with it and follow what you love doing: it’s possibly the only grounding way to not get pulled back and forth trying to fit in with others’ expectations.
PHOTO CREDIT: Jim Fry