WITH its intoxicating sound and alluring video…
there is an arresting and memorable quality to Kiss Me’s video – the latest track from Lithuanian-born artist, Violeta Skya. That video was constructed by a talented team - Music Production - Jose Cubides; Videography - Jay Kristoffer; Model - Janis Zeilins; Video Assistance - Polina Lobasova; Video Editing - Valeria Meng; Colour Grading - Philipp Morozov – and shows what a talent Violeta Skya is. I speak to her about the song and its origins; what it was like shooting the video – how she finds London (now she is based here) and whether it differs vastly from Lithuania.
She talks to me about influences and the artists who made an impression on her young; whether there is an E.P. on the horizon – and how her time studying at BIMM (British and Irish Modern Music Institute) has strengthened her music.
PHOTO CREDITS (unless stated otherwise): Jay Kristoffer
Hi, Violeta. How are you? How has your week been?
It has been an extremely busy, but exciting, week. I am so happy there is a lot of positive extensive feedback about Kiss Me from music industry people – and I make new contacts. Also, I am finishing material for my next release - as well as planning a lot of exciting things related to my current release. There are few exciting surprises on the way.
Additionally, I’ve been contacted by several musicians from Chicago (I am going to visit the U.S. in a few days) and might be having some acoustic performances there - which take a lot of planning too.
For those new to your work, can you introduce yourself, please?
I am a singer/songwriter based in London - but originally from a Lithuanian-Slavic family. Music is my biggest passion, my love and my main goal.
Kiss Me is your debut single. Can you tell us about its creation and what inspired the song?
The idea was to make a dark Dance track. I wanted to express one of the wild sides of my personality - which I am sure everyone can identify with.
Its video is quite racy and intense. What was it like filming it and was it quite nerve-wracking shooting some of the ‘sexier’ scenes?
Actually, shooting was so much fun and everything came very naturally. I felt really relaxed and comfortable with the model Janis Zeilins. We were dancing to the song, freestyling; letting ourselves go with the flow - so we ended up contributing loads of new ideas as well.
He definitely was the perfect match for this project. Also, we became friends and support each other now.
Kiss Me is a very current and accessible track. Do you take a lot of influence from mainstream artists or are you more drawn to the underground?
The idea was to make a (Dark dance) track with some Vogue vibes. I am inspired by Madonna, Kylie Minogue and Michael Jackson. I wanted to express some misty, sensual, yet empowering, feelings.
I have to say; this track is quite unique and different from my other music - so I decided to release it as the debut single...
...but it’s why I love it.
What is your opinion on modern music and chart acts? Do you feel there are a lot of positive role models and strong artists out there? Do you have a goal/dream you hope to achieve in music?
Yes. There are definitely some very talented artists as well as some great new acts - such as Dua Lipa and Camila Cabello.
My goal is to ‘make it’ on the music scene - to be a successful and well-recognised artist and be able to do what I love the most for a living.
Was it quite hard putting the song together? How does the music coalesce? Do you start with lyrics and add music or get caught by a beat – and the words flow around that?
It was a really enjoyable process as everything came very naturally - as the atmosphere in the studio is always very friendly and relaxed. This song was written with my producer, and dear friend, José Cubides. When I arrived at the studio, I had a beat and the idea in my head; he added a catchy bass-line and we took it from there.
The melody and lyrics were written really fast and organically and, when I showed the idea to José, he loved it.
PHOTO CREDIT: Sandy Kohlmayer
Vilnius, Lithuania is where you started life. How does life in London compare to Lithuania? Is there much of a music scene in Vilnius?
London is a completely different world with all the possible opportunities and numerous events here. For me, London is the capital of music in Europe - and the place where I want to be. However, I love Lithuania - which is and always will be my home - and there definitely is a music scene with some prominent, very talented and unique artists.
What kind of music did you grow up surrounded by? Is it true you are a classically trained pianist? It seems music arrived in your life early?
I grew up in a multilingual environment; surrounded by many different types of music, such as Lithuanian, Polish; Russian Pop music - as well as listening to world hits and the most-prominent artists of that time. Also, I was studying Jazz at Vilnius Conservatory and had a chance to listen to a lot of Classic-Rock as it’s my dad’s favourite genre.
So, when I was growing up, I had many opportunities to listen, as well as perform, a lot of different music.
Once you arrived in London, in 2014, you studied at BIMM (British and Irish Modern Music Institute). How important was that time and how important was your time there shaping who you are as a musician, now?
It was an incredibly important time at BIMM, as I was in great music environment where you can learn so fast; network with other musicians; get motivated and receive many opportunities outside the university as well. I used those years to experiment: go through many styles more in-depth; sing in several bands; collaborate with producers; write top-lines; write my own music and look for my unique style - which I think I finally found.
Are you looking ahead at a new single or E.P.? Can we expect another Violeta Skya song before the end of this year?
I would like to go step-by-step for the moment: I want to see how fast is everything going with this single and then make the next decision from there. However, I have been recording plenty of new material. I want to release soon and definitely think there would be some exciting releases this year.
Do you have any hobbies outside of music? Do you get much chance to explore Britain and see new parts?
I really like fashion, modelling and photoshoots. Also, I have other interests, like living a healthy lifestyle and psychology.
I love travelling and definitely would love to explore Britain more.
PHOTO CREDIT: Sandy Kohlmayer
Who are new acts you recommend we check out?
If you had to select two albums that mean the most to you; which would they be and why?
I’m Breathless: Music from and Inspired by the Film Dick Tracy – Madonna
It’s her second soundtrack album - which made me mesmerised. It was one of the first albums to inspire me to become a singer.
Crazy in Love – Beyoncé
Beyoncé is one of my all-time-favourite artists. When this album came out, it was really a ‘banger’ - with five hit singles. I was watching all her live performance at that time, too. Beyoncé is such an outstanding vocalist, incredible performer and an icon. Also, I love her attitude and work ethic.
What advice would you give to artists coming through right now?
I think one of the most important things is to be honest and real with your music and songwriting. Being sincere is essential: people can sense that and gravitate towards the 'read deal'. Also, always persist and be brave enough to go for things - which may scare you the most.
As Jared Leto said: “Work is the bridge between dreams and reality”.
Finally, and for being a good sport; you can name a song and I’ll play it here (not one of yours as I’ll do that).
Erykah Badu – Next Lifetime
I don’t know why this song came to my mind first. I just love everything about it. It’s very sensual.
Follow Violeta Skya
PHOTO CREDIT: Jaro Michalko