Is She Gonna Be There?
The track, Is She Gonna Be There?, is available via:
South Wales, U.K.
18th January, 2019
THIS review finds me picking up on a great artist...
PHOTO CREDIT: @IAmVioletSkies
but I also have to raise a few issues to start with. This might sound more and more like a broken record – and everything else I write will be glowing – but I am coming back to information and images. The latter is not a huge issue if I have autonomy but, many times, a P.R. agency/management will impose limits on photos used for reviews and what is available. That is okay if there are quite a few but, in the case of Violet Skies, there are two publicity images relating to her latest single, Is She Gonna be There? The song’s images are phone-themed and there is a distinct style but, if there are a couple of images, it means the reviews will be quite short. I appreciate there are many out there who pen short reviews and two images is enough but for me, I require a few more because I like to go deep. Having a limit does stifle somewhat and, whilst every single/album is entitled to a theme, maybe having more options in terms of the number of photos is wise. This is not something dictated by Violet Skies herself. In fact, it is an issue I am finding with a lot of P.R. companies: going to an artist direct usually yields more images and a bit more flexibility. Maybe it is all part of the marketing and music machine – the teaser clips, the images; the lyric video before the actual video; the way the song is promoted and the words used – but I like to just tear apart a song and actually get right in there. This means my pieces are longer and I do require a bit more imagery. I know how photogenic Violet Skies is and she is someone who shines on camera. I know she has a few images on her social media feeds but a few more images would be good and it would allow journalists like me more of an option and give pieces more illustration.
PHOTO CREDIT: @IAmVioletSkies
The same can be applied to biography and personal information. I mentioned this yesterday – and most reviews – but so many artists have a couple of lines on their social media and it does not say where they came from; what music infuses them and inspires their mind; how they plan on evolving and where they are headed. I do not require much but a little paragraph that gives me something to work from. I did approach Violet Skies’ management for photos and information but there were only two images available (that were never sent) and I am still waiting for the biography/info. I have had to work from what is available on social media and go from there. Again, this is not artist-specific but Violet Skies is an illuminating and great new artists who is starting to turn heads. The music can capture minds and reaction but you need the information and detail to go alongside. I do hope there will be new shoots and some detail regarding her past, present and influences because I would not bother to get too worried if I thought she could not make it – the fact she is so promising means many want to know more about her and who she is. I shall leave aside the constructive bits and look to the positive when it comes to her music. I have mentioned images and looks – not in any seedy way – and how some artists can just stand out from the crowd. Violet Skies has clear star quality and I feel she is one of those artists who will inspire in years to come. It is hard to put my finger on but the songwriter has a distinct style and image that captivates and hooks you in. She connects well with her fans on social media and, before I move to look at her latest song, I will address a few things.
PHOTO CREDIT: @IAmVioletSkies
It is hard to explore newer artists because they have less in the tank and it is easier to discuss established musicians. When thinking of Violet Skies, the first thing that comes to mind is her nationality. The Welsh songwriter is proud of being from the country – and why wouldn’t you?! – but I do not often get to look at a Welsh musician. It is strange to think but the media does not really focus on much music outside of England and the U.S. That may sound all-sweeping but it has been a very long time since I read a paper or looked online and there was much coverage of Welsh acts. I suppose Boy Azooga and Gruff Rhys have been talked about; Gwenno is an exciting artists but, apart from them, I cannot name too many that make the music pages. It is sad to see countries ignored because, as anyone will tell you, Wales has always provided great music. You do not need me to tell you the fantastic artists who hail from there but there is this assumption the new breed migrate and do not stick around. That is so far from the truth! There is plenty of native wonder and so much interesting music. I think South Wales, where Violet Skies is from, is the most productive and eclectic but that would be too restrictive. Investigate the whole nation and you will find richness and interesting sounds wherever you go. There are so many promising newcomers (like Adwaith) but there is not that link between the press in London and Wales. By that, I mean the biggest music publications and sites are not looking to Wales and picking out what is being recommended. Does this mean artists have to leave Wales and come to England?
That may sound drastic but I am finding those great Welsh acts are actually remaining put. Violet Skies is someone who loves where she is – I hope – and is getting attention because she puts stuff out online. I do wonder whether the fact people like me are finding her is because of a certain intuition and luck. Her music is fantastic and, although she is quite new, her stable is more developed and refined than a lot of artists who are getting a bigger shout. I can only think that is because of the location of Violet Skies. Events like the Welsh Music Prize celebrate the best Welsh albums every year and last year saw the prize go to Boy Azooga for 1,2, Kung Fu! I love that album but there were other artists on the shortlist – including Bryde and Seazoo – who deserved a nod. I know these artists will be successful but I do worry it takes award ceremonies and big events to get people talking about them. I am a big lover of Welsh music and dread this divide that has always been in place. I think most of the national award shows here do tend to be bias towards London and it is annoying when entire nations are missed out of things. One reason why Welsh acts remain where they are is because there is a warmth and connection among artists. Labels and bands are supporting each other; there are great stations that are keen to back and spotlight great new music and there is no shortage of unity. We need to redress the imbalance at the moment and make sure countries like Wales are not overlooked. Violet Skies, like many Welsh acts, is hard to pin down and she goes beyond the expected. Maybe that is the defining characteristic of a Welsh artist: they have an original aspect and tone but their music can easily slot into the brain. I think that is a good moment to break from this subject and discuss Violet Skies’ sound.
In the modern time, it is hard to be THAT different and unique. The market is set up and there is a demand for a particular sound. By this, a lot of artists are presenting the same sort of thing and presenting their own stamp on it. A lot of times it is Electronic and Pop blends and a particular lyrical style – I do wonder whether we will get anything radical and rebellious in modern music. Violet Skies could easily have copied a peer or looked on Spotify playlists and written a song based around what is trending there. So many new artists seem to write their songs to specific designs and many are writing for playlists and popularity rather than what is meaningful to them. Violet Skies knows that, today, artists do need to be aware of what is popular but she allows plenty of her own inspiration and tastes to come into the music. Looking at the list of influences on Violet Skies’ Facebook page and I can see everyone from Joni Mitchell to Fatboy Slim. Is She Gonna Be There?, at this stage, is a song to get her to the next level and nestle among her contemporaries. If she were too bold and diverse with her music then it might alienate her and mean she is confined to the boundaries. I love her latest single and will talk more about it but I can see her breaking from the expected road and blending some of her idols into her upcoming sounds. It is important artists have an identity and their own mould but that does not mean they need to be narrow and rigid with style. I have been following Violet Skies for a bit and she is someone who changes and evolves between releases. I can see her, if there is more music coming this year, looking at different genres and areas of music. What might we get from her if she does splice other sounds?
I love the fact Violet Skies is compelled by a broad range of sounds and she does not keep her record collection limited. I would love to see this blossom and explode in future songs because I genuinely think she is someone who has that desire and wants to experiment. Her existing songs are fantastic and interesting but, for upcoming releases, might she be thinking in other directions and seeing where her music can go? The industry is busy and it is hard to stand out considering what a flood of newness comes out way every week. Many have accused modern music of lacking flair and anything fun and I do feel like there is a bit of a fatigue and over-familiarity when you encounter new acts. Maybe it is the lyrics being plodding and inconsequential or the vocal not having much emotion or colour. Sometimes, it is the song itself that does not strike and impress or maybe it is the production. In any case, it is very easy to forget a lot of new acts. I listen to Violet Skies and there is that combination of assured and different current sounds together with that future potential. Right now, her music walks that line between Spotify/playlist-ready and personal. By that, I mean she knows what the industry wants but that does not mean she is compromising and playing it safe. There is so much to love about Is There Gonna Be There? I listen to the song and my mind is taking in different directions. The subject matter is quite broad – lies and dislocation in love; a lack of faith and seeing questions – but it would be easy to just repeat what is already out there. The song’s title itself is intriguing and is not the usual cliché-ridden/boring ones we usually get. I will talk about the song in detail when I get there but I like the compositional shifts and the lyrical direction of the track.
PHOTO CREDIT: @IAmVioletSkies
The heroine looks at the hero in his sleep and there is almost a film-like projection. Rather than write rather uninspired lines and lack imagination, Violet Skies has this way with words that amazes me. She has seen her share of heartache and could easily have put anger and a lot of lazy words together. It is clear she’s a songwriter that takes her time and comes at things from a different angle. We get a track that could only really come from her. The genre/market she is in – Pop and Electro – is the most competitive and full out there and it is so hard to stand out. Whilst I yearn for some Beastie Boys-like acts to come along or something that is foreign to everything out, I know there is a lot to be said of what is already around. I have been tracking Violet Skies’ career and she always seems to approach songwriting with consideration and intelligence. If the lack of biography means I have to work a bit harder it does at least mean I focus on the music and find guidance there. I can get a sense of who Violet Skies is from her songs and what drives her. When talking about love, there is a maturity and fortitude that bellies her years. If her story of doubt and romantic confusion does sound common to many, the way she sings and how the song comes together might speak more to her roots. I am interested to see whether there is any connection between a song’s/artist’s musical angle and where they come from. Many living in the city, when they talk about love, seem to be more harried, strained and urgent than those that come from smaller areas. This might be a generalisation but I am seeing a pattern emerge. I review a lot of artists from London and, although the music is great, you can detect a lyrical pattern. So many songs that talk of love put their heart out there and there is less subtlety than I would like.
Again, maybe this is me coming up with my own theory but I find artists from small towns or less populous parts of the world are free to breathe, think and come at the subject in a new way. Violet Skies asks questions and she ponders. She watches the boy sleep and, rather than attack and play the victim, she is showing a dignity and sort of telling him what he is missing. The song is complex and you can come up with your own viewpoint. To me, the heroine is fighting against claims of jealousy and trying to get through to the sweetheart. He is someone who is with another but cannot see what is good for him. I do think many people will be able to understand Is She Gonna Be There? but there is that mystery lingering. By the end of the song, you do sort of wonder whether she found satisfaction and why the song came to be. Is it based on a true romance or has she watched this happen to someone else? If you ask these sorts of questions by the end of a song then it shows you have been listening and paying attention. So many tracks fly by and you do not connect because they lack that sense of story and personality. I should move on to the song itself and get down to it but I wanted to cover a few points that are relevant to Violet Skies. I hope more details do come to her social media pages because she is a fascinating woman and someone who is stronger and more determined than most artists out there. I know she will be success and I hope the mainstream media look her way and shine a light on the great music emerging from Wales. Let’s get to the business of Is She Gonna Be There? It is a confident and nuanced track that, one hopes, will find a mate later in the year – might we see a Violet Skies E.P. very soon?
PHOTO CREDIT: @IAmVioletSkies
There is both definitive declaration and ambiguity in the opening lines of Is She Gonna Be There? The hero says things are over and it is through but our heroine is not sure. So many Pop songs throw big compositions into your face and start songs with a real burst. This means you are smothered by volume and it can be hard to connect right away. Here, we get the vocal with very little intrusion and it allows this rather interesting contradiction to emerge. You think, at once, here are two lovers who share history and are just going through a bad time. It is not obvious whether the man has strayed but I get the feeling they are both tired and need some time to recharge their batteries. Violet Skies tells us about this other girl that her man is hiding. She, apparently, is quite cool and someone that seems very similar to the heroine. It appears, therefore, the man has dated someone similar to Violet Skies and it does not seem to make sense. The duo is together but it seems like they are strangers when together. There are insecurities and questions circling in her mind and it is interesting asking why the relationship has taken this turn. It is when the chorus comes through, and that question is asked, and this sensual and tender vocal emerges. It is soft and teeming with emotion. This new girl seems like a temporary high and it is doubtful whether she has the same sense of loyalty and commitment as Violet Skies. When asking whether the new love will be there, you almost feel like the heroine is stifling anger and this confusion. It is not jealousy we hear here: this is a genuine surprise and loss that is being presented with maturity, rationality and patience.
The heroine does not want to keep the man at home – she is not a bitch and controlling, as she says – but all of this is making her feel a bit sick. It is stressful watching this possible/new relationship come together. Rather than go on the offensive and attack the other women, our heroine needs some time away and is definitely not willing to beg. In many ways, Is She Gonna Be There? can be compared to a lot of modern Pop artists; it has a definite comforting familiarity but it is the lyrics that set things apart. I love the way the story unfolds and how Violet Skies narrates. You get this balance of heartache and stress combined with a need to move on and get some space. That is not to say Violet Skies is forgetting her man and moving on quickly. She cannot get too involved and stressed because it is a rather tricky threesome and there are these unanswered questions regarding the breakdown and why things are going this way. She narrated us through these dates and happenings and, why things seem safe and secure on the surface, there are these tensions. The heroine is wondering about the other girl and what she is offering him. In many ways, we get a rather classic story. It is that age-old mystery as to why some relationships break down and why they go after people who seem, in the flesh, to be inferior and less reliable. That is the feeling I got here and, with every line, that urgent questions is underlined and emphasised. The composition remains fairly light and does not get too high up the mix. There are beats and electronic elements but they are fairly uncluttered. What this does is provide some physicality and direction but the vocal remains the most important aspect. You get this strong and impassioned performance that is trying to make sense of things and cannot find any logic behind it all. As things continue, I wonder how involved the man and this other woman are.
PHOTO CREDIT: @IAmVioletSkies
Her name is being mentioned a lot – and this makes the heroine edgy and concerned – but it is never said whether there is an affair happening or the other woman is too much in the picture. Perhaps there is this friendship happening that has the potential to translate into a relationship. I guess it is up to your own imagination how involved they are and whether it is a case of them getting too close or there being something to it. I get the feeling the man is playing around and not being that honest. Violet Skies certainly feels there is reason to be wary and she is not being paranoid. I started to sympathise with her because it seems like she is getting the short end of the stick! The biggest takeaway I got from the song was that mystery and how things resolved. Violet Skies has the answer to that but, in many ways, the listener is free to speculate and wonder how things worked out. It is sad to see the cracks formed already but maybe there was a resolution. It seems, alas, things did take a turn for the worse and this other woman has become too much of a permanent fixture. The man seems naïve and rather insensitive throughout and I was wondering whether he was being deliberately brash – flaunting her whilst dating Violet Skies – or felt he was he was not crossing any lines. He may feel it is only friendship and it is okay to get that close with another woman. I do feel like there is this moral and ethical line crossed and there is no just cause for the break-up. Perhaps they have had their troubles before but has something come between them that could justify what is happening?! That is the beauty regarding Is She Gonna Be There? and its message: one wonders what started all of this and, actually, if Violet Skies found some peace and answers. It is obvious we have a strong song that has the potential to translate across multiple radio stations. It is cool and ‘young’ enough to spike the interests of BBC Radio 1 but has that BBC Radio 6 Music quality; a universal quality that could see it played on BBC Radio 2 and, in fact, there are no real limits! It is exciting to see just how far Is She Gonna Be There? can go and how many people it reaches.
PHOTO CREDIT: @IAmVioletSkies
I have chatted about Violet Skies and tried to drill down to who she is but I think the music itself is the only real way we can find out things. Violet Skies has a great bond with her fans on social media and she keeps her pages updated and informed. She is one of these artists who likes to have that relationship and knows what is needed. I guess, with more material, we will see the images multiply and get new sides to the Welsh songwriter. I love what she is doing and know, with or without that, she will get where she needs to go. It might be early days but let’s not rule out a possibly huge year right now. It is evident she has a real determination and passion for what she does and this needs to be teamed with great music. Luckily, we have someone who can provide an accessible and modern sound but she has her own brand. As I mooted earlier, I think some of those influences could come in to future recordings. Think about Violet Skies going acoustic and Folk; some bigger beats and some Jazz tones. She has a love for great singers and songwriters and I feel, when she becomes more established, it will free her up to broaden and bring new genres together. I think she is someone who can be multifarious and brave without losing fans and, instead, winning new hearts. It is always a gamble when modern music has such a way of working. So many artists are tied by marketing campaigns and release schedules. Many labels and playlists only like a particular type of music and I wonder how many new artists feel reserved about kicking out and trying something new. Violet Skies is an exceptional songwriter and I do not feel like I paid enough attention to her voice. A lot of times, I can compare someone to someone else and you hear that similarity. When it comes to Violet Skies, it is hard to link her with another artist. Switching from soulful and tender to more angered and intense – here is a singer who has the arsenal and range in her pocket to take her music all over the shop! I shall leave things here but recommend people listen to Is She Gonna Be There? as there will be plenty more from Violet Skies. Her current offering is, perhaps, her finest and most assured work and that points at a very bright future. If she keeps on this path and puts out music as strong as this then it will not be long until...
PHOTO CREDIT: @IAmVioletSkies
HER gig schedule is very busy indeed.
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