Photo Courtesy of Laure Stefanini, Makeup Courtesy of Aurelie Ormeno, Hairstyle Courtesy of Partners in Crime
What is the inspiration behind the track “Burn Slow”?
I wrote ‘Burn Slow’ in 2020, when I was slowly opening up to more love, connection and intimacy. After years of deep inner work, there came a point when I needed to let people in again so that I could grow. For me, it’s been a process in bloom… It’s been about taking things slow – there’s no rush. It’s been about being honest with my feelings and letting my divine feminine come through. It’s okay to turn up the passion. It’s okay to ease into my range, and a life of effortless effort. ‘Burn Slow’ is a slow build and release – it captures letting go and trusting in the journey.
How influenced the track “Switch It Up”?
I wanted to collaborate with badass female musicians and was inspired by the 90s and the surge of girl groups. We had fun taking up space in the studio, feeling empowered and free to rediscover who we are on the other side of the pandemic: ‘New story, new chapter, new happily ever after…’
We enjoyed hearing both versions of the track “Let Go.” Do you feel acoustic versions of songs have the ability to change the entire meaning of a song?
Definitely. The live version of Let Go could be received as a lullaby, a meditation, a reflective, even spiritual moment. The lyrics feel more intimate and my voice more emotionally vulnerable against a stripped back version. The listener feels closer. Let Go as an R&B record is reimagined into a world of fantasy and sensuality. I tap into my divine feminine more. Music has a powerful way of connecting us – it’s a language of its own, so even if something minor changes, the essence of each version has the potential to change too. That’s the power of music.
On the track “Heavy” you sing “The weight of the world is so heavy.” What was going through your mind as you were writing this song?
I wrote HEAVY in 2020, during the height of the pandemic. I went through several lockdowns in LA, and when the global protests around the murder of George Floyd sparked, I felt heavy and moved to action.
I thought about all the young black boys that I used to teach in and around London, and when I was in the studio, I thought about their experiences and felt called to write.
Nina Simone once said that it’s ‘an artist’s duty to reflect the times’, and HEAVY became a way to affirm that their feelings of being misunderstood, judged and targeted are valid, and that it was right that the world was awakening to this reality.
It felt so powerful to shoot the visuals around my hometown in Camden, North West London. “HEAVY” ends with hope: ‘Young black boy we’ve let you down, and I’m sorry for the pain… lift your head up off the ground’.
“Tangle Game of Love” was a fun pop track to listen to. In your own words and through your personal experiences why is love so complicated?
Thanks! Ah… love… love is the highest of frequencies. It provokes our deepest emotions and triggers both the highest of highs and lowest of lows. It’s what makes us human.
What tracks by Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey and Toni Braxton do you love to listen to?
If you haven’t guessed already, I’m a ballad girl! I’m inspired by singers who sing with limitless passion like Ms Whitney Houston – I can listen to anything from her catalogue: from Saving All My Love, Greatest Love of All, I Will Always Love You, It’s Not Right But It’s Okay… There’s so much control and grace in her delivery.
Mariah Carey, anything from her Daydream album and her duet with Whitney is stunning – When You Believe.
Toni Braxton, Unbreak My Heart – her vocals are so deep and soulful.
What is the biggest difference between your first project and your newest project?
Valley of The Ashes, my first project, was literally written in the winter. Sonically, emotionally, lyrically – I was going through heartbreak and choosing to step away from the pressures of what was expected of me. It captures growing pains, and choosing my own path forwards – it was Pop, Soft Rock and Soul.
Soul Star, my latest project, captures spring – the other side of winter. It’s renewed with sounds of innocence to experience – it’s me finding my voice again. It’s me choosing to love again. It’s me daring to be bold, and gaining the support that I deserve – from the MOBOs, Wonderland Magazine, and Estee Lauder. It’s a purposeful step towards claiming the spotlight – with more ballads, R&B and – of course – soul.
Coming from the U.K. do you plan to dabble in other genres such as britpop, garage, and grime?
I’d never say never!
What do you see as the biggest difference between the U.K. music scene and U.S.A. music scene?
I guess the U.S has undercurrents of the American Dream – possibility and belief is the fabric of the scene. Almost anything seems possible – the land is literally bigger and there are cultural pockets that are thriving like LA, New York, Atlanta… To me, the UK feels a bit more gritty. The cultural scene seems smaller, one could say cliquey, and with so much emphasis placed on being in London the ‘dream’ feels few and far between. I’m a dreamer at heart, so I love bringing this energy to London.
What are your personal struggles in being a musician?
At the beginning, I definitely struggled with finding my place. I had several meetings with music execs and, unfortunately, my image came up for discussion over my sound time and time again. I’m so grateful for my team at GIFTED: my independence and freedom to choose who I collaborate with, my sound and image has been key to my growth as an artist, and I hope to be a source of representation and aspiration for those who are also coming up. Be free! Stay true to you.
Is there a song which was harder to create due to the emotions behind it?
I’d say my first project was the hardest. I opened up about things in my life that I’ve not expressed publicly before… Heartbreak, finding your own place in the world, mental health, my time in foster care, figuring out my mixed identity and leaning towards my chosen family. It was hard – but so transformative.
What does the word vulnerability mean to you?
The strength to be seen and heard – to hold space for truth, even if it feels uncomfortable, unfamiliar and exposing.
Do you often dive back into experiences of your past to create your music?
For my first project, definitely, I dived into my past to move forward.
How do you push painful thoughts and experiences and turn them into music without going down a negative rabbit hole?
I’m really selective of who I have around me. My team creates safe spaces, whether that’s in the studio or collaborative visual spaces, and our energy is consciously centered on personal growth. It’s a choice to stay hopeful, whilst also holding space for the more challenging parts of life. Music is an experience… you express what you’re feeling and that feeling is what people connect to as it’s translated to sound and vibration. A part of healing is to accept pain, knowing that the clouds will pass.
What do you hope for the future of music?
I hope that more and more people can experience music in safe live spaces. It’s incredible when you connect with people in real time, in real life… Covid has made me appreciate live experiences even more, and I hope that more women and marginalized groups feel safer in live spaces, with more festivals and venues committing to safe spaces now.
I also hope that more platforms recognize talent that often goes underrepresented – like women, and people of colour… The recent Brit award nominations have been announced, and it’s disheartening to know that there are no women nominated for Artist of the Year, and that R&B acts haven’t got their own category to shine – so, some artists have fallen through the gaps. I see a future that champions music by women and people of colour, and I’m excited to be a part of that change.
Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/gb/artist/vicky-pasion/1488153670
Tik Tok: https://www.tiktok.com/@vickypasion