VV Brown is British singer/songwriter, model, producer and entrepreneur – does she ever sit down? Here, she tells Flavourmag about her new album, her upcoming thirtieth birthday and being a black model in white industry.
She seems to have gotten rid of ‘that fringe’ so how does her look differ now from six years ago.
I think with ‘Traveling Like the Light’ I was channeling a lot of 50’s influences and really embracing vintage clothing but I think since making this next record I’ve transitioned into more of a minimal place where less is more…it’s not really centered around a particular era…
But why did she feel the need to change her look?
I think I’ve just (been) growing up a little and learning about fashion from a different point of view. I’ve been working with a lot of fashion designers so I’ve become aware of respecting the craft …there’s a lot of beauty and elegance in minimal and about the structure and the way things are cut.
And how are things going with her vintage yet eco-friendly fashion website?
It’s been really great, we’re finally breaking even so my accountant doesn’t ring me up worrying anymore and it’s, I guess, just a real business in the sense that we’re meeting and covering our costs and at the same time it’s spreading the word about ethical fashion which is really important to me. I guess there’s also the chance to collaborate with other artists, fashion designers and film makers too so that’s given me a taste for being an entrepreneur and a business woman and collaborating with other people.
It’s clear she’s a self-confessed eco-warrior but why does she feel so strongly?
It’s about the way fashion affects the environment. In the newspapers a few months back there was the whole Bangladesh crisis about sweatshops and that’s a pure example that the choices we make in fashion really do affect other people in other countries who are slaving away working on these items of clothing that we can buy for such cheap prices. It kind of questions the concept of waste.
She’s definitely earned the right to call herself an entrepreneur but what lessons has she learned along the way?
(That) it’s ok to take risks, follow your instincts and there will be long term benefits…always promote and do what you believe in and you love.
She’s been in the business since the age of fifteen but she still gets scared.
Everyday I wake up in the morning and have no idea what’s going to happen…I think when you run your own business you’re constantly afraid but it’s kind of not a bad fear, it’s a good fear, it keeps you on your toes.
She tells us about her first single release off the new album
Samson is the first song that I ever wrote actually in the beginning of the recording of the record. The song is definitely a much darker place than Traveling Like the Light, a completely different artist almost. A lot of people who have heard the record sometimes don’t even believe that its my record because it’s so different but it’s questioning the idea of strength and weakness…I think my whole life has been about the journey of conquering my weaknesses.
Her sound has changed quite a bit since her last release so who inspired her new album?
I’ve been listening to a lot of people like The Knife…Little Dragon a lot of electronic music, a lot of alternative sounds and channeling baroque music and operatic music. Hence the reason my vocal has changed slightly.
We had to ask about the fringe!
No, no longer doing that now (laughs) I think with the hair this time it’s a lot more experimental. We’re experimenting with short hair, long hair, extensions, maybe I’ll bust an afro one day but there’s more room for me to just not have this one fixed identity.
Not that she needs to it but we just had to find out her stance on plastic surgery.
I’d never have plastic surgery, I’d like to age gracefully and I think it’s just important for you to just appreciate your body for what it is. Your genes come from your parents and I think the only way to ever have plastic surgery is if you have something that’s causing you pain or if its causing you complete psychological trauma then go for it…I think you actually look older and more fake when you have it.
VV definitely has hidden saucy side when it comes to her favourite body part.
I like my boobs, my boobs are pretty rock, rock hardy…that’s it I think…my boyfriend likes my boobs and my bum. I’m a black girl though so…
We pry a little bit more into her personal life because we realise we know nothing about her!
Yeah I’d love to get married and have kids at the right time, maybe in the next few years definitely. I’m at that age I guess, I’m thirty this year so it’s definitely on the cards for sure.
So she hits the big 3-0 this year but what has she got planned (apart from streaking)
I keep saying I’m going to hide away in a cave and not tell anybody because I’m quite nervous about turning thirty. I think it’s the idea that you have to start thinking about kids and family and things like that and it’s just the end of your twenties, like that decade is gone. But then everybody I speak to that is in their thirties said it’s the most amazing time because you know yourself as a woman and I’m already feeling like that…so perhaps on my birthday it won’t be so bad and I’ll maybe streak.
How does Miss Brown chill out after a hard day in the studio?
I love film I’m a bit of a film buff…I love playing table tennis, I’m really good…I’m a real foodie so I love discovering new restaurants and trying new things, new food and new cuisine, especially fusion…I love cooking so I love to experiment with cooking at home, baking and making bread, love that. I’ve started painting a little bit but painting at home, I’m not very good but it’s really therapeutic.
She’s gorgeous but what does she really think of the modeling industry?
Yeah I mean I absolutely love modeling and I love photography and I love the art of modeling and all those kinds of things. But there definitely is a pressure to maintain a specific weight, which is very hard especially for someone like myself who loves food. But I think at the end of the day the views are changing in the fashion world. They are promoting health over being really really skinny and they are embracing more curvy women and I think that’s a great thing that that’s happening but I love modeling.
And what did being a black woman in an M&S campaign dominated by white models mean to her?
I felt like a black woman. It was really really important to me to take the opportunity. I was a little bit nervous to do Marks and Spencer’s because they are a very conservative brand and some might say that they’re slightly cheesy and not very cool. But, I felt as a black woman, I mean I remember growing up and not seeing many black models you know there was Naomi and there’s Tyra and Chanel Iman but I felt like this is a huge deal, like I’ve been asked to do this I need to honour my black sisters and do this. So it was like a bigger decision than just you know, the financial side. It was representing black beauty in a very white country where everywhere you look there’s a white version of what beautiful is. So yeah it was important that I did it and I loved it. I’ll hold that in me, I’ll have that legacy as part of my life that I was one of those black women who represented black beauty.
So now we know that she’s black and damn proud, does she see feel pressured to be a role model to today’s youth?
I don’t really feel the pressure, I think we’re all human beings everybody makes mistakes. I was never trained to be a role model but I definitely think that I’m aware that, because I’m in the public eye, my actions have consequences that are very different from somebody who isn’t so because of that I’m sensitive about my decisions. And I always think about what would my younger brothers and sisters think, what would my mother and father think if they saw me doing this, out of respect for where I come from and the way I’ve been raised.
We know she’s one of those annoyingly talented people who can do literally everything but what about instruments?
Yeah yeah I play my instruments. I played on this record, I played piano and a bit of drums…I kind of mainly use my playing of instruments for writing…The first record I kind of produced a lot of it but this second album, I kind of let it go to other producers because I felt like I had a lot to learn and they could teach me so much more that I could ever just learn on my own in a studio’
And festival season is finally upon us so will she be donning her wellies and heading out to perform for us?
The album comes out in September so hopefully we’ll be doing the whole festival run next year when the albums been released.
Samson is out now.