Two years ago, we discovered a British pop star named V V Brown and she rocked our world with her utterly infectious full-length debut album, Travelling like the Light. Soon, her sophomore release, Lollipops & Politics will release, but in anticipation of the launch we caught up with the singer between gigs to ask her a few questions about the new album. (Don’t miss the video for her latest single at the end of this interview.)
Gay List Daily: How does the new album compare to the first?
V V Brown: I think I’ve definitely moved on. I think Traveling like the Light was a very retro-influenced record. This is a lot different. I think I’ve matured and I’m interested in different things. It’s much more of a straight pop record. The message isn’t about a broken heart, it’s about the world and the way I perceive the world and things I want to talk about, rather than getting over a guy. It has a bit more of a meaningful presence.
GLD: Where did the title come from?
V V: I was lost in SOHO, New York. I already had an existing title, which was total rubbish. Everyone was telling me how bad it was, but I was being stubborn. I had a light bulb moment when I realized that everyone was right. It actually was rubbish. I asked myself what my album is trying to say from Track 1 to track 10. What does it encompass? I felt like every track has a message and is talking about something or questioning something. It’s quite a political record in a sense.
GLD: But it’s still not a sad record.
V V: No, I’m a fun person and I love pop music, so it’s not a message being delivered in a preachy way. And it’s not being delivered in a way that’s completely serious. There are elements that are completely joyful. I thought of the word “Lollipop” as in “pop” music. And that’s how it became Lollipops & Politics.
GLD: Talk about “Children,” the first single off the album.
V V: The song is about the youth and our generation. I wanted to use the ice cream truck because I think it’s a metaphor for being a kid. I think anybody who hears that sound and running after the ice cream man, they go back to being free and young. But the lyrics are kind of questioning what’s going on with our youth. So people sometimes when they first hear it, they think it’s a happy pop song, but there’s an underlying meaning.
GLD: Just like all your songs.
V V: I’m a huge fan of that. I did that on Traveling like the Light. I love contradiction and I love irony. The real fans know the truth. They listen to “Crying Blood” and they know it’s about pain and the heartache. I love when I fan comes up and says they love the way I twisted it. It gives this really weird, odd pop. I think that’s kind of my trademark. It’s a really happy song, but there’s a lot of deeper meaning.
GLD: You’ve been writing music since you were 5 years old?
V V: Yes, since I was a little girl I was always intrigued with instruments, playing music, and listening to music. I think it just kind of grew into an obsession.
GLD: What’s your process like for songwriting?
V V: I tend to do lots of different things. It can be spontaneous. Sometimes I hear a melody in my head and I put it on my computer on Garage Band or sometimes I ring up my voicemail. Sometimes it’s just being at home and I’ve got a home studio, so sometimes I’ll go in and listen to music then end up writing a song on the piano or guitar. Sometimes I’m just reading a book and a beautiful sentence pops out and it inspires you to write down some words in your notepad. There are so many different ways to get inspiration for writing music.
The one thing I can’t do is work in a big posh studio. I can’t stand them. I find them very clinical. I want to be in an environment that’s a bit rugged and homey and you can take your shoes off, go to the kitchen and cook.
GLD: You started out writing songs for other bands.
V V: Yes, I wrote for Pussycat Dolls and Sugar Babes. They were things I did to survive and pay the rent. I was just getting into the industry. It’s a real learning curve to write for somebody else and get inside their head.
GLD: Any one song that’s your favorite to perform live?
V V: My favorite is a song called “Like Fire,” which is a song I produced all by myself. It was the first time I arranged the strings on a record. It’s a very sexual song.
GLD: Is your US success slower than it has been in Europe?
V V: I think it’s all moving in the way it needs to go. France has really, really kicked off. We had a number one record there. But then America’s such a huge country it takes time. I’ve always felt with my career that it’s going to be a slow burner. I think it’s going to take a while for me to get to where I get to. I may not even get there, but I don’t think about that. I just want to enjoy the ride.
GLD: Do you have a lot of gay fans?
V V: Yeah. I do. I have lots and lots of them and they’re brilliant. The gay community is so loyal and their taste in things is just always on point. After all these shows, we just hang out afterward. We just chat and they let me know what they feel and think, what songs they like. A lot of times on this [past] tour, I spend a good hour, two hours hanging out with the fans. The gay community is very supportive of my career. It’s great because they’re fabulous. They know. They KNOW. There’s an honesty there.
GLD: We can make a diva, that’s for sure.
V V: [laughs] Yes, yes, you can.
Watch the video to “Children,” the first single from V V’s new album: