Vanessa White rose to fame as part of The Saturdays one of the UK’s best selling girl groups. Vanessa is now out on her own with a clear vision and mindset for her artistry. Listening to Vanessa White’s debut EP ‘Chapter One’ (which is out now) we are pleasantly surprised by Vanessa’s sound. ‘Chapter One’ is a million miles away from the sound we’re used to from The Saturdays and instead we’re chucking on a heavy denim and ‘Tims’ and swagging out to the 90’s RnB inspired tracks like Lipstick Kisses.
We sat down with Vanessa to go over her new sound and new solo career. Vanessa will also appear in our spring print issue – with more exclusive images.
Being in a girl group, it can be very hard to let your individual selves shine. Being in a group of 5 musicians makes it even harder. Did you ever feel it was hard to show off your personal flair while a member of The Saturdays?
“I wouldn’t say it was hard. I think it was often my own decision to take a bit of a step back. Like with interviews, when you’re in a group with four other people and you’re asked a question you’re always going to get people talking over each other so sometimes I didn’t mind being the person who wasn’t going to talk as much. But I wouldn’t say it completely affected my personal flair, even though I’ve taken a very different direction with my solo music. Anything around the music I always had an opinion on, but of course that opinion was split with the other girls. I’ve always been into the music that I’m doing now, but once again when you’re in a group you’re aware that you’re not necessarily going to record and perform the type of music you listen to everyday. So I guess it was affected to an extent but not completely. I love live music and always have so whenever I get a chance I’m out at gigs checking out some of my favourite artists and brand new acts too.”
Is it harder as a soloist?
“I knew it was bound to be harder in ways being solo and not having the rest of the group there, but I’m allowed to express myself so much more which makes me feel so fulfilled, so in that respect it’s not harder, in fact it makes it feel easier. And now I have an amazing team of talented writers, producers and creatives I work with and who I trust so much and really get me, such as Tre Jean-Marie who I worked on a lot of the EP with and Thomas Eriksen who I’ve known for years now. I’ve also been in the studio with Snakehips, who I love. Then there is Rob Heppell, who is such an incredible director and created the visuals for ’Nostalgia’ and ‘Lipstick Kisses’ He also put together some stunning visuals specifically for my first live shows last month. It’s also nice getting to collaborate with other music artists too. I did a refix of ‘Exchange’ by Bryson Tiller that I mixed a bit of KP & Envyi’s ’Swing My Way’ into. I was obviously singing the track from a female perspective and wanted to get a male response into that too so I asked Kojey Radical do a verse on it, which is so sick, and we’ve performed the track live a couple of times now which was amazing to be able to do. And Wretch 32 who obviously features on the track ‘Lipstick Kisses’ which dropped on the same day the EP was out which was a cool way to launch that.”
The music you’re releasing now is very different to the music you released as part of the Saturdays. Did you ever feel like your creative was stifled while part of the group?
“I don’t think it was stifled. The difference now is I just have a lot more free reign so I’m able to explore my creativity a lot more now I’m doing this thing on my own.”
Who/what are your main influences?
“Back in the day, growing up I was listening to stuff like Destiny’s Child, Aaliyah, Mariah, Janet Jackson, all of that kind of thing. I still listen to a lot of that music but I’m also listening to a lot of Kehlani, Anderson Paak, Tinashe, Bryson Tiller and Ty Dollar Sign. There are also a lot of things outside of music that influence me such as experiences and even places that have had a big impact on me. Over Christmas I went to the Philippines, where my mum is from, for nearly a month and did a lot of island hopping while I was there. I was inspired by so much while I was out there as it has such an amazing and vibrant culture. Everything from the colours you see, the food, the music and the lifestyle too. When I came back home from that trip I just became even more interested in the whole wider Asian vibe with the colours, flowers and different styles. Also, on the trip I spent a lot of time on the beach and travelling between different places so I wasn’t really dressing up or wearing any make-up for a month, it was more of a simple, castaway feel so when I got back I immediately didn’t want to wear as much make-up, the lashes went and aren’t as long anymore so I really toned things down even more and I prefer it.”
Where do you want to see your career in 10 years?
“You know what, I’m just so excited about what’s happening now and what’s to come next after what’s happening now. I have so many great ideas and things in the pipeline so I’m trying to take it all one step at a time and to enjoy the moments as they come. I’m excited to put more music out there, to get on the road to give more people the chance to hear it live and seeing how that all naturally evolves. Music is such a huge part of my life so I hope I’m still doing all of what I love so much for years to come.”
What are your plans for the rest of 2016?
“For the rest of the year I’ll be putting out more new music, doing more live shows and some festivals hopefully.”
What is your FAULT?
“I’m a really big perfectionist, especially when it comes to music. Even if it’s the tiniest little thing, I’ll never be happy until I feel it’s perfect.”