Interview: Victoria Monet
Mon, 15 Dec 2014 08:27:36
Victoria Monet Videos
“I was so excited to put Nightmares & Lullabies - Act 1 out," says Victoria Monet. "Now that it’s out, I’m like, ‘I can’t wait for Act 2!’”
You'll get that excited after one listen to Act 1. It's a modern R&B masterpiece, painted from brushstrokes of alternative, hip-hop, and electronic music. At the center of this artful amalgam, Monet's magnetic voice takes flight and immediately captivates. The curtain is up, and Act 1 has officially begun.
In this exclusive interview with ARTISTdirect.com editor in chief Rick Florino, Victoria Monet talks Nightmares & Lullabies - Act 1 [iTunes link] and so much more.
What ties Nightmares & Lullabies – Act 1 together for you?
It’s just my sound. I work with the same group of people pretty much every day. So, no matter what we do, I feel like we have this natural groove and sound. I don’t want it to feel like the same story for every song, but I definitely want it to feel like we’re in the same world. I would say it’s the sound, the way I approach the top lines, and the beats. There’s a juxtaposition between the production and what I do. The undertone tracks are very aggressive, and the vocals are softer and more ambient. Some of them are very whimsical and sort of classical. That carries the sound of the EP.
Did you approach the EP with the overarching vision?
It happened very naturally. I’ll be honest with you. Some of the songs on Act 2, and one of the songs on Act 1, are from two or three years ago. I didn’t rush anything. I wasn’t like, “Let me go into the studio in this one month and bang out everything I feel”. For it to be that long ago, it had to be timeless and not time-stamped by whatever was trendy then and what’s trendy now. I’m hoping that carries it into another four or five years so people can be like, “I love this to this day”. I create it bit by bit, because I also write for other artists. I didn’t want to take away from either me being an artist or the creativity where I give my material to other people. I know I’m not going to have two or three years between every project, so I was glad I was really able to develop the sound at the beginning. I was able to use the songs I love.
What’s the story behind “Backyard”?
Well, I have a lot of people around me. Everybody has an opinion. A lot of people have said, “You need to be more urban” or “You need to do more traditional R&B”. Because I’m an African-American, I get that stereotype. I felt like where I’m from is very diverse, and I didn’t get one type of genre. I felt like a little bit of an underdog. I had to prove I could be myself and still maintain a career. I’ll be fine. I can do what I want to do. I don’t have to conform because of the color of my skin. I felt that aggression. A lot of people were giving critiques in the studio. Also, I’m in the music industry full of stereotypes. The song applies to a lot of people. It’s for anyone who’s been through something they want to conquer and they want to progress. It’s something a lot of people can relate to. I want to represent those underdogs who want to work through something and achieve greater things.
Is it important for you to paint pictures with the songs?
When people hear the music, I want them to be in a trance. I hope it takes their minds off whatever is going on. In addition to me telling my own story, I want people to be able to escape whatever they’re going through and relate to some things that I’m saying. It’s definitely important for me to give everyone a vibe of another world. Right when they turn it on, it’s like, “Okay, this is different”.
What artists shaped you?
I’m very visual. I’m drawn by live performance. I love Michael Jackson. My uncle sent me a tape of one of his concerts, and I literally watched it all the time. I was copying his moves. He was just so different than everybody else. Musically, Aaliyah was incredible. She felt really relatable and like a big sister. She wasn’t too high fashion. I didn’t feel like I couldn’t wear what she was wearing. I love TLC and Destiny's Child. I’m inspired by people who started small and grew into superstars with amazing live shows. I’d watch big Awards Shows. I’m into it.
What inspires you outside of music?
I love to draw and be creative. One of my favorite stores is Michael’s. People make fun of me all the time. When I was maybe nine- or ten-years-old crocheting a blanket, everyone was like, “This little girl is a grandma” [Laughs]. I love painting. I took a ceramics class last year. I like to be all-around open and creative not just musically.
If you were to compare the EP to a movie, what would it be?
There are two spectrums. It could be The Sound of Music because of the melody choices. I actually like this movie called My Girl. It seems very innocent. There’s a troubled girl who has to go through something and conquer it. I like how it’s old school. I’m trying to do more things in VHS style. I like anything timeless and old.
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