[V]anessa White dropped the sexiest song of 2017 when she released “Good Good” on Valentine’s Day this year. As well as filling bedrooms and dance floors, though, the track almost marked another milestone for an artist with a renewed approach in the studio. Vanessa’s second solo EP Chapter Two (that naturally follows 2016’s Chapter One) is a post-girl group R&B masterpiece that manages to call out exes, fire shots at the misogynist music industry and to unapologetically talk about sex.
With assistance from rising producers including LongLivThePlug, Mkulu, Ads Valu and Chloe Martini, who provide a glossy backdrop for Vanessa’s soul rich vocal, Chapter Two is essential listening for anyone who wants their pop to come with a side of sex, experiment and insight. And it’s only the beginning for an artist who is about to realize their full creative potential.
Follow Vanessa on Instagram right here and hear Chapter Two below.
Do you feel like this record has helped you establish yourself as a solo artist?
Yes absolutely. This record is so much more honest. So much has happened in the past year and I’ve put all that into the creative process for this record. I’m not worried about upsetting anyone or saying something I shouldn’t anymore.
Would you say the record is very much about your personal experiences?
Everything on the record is personal. “Trust Me” for example is about double standards in the industry. It’s aggressive but I really needed to do that. Obviously I can’t go into the situations too much but for a long time I’ve felt like the industry is dominated by men and their egos. Massaging their egos gets boring after a while and being a woman is tough so I had to go there with those subjects on the EP.
Artists are so often marketed as empowered females and really they’re not. Everyone feels like they need to say that but it’s a very different thing saying that and knowing that you are actually in full control. For me it’s so important that I’ve become a complete control freak. I have to know exactly what’s going on.
"The industry is dominated by men and their egos. Massaging their egos gets boring after a while."
The industry is notorious for suppressing females, especially behind the scenes when it comes to the studio. Do you feel you overcame those challenges on this album?
Yeah, a billion percent. I think that’s why I feel so happy about this. I’ve had creative control all the way and as time went on in the recording of the EP I just became so much more open and honest and my writing came such a long way too. It’s so rewarding to hear the finished product.
Something else that comes through on the album is love and relationships…
It’s very, very sexual, which is something I didn’t see myself going that far with, not on the last EP for sure, but I just get on so well with the producers and the other writers that I work with and there was just no holding back. Normally people might be like, “Do you think you can say that?!” but I only really work with people now that I know get it and understand it. I’m not scared of saying what I want to say. I think it’s really important to have people around you that will support that.
Men seem to have always had license to talk about sex on record…
Exactly! And for women it’s been for a long time something that you couldn’t really talk about in the way you wanted to. Someone had to just say “fuck it!”
"I don’t think I could go back [to the band]. I’ve got so much that I want to do."
Has it been a daunting experience establishing yourself as a solo artist?
It took me a little bit of time to really get into it. At first it was “amazing I can be creative” but because you’re so used to not having that freedom, it doesn’t come to you straight away. I’m so happy that I’ve had a full year and a half or even a bit longer to actually get used to it and be really open. It’s just normal now, it’s become a part of life. It’s feels really natural. You can tell straight away whether you believe someone or not on record, so when I listened back and thought, “wow this is really really personal” I guess it can’t get any more real than that.
What’s coming up next for you?
I’ve got people in my head I want to collaborate with – aiming high obviously! And I really want to do a tour or even a joint tour. I need that to happen soon so I’m starting to get a band together and getting excited about that.
What kind of reception are you hoping for from the record?
For people to recognize that this is me as an artist.
So there’s no looking back for you… are the band ever getting back together?
I don’t think I could go back. I’ve got so much that I want to do. There’s no space mentally for me to go back. As time goes on, I know it just wouldn’t feel right for me. This feels natural.