If you find yourself torn between the hype of EDM and the authenticity of singer/songwriter genres, you should definitely add Vera Blue to your Spotify library. As a folk-electronic fusion artist, she combines an astounding vocal range with a flute-like tone and heavy, electronic production into a unique genre that is all her own.
Vera Blue – whose real name is Celia Pavey – began her career in her home country, Australia, as a folk artist, toting an acoustic guitar and her trademark waist-length orange hair (here’s a video of her slaying her audition for The Voice Australia: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mpWWOhJXs3A). But, in 2016, she launched the Vera Blue project with a debut EP titled Fingertips. Her most-streamed song on Spotify, titled “Hold”, comes from this EP, though it also appears on her first full album Perennial, released in 2017.
Please, do yourself a favor and listen to the full album start to finish. Her complete honesty in dealing with heartbreak is bittersweet – and sour (looking at you, “Private”). But, in case you want to get a feel for her best work first, here are my favorite five songs from the album:
The dynamic progression of this piece drives you forward without you even noticing. From sparse production that lets her crystal-clear voice tell the story at the start to the hard-hitting percussion and thick synth layering that frames her incredible belt and folk-y riffs at the end, you will feel like you just had a real good therapy session after listening to this song just once – or 12 times consecutively, like me.
The matter-of-fact tone of the lyrics and gentle guitar plucking frames girl power in a whole new light. In contrast to anthems like “Blow Your Mind (Mwah)” by Dua Lipa or Demi Lovato’s “Confident”, “Settle” represents a quieter yet final sense of moving on, and up, in Vera’s own words. The reflective tone serves as a nice reminder that confidence is made by and for yourself, not for others to admire.
Andy Mak, one of two producers Vera worked with on the album, says this about the beats on the album: “Lots of the drums were overdubbed with live drums, pots and pans or [even] cutlery drawers being thrown across the room. My favourite beat on the album is where the kick is made from a sustain pedal and the snare is a chain inside an old pianola” (read more here: https://www.verablue.com/). I’m 99% sure that a particular sample this song is a pan being thrown at a wall. That fun fact aside, the harmonies are beyond beautiful. Plus, ending her album about heartbreak with a new love is a perfect nod to the album title, as it represents the cyclical nature of love.
Need a good cry? Here you go. Exchanging industrial production for her more direct-narrative roots, Vera speaks very openly about the hardships of a breakup outside of the loss of your partner. You also lose their family, often their friends, and anything else that you shared. Most breakup songs are just about the individual; but, much like everything about her, Vera’s perspective is unique. My favorite lyric: “Whoever said it was better to love and to lose / Has obviously never loved anyone.” Catch me weeping.
Last but not least, this is the track that titles her 2018 international tour: “Lady Powers.” First of all, just try not to dance listening to this; good luck. The ~groovy~ bassline, catchy rhythms in the vocal lines, and empowering lyrics make the perfect feminist bop. The version on Perennial is great, but the single version featuring Kodie Shaneis RAD. Another awesome lyric: “I know that you think I’m going crazy / But I’m not gonna settle for anything short of amazing.” OKAY QUEEN.
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