A girl with the looks of a young Lana Del Rey and the vocals of a classically trained Adele, there’s a big chance that Valerie Broussard will be taking them on in the top 40 charts in the coming months!
When they say you need the full package to be a star, Valerie Broussard might just have everything to make it big in the industry of today! Her vocals featured on Vertigo (by LA based producer Enl1te) and have a darker sound than can be expected from many pop girls today. Her recent songs & productions sound like BANKS meets Tove Lo & we’re curious to hear what’s next for this New York City girl who’s taken much of her songwriting and artistic credibility from being in London UK whilst studying.
After exclusively premiering her latest single One Of My Kind, Toronto Paradise caught up with the rather alluring Valerie to discuss the future, her influences, and her approach as a young songwriter!
See the full interview below:
1. Tell us where you’re originally from 🙂
I was born and raised in Philadelphia, PA.
2. How has living in London affected your sense of style and sound?
I lived in London from age 18 until I was nearly 23. Those are formative years. I came back with a love of English fashion, of course. My wardrobe is now filled with TopShop and things I found digging around in the stalls at Camden stables market. As for the effect on my sound, living in London introduced me to a lot of my influences. There is such a great music scene there and a great community of songwriters and producers. My time in London was also when I became interested in classical music on a serious level. I was very involved in opera and I was very serious about training to become an opera singer. I moved on from that to pop music but my sound has gradually moved towards incorporating more opulent, classical elements and that will always remind me of my time in London.
3. With the look of a young Lana Del Rey, but with more commercial appeal – how important is image for you as an artist?
It’s not every day that someone compares you to Lana Del Rey! I’ll take it!
I was never really an image conscious person, though I’ve always had a sense of style (whether or not that sense of style was actually stylish is a whole different story). Anyway, it’s been an adjustment realizing how important an image is to your brand as an artist. A big part of it is the hair. I had short hair and bangs all through high school, and most of university. Quite coincidentally I started growing it out right around the time I became serious about pop music, a little less than three years ago. It’s been long ever since and I’m very protective of it. I actually only trust one guy in Pennsylvania with any changes I make to it. -Ian Maguire; we went to high school together in the same small town outside of Philly.
4. Your song Vertigo was produced by LA based producer ENL1TE. It’s received a lot of attention, exposure and plays – what brought you both together to create this unique song?
It’s the classic story of top-line writer meets producer – his publisher put us together. We were writing in a bunch of different genres for other artists and he suggested that it would be cool if our projects as artists collided. I was skeptical at first; I won’t lie. We’re very different! He assured me that our styles could create something really special and outside of the box, and it turns out he was right! We were actually apart when we wrote the song. He was in LA and I was at home in Philadelphia for Christmas. He sent me the track and told me to write about what was inspiring me at that moment – it didn’t matter what it was. Truth is I was binge watching ‘Arrow’ on Netflix. So the song is actually about the idea of being a vigilante. It’s a concept that fascinates me.
5. The chorus of Never Die sounds like an awesome Rihanna/Katy Perry hybrid. How did this song come about? What was the inspiration behind it?
‘Never Die’ is about Peter Pan. I had been listening to a lot of Woodkid at the time and wanted to write something truly epic sounding. Then someone planted the idea of using Peter Pan in my head. I brought that inspiration to AG (who produced and co-wrote the song with me) and she loved it. I’ve liked Peter Pan since I was young, and yes it’s a children’s story, but it’s really quite complex and dark. It’s a big classic adventure but it’s also very much about mortality.
6. Who are three of your favourite songwriters?
The first songwriter I always talk about is Stevie Nicks. She is my hero, not just as a songwriter but also as a performer. The thing that strikes me about her is that she is so honest. She writes songs that are true to her and sometimes the truth hurts. Of course I’m talking about songs like ‘Dreams’ and ‘Landslide’ but her new album really impressed me with how personal it was, my favorite of these being ‘Hard Advice’. These are songs she has written throughout her career and they paint a picture of her on an intimate level.
Another songwriter who seems to constantly be on my mind is Sia. To me she is one of the most well rounded writers in the business. I was originally introduced to her in the early 2000’s when she was in Zero 7 who I was really into at the time. I was totally shocked when I asked someone who was singing on ‘Titanium’ and it turned out to be Sia, it was very different from what I was used to hearing her on. Her solo stuff is excellent, but i love that she also continued to write for others despite her success. That’s the kind of songwriting career I dream of, one where I can find success as an artist but am not limited to writing only for myself.
Lastly there’s Sting. He is one of the first songwriters I remember having a concept of as a kid. I used to listen to this one radio station in Philadelphia as I fell asleep at night and ‘Fields of Gold’ was one of the songs they always played. To this day I find that song incredibly comforting. What I find most interesting about him is his ability to tell vivid stories with his lyrics. Songs like ‘Seven Days’, ‘Shape of My Heart’, ‘Roxanne’, ‘Stolen Car’, ‘Moon Over Bourbon Street’ – I could go on and on.
7. You have a little bit of everything in your vocals and sound, where do you see yourself heading towards over the next year sonically?
I feel like I truly found my sound on a trip to London last fall while I was playing with the idea of letting my music be more indulgent and cinematic. Since then I have devoted the last six months to writing a lot of new music in this style, including my songs ‘Never Die’ and ‘Holy’. I’ve also done a lot of experimentation with the darker side of my sound, especially lyrically. I have a lot of new music I can’t wait to release and over the next year I hope to introduce the bulk of it to the world. There will be a lot of strings, lots of drama and a mix of classical and electronic elements.
8. Best piece of advice given to you from an industry insider?
I went to lunch with a veteran music supervisor recently and she told me something really powerful. She said “your talent entitles you to nothing”. She’s seen a lot of artists and songwriters come and go and she maintains that the ones who make it are those who work hard. No matter how talented you are you have to push and make sacrifices to succeed.
9. What can we expect from you over the next year?
I have a lot of plans for the next year. As I said there is a lot of new music that I am looking forward to releasing, and with that will finally come a music video. I’m more than aware that it’s well overdue at this point! I’m also excited about other artists releasing songs I have worked on and I know there are a few of those in the works. I also can’t wait to get the new music up onstage and out on the road.
10. What is Paradise for Valerie Broussard?
Paradise for me is a summer Saturday night in London. Nothing like a night out in your favorite city at a place where the bartenders know your name, there’s great music playing and all your friends are present.
[soundcloud url=”https://api.soundcloud.com/tracks/207644522″ params=”auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true” width=”100%” height=”450″ iframe=”true” /]
You can catch Valerie at her next show in New York City at the Rockwood Music Hall on Friday, June 5th at 8pm.
© Toronto Paradise 2015. All Rights Reserved.