When I listened to Veda Black’s new EP Sad Girls Club, I was not only in love because of her magical voice but also because of the vulnerability and authenticity of her music. Those three are qualities quite hard to find, especially if one of three on the mix is the authenticity that I was talking about.
I have a little chat with Veda Black about not only her music but also about the needed recognition from the industry to the value work of black and queers artists and the importance of mental health. Check the full interview below:
Thank you so much for this interview, Veda! How are you doing on these chaotic times?
Thank you for speaking with me. I am doing well thank you, and I hope you are too, doing my best to maintain some kind of normality and just taking things as they come.
Sad Girls Club your new EP was released last July 24th. This new music has an essence of vulnerability all over the lyrics and your voice. What’s the story behind the name Sad Girls Club? How was the creation of the EP? Was it in a certain way therapeutic for you?
The title track was actually a song I wrote last year that I had put away in the “vaults”. Since it is about finding a place to feel vulnerable, sad and safe, I felt it was a really well-fitting song to not only complete the EP but also to serve as the title track. The creation in itself was one of the most enjoyable experiences of this project so far. This was the first time I have self-produced my own work, which I felt was necessary given the personal themes of the EP. I learned to really trust myself as a producer and musician, and it most definitely served a therapeutic and cathartic purpose.
On your music is easy to perceive that you are don’t afraid of exploring different soundscapes. Who are some of your biggest inspirations? Any new artists that also inspires you?
Yes, I am glad this comes across because I am inspired by a broad range of genres and artists like Destiny’s Child, Solange, Tame Impala and Donny Hathaway. I hope some of these themes can be heard throughout the arrangement of the EP. Newer artists that have also inspired me are definitely King Princess, Clairo, and Snoh Aalegra.
What’s the biggest lesson you have learned as a performer?
Performing has taught me to let go in many ways. Letting go of things that have held you back in the past, letting go of fear. Sometimes it is the only time you feel mentally balanced and calm.
What are your feelings about the music industry and the urgent necessity to elevate and recognise black and female artists?
There is a lot of work that needs to be done within the music industry to allow the same opportunities for black, female and LGBTQIA+ artists. It can feel as though artists from marginalised communities are only supported and promoted during times like Pride month or the BLM movement over the last couple of months, which can feel extremely performative. However, it is only effective when this effort is continued. It would be great to see diversity within all areas on the industry from musicians to those working as A&Rs or music business execs, who are in leadership roles and able to make decisions with this in mind.
The music industry (especially big companies) have always been criticised about how unprotected are performers and artists in terms of mental health support. What you would change in the industry to improve that situation? Any tips or advice to anyone suffering from mental health issues?
I guess it is extremely difficult because touring or sticking to release schedules can be difficult and can really affect your mental health let alone having your art or yourself out there for people to form opinions about you and what you do. It upset me to hear about the abuse Billie Eilish had faced on social media at such a young age. Inevitably it is difficult because you have to be available on these platforms to promote your music, even if you don’t want to. However, what needs to change is that there needs to be more compassion from the industry and sometimes from consumers. Artists needs to be able to take their time when they need to, and hopefully, labels are providing artists with therapists, because I can imagine it must be a lot to handle. My overall advice would definitely say: to be soft with yourself, take your time and allow yourself the compassion you deserve.
If you could only pick one lyric from Sad Girls Club that represents the whole mood and intention of the EP which one would it be?
No commitment or guarantee, no promise to make you happy. Welcome to the Sad Girls Club
This 2020 is gonna be a hard year for musicians, but how are you gonna promote Sad Girls Club while the COVID-19 outbreak is still there? Are any intentions to release videos or even some live performances from home?
Exactly, you are so right, it is a difficult time to promote releases. Although I have appreciated the time to learn new skills and trying to think of creative and different ways to promote the project. Honestly, there is nothing I hate more than being in front of a camera, but I have been trying to learn to edit and film little videos and performances from home.
A dreamed collaboration, and why?
I thought about this the other day, and I think it would have to be Syd. I have been a massive fan of her work for years as an artist and producer. I love her sound and also would love to collaborate with other fellow black queer artists.
If you could only listen to an album all your life, what would it be?
Donny Hathaway – Extension of A Man
And the last question. What is the most important thing you would like to tell people about you and your music?
I am a black queer artist and producer who creates music from my home. I like to write about all the things going on in my head that I struggle to communicate verbally. Most recently, I am trying to be more vulnerable with my songwriting. Growing up on a diva diet of Mariah Carey, Xtina and Destiny’s Child; I am a lover of 90s R&B music, and I try to incorporate that along with a low-fi bedroom pop feel.