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INTERVIEW: Michelle Vezilj

Hi Michelle, can you talk to us more about your latest single “Fire Goes to Die”?

Hi Rafa, thank you for talking with me today. I’d love to!

Fire Goes to Die is my debut single inspired by my own #MeToo experience. It was produced by Eric Dash who worked alongside the Grammy Award-Winning producer, Jack Joseph Puig, for nearly 4 years, and is now producing his own music as well as other artists.

Stream it on all platforms and share it with a million of your closest friends!

Can you talk about the personal event that inspired you to write this song? Was it easy for you to tackle on this topic?

Fire Goes to Die is my response to a terrifying #MeToo experience I had in my early 20s with the very well-known modelling agency, Elite Model Management. I was working closely with Elite’s London based director, Michelangelo Chiacchio. He had me in consideration for two major athletic modelling campaigns, one for adidas® by Stella McCartney and the other for Dior.

After a year and a half of strict dieting and regimented workouts, Michelangelo said that I was ready to meet with a company representative for final approval. Right before my meeting, I was put in touch with two models who were already working with Elite. They let me know that I would be propositioned during the evaluation, and if I wanted to book the job, I would need to follow through.

I was horrified, but I had flown myself out for the meeting and had dedicated such a large amount of time to this opportunity. I dismissed their claims and hoped that they were wrong. I was very young and naïve, but I knew my own boundaries.

I was sexually assaulted by the man Michelangelo Chiacchio insisted I meet before officially signing with Elite Model Management. This isn’t the first time that this has happened in the modelling industry. I hope that I am able to start a very important conversation about how these young people are being mistreated and abused.

If you’d like to read more, you can do so here.

Any plans to release a video for the single?

I am releasing a lyric video for Fire Goes to Die. I was very fortunate to work with the incredible Johnny Tabor, who has designed for companies such as Blumhouse and Epic Pictures as well as the Emmy Award-Winning filmmaker, Michael Racanelli. Together, we created a lyric video to top all other lyric videos!

A music video is currently in development. I will be working alongside one of my mentors and dear friends, Caroline Zelder. Coming soon!

How was the recording and writing process?

I’ve written a lot of songs over the last two years, but I wanted Fire Goes to Die to be my debut single. Not only was it therapeutic to write, but it has also been healing to sing. I hope that when other survivors of sexual assault listen to Fire Goes to Die, they find comfort and strength in it.

How does your background penning and working on film and TV influences your music as a whole?

My background in theatre, film, and TV has drastically affected my music. My songs are like little short films. I want my listeners to see what I’m saying as if they are watching it unfold on a screen. My live show is very similar to a one-woman show. My entire set has a beginning, middle, and end with a very clear storyline. I don’t shy away from difficult topics so I tackle everything from love, death, alcoholism, and heartbreak. I promise to have you laughing and crying at the same time or your money back!

Do you tend to take a different approach when you are collaborating with someone else rather than working on your own?

Absolutely! Before writing with another artist, I research them as thoroughly as possible. I look at their past work, their biographies, videos on YouTube, and any information I can find about them online. I then meditate and jot down any ideas that immediately come to mind.

When I get in the room, the first 30-60 minutes is just about getting to know them. I want to hear about their interests and anything they might like to write about. Once we’re both feeling comfortable with one another, we dive into it. When we walk out of the session, we’ve made something that wasn’t there before and that’s really cool.

Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along?

Yes, this is the year of releasing music! Each song feels like a child that I have birthed and raised diligently, but now they’re all 18 and I’m finally kicking them out. I just hope that I’ve given them enough love and support to make it in the real world.

Over the last two years, I have written an album worth of songs. I plan to put out two more singles this year, I Cannot Love You Anymore in the fall and How Do You Get to the Dead? in the winter, followed by an EP at the beginning of 2020.

Any tentative release date or title in mind?

If all goes according to plan, I will have two more singles out this year followed by an EP in January 2020. As for the title of the EP, I’m not quite sure yet. I’d love to do a dedication to a close childhood friend of mine who passed while I was writing the album. His name was Jerome Jaymes Lowe and he has influenced my music tremendously. I wouldn’t be the artist I am now without him.

Any plans to hit the road?

I am currently in talks with a couple of heavy hitters in the #MeToo world and hoping to have some exciting news for you soon! There’s a lot going on in the women’s movement and I’d love to get involved in any way that I can.

What else is happening next in Michelle Vezilj’s world?

I just recorded the vocals for the end credit song of Fantawild’s feature film animation, Boonie Bears: Blast into the Past which will have a worldwide release. In June, I’m shooting a featured role and writing original music for the film The Chariot, written and directed by Adam Sigal (Sargasso), and it hasn’t been officially announced yet, but I also have a project hitting Netflix in the next couple of months. Lots of fun stuff on the horizon!

Listen here

About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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