Hi Paulina, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?
VENTS! So happy to chat with y’all! I’ve been awesome, 2020 has already been too fun. Hope it’s been the same for you, too!
Can you talk to us more about your latest single “Shades Down”?
Definitely! “Shades Down” is one of the first records I wrote for the new collection of songs I’m releasing this year. It’s been a special process because it unintentionally became a self empowering goodbye song. I spent a lot of time letting toxic people into my life and this was one of the first times I aired it out in song form. I remember when I premiered it live, I felt strong as hell and knew it had to be released! I hope that those who have been in a similar situation can relate and feel their power, too!
Did any event in particular inspired you to write this song?
There was one particular moment where this toxic person reached out to me. I had already created boundaries and said my peace, but here we were having the same one-sided conversations we used to have. I sat on that for a while, trying to pick apart the type of person I wanted to be and how to forgive. It was complicated, still is, and I wanted to capture it to remind myself that I can walk away.
Any plans to release a video for the single?
Yes! I have concepts in mind and plan on exploring them with indie directors in NYC. Crossing my fingers that I find a match!
How was the recording and writing process?
I’d be lying if I didn’t say it took longer than most songs. “Shades Down” has gone through about three iterations before it became what it is today! I wrote the initial beat on GarageBand on my phone – I use the app constantly to get ideas out, especially while I’m commuting around the city. The drums came first, then I found the perfect bass synth, and finally the keys found a home. After that, I wrote the melody and found the harmonies for the chorus. From there, I had a working demo for a while, fleshed it out in Logic, added guitar, then other melodic elements. Finally, I was fortunate enough to have my drummer and bassist lay down live instrumentation, as well as a friend who’s a wonderful jazz pianist. The outro came last, out of nowhere! I revisited the song back in October to finalize production and it came out in the time that it took to sing it.
How does your Vietnamese background actually gets to influence your music?
I grew up in a bi-cultural household – while my parents made sure we spoke Vietnamese, understood customs, and most importantly, cooked amazing food; I was born in the states, went to public school, and grew up American by all means There was a bit of a clash, something I didn’t fully appreciate until college. While my musical counterparts listened to their parents music (Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty, Elton John), my parents were listening to Vietnamese tunes. My sisters were older, and they listened to 90’s R&B, House, Hip Hop, Pop, etc – I didn’t appreciate this blend of genres until I started really leaning in. These days, I’m here for it! I let this weird mix of my parents, sisters, and personal genres drive my musical palette more and more.
What role does Brooklyn play in your writing?
So much. The indie scene out here is absolutely incredible. I’ve learned so much about what it means to be an artist, and the community has been mind-blowing. I love watching other bands live and listening to what my peers are accomplishing on a budget. Outside of that, simply living in Brooklyn gives me immense amounts of inspiration. I love exploring neighborhoods, hearing all the sounds from varying cultures, and letting it all sink in.
Does the new single mean we can expect a new material – how’s that coming along?
Yes! It’s coming along great – the writing is done, and I’m in full production, mixing, and mastering mode. The full record is genre-bending and blending, I’m excited and nervous at the same time to share it!
Any tentative release date or title in mind?
LIkely closer to summer, but we’ll see 🙂
Any plans to hit the road?
Absolutely! I’m planning on east coast cities, and maybe a few big ones on the west coast! I’m fortunate to have couches to stay on, so be prepared y’all, haha.
What else is happening next in Paulina Vo’s world?