By: Shayla Lee
London based, alternative-pop musician Vivienne Chi is nothing short of magic. Although she has been singing since she was a child, Vivienne only began releasing songs in 2017. The world took notice, and her track ‘Junk’ garnered over 200,000 streams on Spotify. Her music is diverse and no two songs sound the same. ‘Junk’ is light and airy and will make you want to prance down a street. ‘Vivienne’ is a hard hitter and is more moody and dark. Her latest track ‘Blood Brother’ is a magical 4 minutes of glittery deep synths and bliss and it has been stuck in my head since I first heard it a few weeks ago.
We had the opportunity to interview Vivienne and we chatted about how her move from Spain to London influenced her music, the challenges she has faced being a woman in the music industry, and the meaning behind her latest track ‘Blood Brother.’
FEMME RIOT: Can you tell us a bit about yourself? What inspired you to become a musician?
Vivienne Chi: I sang as a child and would put on mini shows for parents and friends, I was very shy but singing gave me a sense of purpose and belonging. I guess I never saw myself doing anything other than music – it felt like a natural path for me. My inspiration comes from artists that push the boundaries and are masters of their art, performance and songwriting, always challenging and thought provoking.
How would you describe your music to someone who has never heard it before?
I like to experiment a lot and mix different sounds and styles, I couldn’t put my music into a specific genre category, there are elements of folk, electro, soul, Rn’B, grunge, indie, emotive…
Where do you draw inspiration for your music? Do you have any musical influences?
Lots. David Bowie, Kate Bush, Bjork, Fleetwood Mac, D’Angelo, all the greats. I travel a lot so thankfully I have time to listen to lots of music – I remember a time when I just didn’t get time.
How did moving from Spain to London influence your music?
The experience of having to start from scratch was challenging – London is a big lonely place if you know no one and have no money. I soon found the jam spots and met musicians to work with. I had to branch out of my comfort zone and develop my skills, toughen up – I’ve written lots of songs about this, the late-night lifestyle, and loneliness.
We are loving your latest single ‘Blood Brother’ – it’s beautiful! What was the inspiration behind this song?
Thank you! This song was written about the pull between two young lovers, how in later life they gravitate towards each other throwing their lives off balance and then bouncing apart until it happens again…
We are also in love with your music video for ‘Junk!’ In this you explained that people are often “so worried about what people think that we miss what’s going on around us.” What do you do to remain authentic and not get caught up in everything? Can you tell us more about this song and the creation process of the music video?
Thanks! I was approached by a director based in Los Angeles named Thomas Hinkamp, he asked if he could make a video for the song as he felt very inspired by the song and had come up with a concept for it. I read the treatment and knew it would turn out to be something special, the video come out so beautifully, I love it. Stunning shots and lovely story, wonderful acting…
To remain authentic I try to keep a bit of distance from social media and focus on the music. It’s great to have friends who are musicians and artists in the industry, to have that support network, share ideas, and collaborate.
Have you faced any challenges being a woman in the music industry? If so, how did you overcome the adversity and do you have any advice for other women facing a challenge?
Yes – I have certainly been duped a couple of times by men in the industry that used their power and position to intimidate and take advantage. I’m so glad that those experiences mean that I can spot bad eggs from a mile off. My advice is – clue up, gather knowledge, hone your craft, surround yourself with trustworthy people, use your intelligence and power dress!
Clue up, gather knowledge, hone your craft, surround yourself with trustworthy people, use your intelligence and power dress!
What can we expect from you this year? Hopefully we will see you in Vancouver sometime soon!
I’m very excited to be releasing an EP this year, I’m currently finishing off the tracks… It’s a conceptual piece, quite different to what has been released before. Then I’ll be rehearsing to get my live project going..
What songs are currently listening to?
I have a playlist called ‘Driving Gems’ filled with all the tracks that I’m listening to!
Anything we haven’t asked that you want to add?
I just want to say a HUGE thanks for your support – please continue to check out my tracks – the music world is a crazy one and very isolating so thank you for reaching out.
We want to thank Vivienne for doing this interview with us! The cover photo was provided by Vivienne and shot by Jay Rabinal. You can follow Vivienne on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and Spotify. Check out her music video for ‘Junk’ and her entire collection below. ✨