First Look Friday: Breeze Through The Wilderness With Vanessa White

Kevito is the managing editor of Okayplayer. His top three MCs…

Photo of Vanessa White taken by Stephanie Sian-Smith.

Moments in life are stories told in chapters, and no one understands this better than this week’s First Look Friday subject, Vanessa White. Most audiophiles are familiar with the sultry London singer-songwriter when she was a member of UK girl band The Saturdays at only 17-years-old. Now, in her mid-twenties, she has lived enough for three lifetimes and funneled her experiences through the lens of her two EPs, Chapter One and Chapter Two.

The latter, which features soul / hip-hop artist Illa J on the cut, “Good Good,” helps to reinforce the notion that Vanessa White oozes a special kind of sex appeal that hypnotizes the listener. She’s blunt, open, raw to the vein, sensitive and sincere, while being uninhibited by what the larger public would say or think about her. An authentic personality is one that we look for in this industry because so many artists are afraid to learn who they truly are.

This is not a problem for Vanessa White.

For this Somerset born-and-raised talent, self-discovery served as a true measuring stick to how far she has come, not only as an artist, but as a woman of the 21st century. With that in mind, Vanessa White expresses a hint of mystery with every lyric, a wry smile behind every dark twist of phrase and as a solo artist she is in full control of which direction her career goes.

A career we here at Okayplayer hope is fruitful and able to multiply in creative and varying ways. Admittedly, we fell under the English and Filipino woman’s strong and empowered gaze, which encouraged us to place the spotlight on this rapidly rising star. So, allow us to introduce you to Vanessa White, an artist tired of presenting a narrative not her own. We spend some time with her as she talks to us about her range of influences, becoming more open with herself and obstacles she’s overcome in her career. Plus, we have the video of “Good Good” for you to check out below. Enjoy!

Okayplayer: To music snobs the world over, you are making an impact. What is it that those in music game are seeing and hearing that the rest of the world has yet to discover?

Vanessa White: My music has a sensual and sultry vibe. It is real and comes from the heart. It is a mix of, I guess, what you would call future-R&B, blended in with my love for older school R&B [music] from the ’90s and ’00s.

OKP: For those who have a passion for music, they honed their skills and practiced their craft. Who are your most cherished influences in music and why?

VW: I have so many. They range from Janet Jackson, TLC, Destiny’s Child to Kehlani, Bryson Tiller, Anderson .Paak and Syd. I actually have that new Syd album on constant repeat at the minute. It is my go to when I am getting ready and in the car when I’m on my way out. I love it!

OKP: Can you talk about how your life was while developing as an artist? How did you react to your first bits of press?

VW: That is an interesting one for me as that was over 10 years ago when I was in the band. I was only 16, 17-years-old starting out. I remember it being really exciting to first see press with my name and picture on it. It was exciting but also quite weird at the same time. I don’t think anyone can prepare you for anything like that actually. But, even now, seeing press on my project is so amazing and I take it as such a compliment that people are appreciating what I am doing and putting it out there.

The reaction to my EP, Chapter One, was so positive and encouraging as that was the first taster I gave of my solo music so it was great to see even more of that when I dropped “Low Key” last year and then “Good Good” this month, which is the first track to be taken from my new EP, Chapter Two, which is out next month. I am so happy that people have been connecting with it so much and have said how they can hear the growth in it and recognize how it is evolved from what I put out last year.

In terms of developing as an artist, I feel like I am doing that all of the time, especially with launching my solo career, creating and releasing music I’m so passionate about, and [making it] really represent me and what I am about. And, of course, as people we’re always changing and evolving with new experiences — we never stay the same so as an artist it is great if your music can grow and develop with you.

OKP: With incidents involving people of color, police and racist occurring almost on a daily basis around the globe ― how can your music (and/or others) help to relieve the trauma that is being experienced by the masses?

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