“This song and its hundred harmonies give voice to my years of loneliness, with no one to talk to but my eating disorder. Independent solo music, like many individual pursuits, can be very solitary, and I sacrificed a lot in its name —proximity to family, team support, daily human connection. And, as so many of us discovered during the pandemic, prolonged solitude + the four walls of one’s apartment are not a prescription for mental health. “- VV
Gracious, thoughtful, forthcoming, and superbly interesting. Those were my thoughts when taking in the answers that Vôx Vé had for my curiosity. The Swiss Alt-Pop artist and producer has a kind of genuine and refreshingly charming intellectualism that already shines through her music and lyrics, where several different concepts intermingle and connect in subtle ways to play a part of something that’s densely packed enough with all sorts of meaning for different people to pick up on, but without any arrogance or pretense on her part. You won’t find anything that’s obtuse for the sake of it, nothing too in love with itself that you’ll feel like the author is trying to pull one over on you.
Vôx Vé’s newest song has caught all of my attention for the time being, it’s called “Lonely Choir” and today we got the opportunity to bring you an awesome interview to illuminate a bit more about this amazing rising artist.
Hello! it’s great finally being able to ask you some questions. I’ve really been digging this new song and i’m really excited for the opportunity, hope you enjoy!
It’s a gift for me–the opportunity to share my values and my process. So thank you!
It’s not the first time you’ve talked about loneliness and isolation with your music. Seems like it’s an important topic for you…
Yes, isolation was a big part of my experience in my twenties. Being an independent artist, or any other kind of solo project owner can be inherently lonely, as can work-from-home. And I had moved to New York City, far from family and friends in Switzerland to pursue music. But I also think I made it worse for myself by holding shame around what I hadn’t yet achieved, thinking I should hide the vulnerabilities of the journey, incubate, and “put my head down and work” so to speak, until I was “worthy” of being seen by others.
I believed drive should look like denial of one’s human needs, and I ignored the instinct that those conditioned values around success I was living and sacrificing for weren’t even my own.
Today, I see it all nearly 180 degrees differently. As the pre-chorus goes, “I was seeking meaning the wrong ways ’round.” You don’t earn love through invulnerability and success. Vulnerability is key to meaningful connection, and meaningful connection is success:)
With “Lonely Choir” I felt like you were pointing out contradictions, like how releasing music has connected you with countless people, while it can simultaneously feel like a very lonely pursuit, at times driving you to isolation even. Do you feel like that’s really the case or just what I’m reading into it?
I certainly believe a song (or any piece of art) means whatever it means to each listener as it meets their experience! So don’t let me change what it says to you:)
For my own intention, I actually wrote the song nearly 6 years ago before I dared to publicly share anything I was making. I picked it back up to produce for this album, because I now value the opposite of loneliness–connection–so high and see the misguidedness of that place in my life so starkly. Luckily, finally daring to release music has actually been incredibly rewarding and made me feel much less lonely. The support from people for the journey, in all its imperfection, has given me a lot of gratitude.
What have you discovered about balancing the demands of the music industry Vs your needs and desires as a human being?
Oof great question, we could certainly wax on it all day. In brief: there is a definite schism between the human fulfillment of creating art and the challenging demands around promoting it. You need listeners’ time and attention in order to grow and keep making music, and people in 2022 spend their time and attention on social media. So you have to do social media. But reaching people on social media is contingent (per “the algorithm”) on an excess of content and “consistency” that can be unhealthy for the artist and the audience honestly. Anything IRL for the music industry I love! But all the screen time and societal ADD…not a healthy system.
Reading about your process for making this song, the term “Positive Psychology” came up. What can you tell us about it and how did you get started studying it?
I remember the first time I learned that happiness was not in fact contingent upon external factors–social scientists in fact say it’s 40% genetic, 10% external situations, 50% habits and mindset. I had hired a health coach in a desperate move to get thinner frankly and instead she started a much more helpful project in my life when she gave me Brené Brown’s “The Gifts of Imperfection.” From there I went, book to book, into increasingly science-y versions of Positive Psychology, which is the study of what truly makes humans well/happy/fulfilled, because data shows it’s not the conventional markers (heaping wealth, fame, renown, etc) we waste our energy miswanting.
I continued on to do a 1-year life coaching certification, as well an amazing online Yale course I’d highly recommend called “The Science of Wellbeing.” Essentially, I went down this rabbit hole DEEP, but it’s changed me, and my ability to pursue my passions so much for the better.
” Lonely Choir” is a part of “We Went Looking for Art”, set for release this year. How does this song fit into the album? What are you hoping to convey with the project?
I wrote most of “We Went Looking for Art” from home in Switzerland throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, in the months before and after I lost my beloved father. So some of the songs sing specifically of that time and its lessons especially, but other songs have nothing to do with it, enjoying instead the escapism of beautiful fantasies and hope for the best parts of our human experience.
In that way it speaks to the dual gift that music, or other art forms have to offer us: both the gift of processing experience when we need to, through its telling, and, conversely, the gift of escaping that experience when we need to, by transporting us to a completely different world and narrative.
Death has a way of brutally sharpening one’s perspective on meaning and values. So the album represents me, seeing through that stark new lens on the subjects that became most important to me, like perspective, gratitude, and human connection. And “Lonely Choir” is one of the songs that ultimately expresses my paramount belief in human connection as the most important piece of happiness and success.
You’re a pretty well-rounded artist, handling songwriting and production alongside your singing. What does your creative process usually look like? Do you start with lyrics first or…?
It looks like ⚡️💡 📱 🎹 💻 💿!!!
Then a wink because that’s my go-to 😉
It usually starts when a particular short phrase of words strikes me like lightning, in or right after a moment of strong emotion. There will be something I feel compelled to express and the phrase often comes with a melody built into the scan of the syllables. From there it’s a voice note on my phone to make sure it doesn’t disappear into the ether as quickly as it came, then I go to the keyboard to find the chords for that phrase, and build out chords and lyrics for the rest of the song parts. After that it’s demo production, vocals, final production (all with my laptop), mixing with my collaborator C-Ray Roberts, etc. This process can all happen within a space of a few weeks, or with some ideas, years.
Outside of music, who or what has had the biggest influence on what you do?
For the what, I’ll say struggle. Struggle/pain/”failure” taught me empathy and gratitude, and empathy is now central to the value I have to give as a person and an artist. For the who…I mostly get inspired by people who’ve been emotionally strong in much worse circumstances than I’ve ever experienced. You’re like, well shit if they can do that, I can at least do this! Bravery begets bravery
I’ve been itching to ask you about your name. Is Vôx Ve? close to your real name? Is it an alias? If so, why did you choose it, and what does it mean to you?
It’s almost an anagram of my real name. I picked and chose letters from it, including the V and the circumflex, which for whatever reason I identify with. Vé is also how you would pronounce the letter V in french, and when I was growing up, my first name was so popular (at one point ⅓ of my class of 24…) that I became one of those kids who gets their last name initial permanently attached. So, it’s still there.
Story: LADYGUNN Staff Photos: Courtesy of the artist
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