Words: Amy Bell
Photography by Barnaby Fairley
Viia is a 17 year old singer/songwriter who grew up in the UK town, Darlington. Viia decided to take a poetic spin on her songs with personal experiences thrown into them. She also wrote about things that she knew was going to come her way growing up. When Viia was growing up, she joined a local band, but realised she wanted to do it on her own, so became a soloist. At just 12 years old, she was on stage, singing ‘Zombie’ by the Cranberries. At that point, she was getting interest from other people, and also the attention of a fellow musician, who introduced her to her now manager.
‘Falling’ has received support from BBC Introducing NE & Yorkshire and gained accolades from The Independent, Spindle Magazine and Alfitude. Her music video for ‘Falling’ that she shot with her friend from Darlington and fellow creative, Ethan Fenton premiered with 1883 magazine.
On the video, Viia says: “I shot the video with my very talented friend, Ethan Fenton. It was really important to shoot my first video with someone I feel comfortable around - and someone who is a fellow creative from Darlington! We shot the video in Burlesque performer Ebony Silk’s studio. Some of the filming was done in my college, Queen Elizabeth Sixth Form, too.”
Hi Viia, Thanks for talking to ReVamp, how has lockdown been for you?
Hello! Thanks so much for chatting with me! Lockdown’s been tough, a lot has changed but I’ve learnt a lot about myself too. I’ve been really absorbed in my music over lockdown so it’s been amazing to get the opportunity to fully focus on writing and getting everything moving. I released my debut single and music video during lockdown, so that’s a really positive thing!
As a 17 year old artist, do you think that the range of ages can relate to your music, especially teenagers?
Absolutely, the things I write about in my music are very relatable and I would be surprised if you hadn’t been through a similar situation. They’re mainly about heartbreak, you know- all that good stuff! I think teenagers aren’t taken very seriously. People assume we can’t go through heartbreak and feel the same emotions, but that’s wrong. I write songs about my personal life, so my lyrics are usually very relatable for other teens.
At the start of your music journey, you joined a local band, what made you decide to then become a soloist?
I started gigging with other musicians when I was 10 years old. We didn’t write our own music, we played covers so when I started writing my own songs, I began experimenting with my creativity and working out exactly what I wanted to achieve with my sound. I’ve always known I wanted to be a soloist, way before I started gigging in bands, however, the opportunity to be in a band was there and it was fun. I taught myself guitar, and started playing solo gigs which led to me meeting my managers and becoming the artist I’ve always wanted to be.
What are the pros but also the cons of being a soloist in the world of music?
A huge pro is having creative control, for sure! You can write what you want, wear what you want, stand for what you want without having to compromise. Having complete creative control means the music sounds exactly how I want it to. However, I suppose it’s more lonely to be a solo artist. You don’t share the tough times with anyone else, whereas in a band it’s easier to support each other as you’re all going through the same experiences.
Your new video for 'Falling’ has just launched, what was the recording and the filming process like?
It all came together really easily!! It just made sense. I had a vision for the video and I knew exactly how I wanted the song to sound: massive, anthemic, electric guitars and big drums! The released version is very similar to the demo that we recorded just over 2 years ago. Filming the music video was so fun too, I just got to sing along to the song for a few hours whilst dancing (badly)!
What do you enjoy the most about shooting a music video, and how long does it usually tend to film?
My friend, Ethan Fenton, filmed the music video for ‘Falling’. I think it was really important that I filmed my first video with someone who made me feel comfortable, as it can be a daunting thing due to being such an unfamiliar experience. It was fun just singing to the camera in different angles and outfits… we filmed the video over a few days as I’m a perfectionist!
The video has an artistic feel to it, was this always the intention for it to be filmed the way it was?
I wanted a really cool video, a bit of drama but with the music being the main focus - hence why it’s mainly me singing to the camera. We used a fish-eye lens to give variety. I also loved the idea of having a projected image on me whilst singing which can be seen in the dark room of some shots. We also made use of a dark, leather couch seen in many fish-eye lens and red LED shots. The colour scheme is black and red, as they’re both my fave colours and it’s basically the same colour palette as my instagram feed.
What and who inspired you to create and write this song?
Me getting rejected by a guy I liked at the time, was the inspiration behind this song. In the introduction, you can hear his exact rejection text message being read out. I was confused and upset so these emotions fuelled the writing process, I always treat my song-writing as a form of therapy.
The comments on the video are amazing, what does it mean to you to get feedback like that, knowing so many people love your songs and do you feel more pressured?
It’s amazing, and very overwhelming. I’ve been aching to release music for YEARS so it feels amazing to finally be putting music out, never mind be receiving such positive feedback! I don’t feel pressured, music taste is subjective and I just think if you like my music, great! If you don’t, just don’t listen to it. Receiving such positive comments makes me even more excited to release more music though as the songs get bigger and better.
Lastly, what's next for you?
Releasing more music and performing (if corona lets us)! I can’t wait to start gigging again, so that’s definitely on the cards! I’ve been working on getting more music ready to release very soon, so keep your ears peeled for that.
Check out Viia's music video to 'Falling' below.