Introducing… Violetness

Our Introducing... series focuses on artists who we think are worth shouting about. Here we have Vanessa Upson, AKA Violetness, a tribal pop sensation with Peruvian blood and gothic panache.

Posted on Jun 17th, 2013 in Features and Interviews, Violetness, LebensStrasse / By Larry Day
Introducing… Violetness Here at Bearded we aim to shed light on acts who don't necessarily have giant labels or muscley budgets waving banners behind them. This Introducing series will focus on artists who we think are great, regardless of how much hype surrounds them or where their origin story lays.

Name: Violetness
Location: Chicago, USA
Genre: Noir-pop/gothtronica
Similar Artists: Björk, Grimes
Contact: Facebook, Twitter
Events: New music video for 'The Mighty Moss', here

Channelling the weird-pop of Björk, the avante-garde electronica of early Grimes and the glimmering enormity of Charlotte Church's revival, Chicagoan songstress Violetness delivers a heady concoction. It's intense, menacing and sinister, but at the same time, alluring. Her siren songs are the fruit of classical training and a penchant for flickering mystic flames; everything has a tribal lacquer, and though her sounds are majorly synth-based, it still feels organic and corporeal.

Back in February, she released her Last Night In My Dreams, I Was Talking To You EP. It's a barrage of rampaging pop-noir, replete with dreamy soprano vox – there's an air of Zola Jesus or Niki & The Dove – and towering bouts of mammoth hooks. The beats are epic, bone-shaking thwacks of snare, kick drum to make your heart quake and crashing cymbals like crashing waves – everything, though relatively inconsequential on its own, joins to create a brand of sound that's just plain epic.

'The Mighty Moss' burbles and shimmers like a rain-splattered ocean. Gradually creeping up into the mix, drums batter and whirring ghoulish keys fizz; Violetness' maudlin tones are backed by a weeping choir. It's all the subtle parts of Florence + The Machine, with none of the self-righteous pomp. 'Into The Water' is a deathly urban lament. Jostling car keys rattle in the background, and there's an echoing voice permeating strains of mechanical drums and enormous godlike electronics.

Speaking about her purplish moniker, Violetness recalls its invention to DO312: “My sister and I found these photographs in the garage of my grandmother taken in the mid 1900s. Her name was Violet and she was a musician herself.... I have always felt this connection with her, this presence. The name Violetness is homage to her...” The guise she performs under carries an ancient, ancestral streak – something that defies time and revels in timeless things like love and death.

Violetness fills a gap in the world of music. Before Florence sold her soul and Björk got too strange, they made intelligent, deific gloom-pop – with both of those notably absent, there's a gap to be filled. Others who have sought the role aren't quite the perfect fit – Zola is more gothic, more operatic, Niki is too far towards pop. Vanessa Upson has got the formula perfected. She's ready to ascend to the throne and be crowned Queen of the genre.