The pop star: VV Brown

On paper, 24-year-old VV Brown certainly has the makings of a star – beauty, a big voice and, crucially, the backing of a major record label. Add to that her penchant for retro-soul and success on a huge scale seems a foregone conclusion.

Yet Vanessa, as VV was once known, is no mere Winehouse-a-like. Where the past few years have heralded the rise of bee-hived girls singing Dusty torch songs, Brown takes the glamour and pizzazz of Sixties girl groups (check out the retro flat-top!) and imbues it with an indie-punk edge, a sound that she has artfully described as "musical mashed potatoes". And confounding the norm of soul singers backed by expensive writing and production teams, Brown can take credit for writing, producing and performing songs on her forthcoming debut album Travelling Like the Light.

One of six siblings born and raised in Northampton, Vanessa was weaned on a diet of Aretha Franklin, Ella Fitzgerald and Dizzy Gillespie. She studied piano from the age of five, sang in the church choir and turned down a place at the London School of Economics in order to sign her first record deal. She upped sticks and moved to LA in the process but was ill at ease with the R&B diva role the record company had carved out for her.

Two years later, after stints singing backing vocals for Madonna and the Pussycat Dolls, she returned to London to start over. She rented a flat, bought a one-stringed guitar from a second-hand shop and wrote "Crying Blood", a cheerful confection that blends the bluesy croon of La Winehouse with the barmy spirit of Bobby Pickett's novelty hit "Monster Mash".

The song is just one in a collection of deliriously upbeat, doo-wop numbers to be found on Travelling Like the Light. It is, VV says, the album she wanted to make all along. This is her second stab at success, and this time around she's taking no prisoners.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £50,000

£40000 - £50000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - West London - £...

Recruitment Genius: Recruitment & HR Administrator

£17000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Guru Careers: HR Manager / HR Business Partner

£55 - 65k (DOE) + Benefits: Guru Careers: A HR Manager / HR Business Partner i...

Recruitment Genius: Senior HR Assistant

£23000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Company's vision is to be t...

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
10 best statement lightbulbs

10 best statement lightbulbs

Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

Dustin Brown

Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test
Tour de France 2015: Twins Simon and Adam Yates have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Twins have a mountain to climb during Tour of duty

Yates brothers will target the steepest sections in bid to win a stage in France
John Palmer: 'Goldfinger' of British crime was murdered, say police

Murder of the Brink’s-MAT mastermind

'Goldfinger' of British crime's life ended in a blaze of bullets, say police
Forget little green men - aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert

Forget little green men

Leading evolutionary biologist says aliens will look like humans
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

An Algerian scientist struggles to adjust to her new life working in a Scottish kebab shop
Bodyworlds museum: Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy

Dying dream of Doctor Death

Dr Gunther von Hagens has battled legal threats, Parkinson's disease, and the threat of bankruptcy