Get to Know VITA [Interview]

Ian Hansen

If you want to listen to an artist that is forward-thinking, versatile, can do it all, pushes boundaries, and has astounding vocals, VITA fits the mold perfectly for what you’d be looking for. Her sound is impossible to categorize, but it is a sonic treat. She sticks true to herself and what she believes in and is going to make an impact beyond music. Get to know more about VITA below:

You started off the year with a bang with your first EP, LIBRE. What does that project mean to you and what was your journey to get here?

It’s been a long time coming. I moved to L.A. when I was 18. I started properly making music then. I’m from Australia, and over there I didn’t know anything about the industry at all. I thought Beyoncé wrote all of her songs. I was completely in the dark. I moved to the states and realized being a singer is not enough. You have to be a songwriter as well. Over those four or five years before we started on LIBRE, I had hundreds of songs we made, but none of it felt like me. When everything shut down in 2020, I essentially went through a dark spot in my life. I think every person in their 20s goes through a stage where they start to really realize that they need to figure out who they are. I think the beginning of LIBRE and the beginning of finding my own personal liberation came from that tidal wave of emotion. I stripped everything down and did a case study on personal freedom. I went through the phases of what society expects from me, what do my parents expect, my friends, and what do I expect from myself? The only thing that matters is what I expect from myself. I separated from the external expectations, and I started looking inward on what I wanted to be. When we started the project, it was the first step in people hearing who I am now and me stepping into my power. 

What was the creative process of the project?

The first song we made off of the project was “BADBADBAD.” My producer Naz. put on the beat. I hadn’t experimented with the deeper and raspier and angrier tones of my voice because it didn’t identify with who I was before. Going through my breakup, I went to the studio this one day, and I was so angry. I was finally letting myself feel a bunch of things that I hadn’t allowed myself to feel in the past. What you hear now on the track was basically the first take we did. It was like going to the top of a mountain and yelling as loud as you can. It was super therapeutic. It was a huge release. I was jumping around so much in the booth that I came out drenched in sweat. My producer and I both looked at each other and I said, “that is it.” Honestly, from that moment, everything we made after that was indicative of the kind of release I need to feel. Naz., who is a genius producer, who executive produced the entire project really experimented. I told him after the first track that we need to go further. I want to define what the sound is specific to me. We made this all through the 2020 lockdown. That was our process.

Going on the self-expression you talked about. I feel like when artists are honest to themselves, it resonates with people more. How do fans resonate with your music?

It is funny because I have had people reach out to be. That is kind of the craziest part because when you make something for yourself, and it resonates with other people, I don’t know. I’m such a soft soul so whenever something I do touches someone else, it touches me deeply. I even had someone who was following me on TikTok before I was releasing music, show up to my release party. She let me know what I was doing was incredible and that she was proud of me, but she didn’t even know me. It felt really good because that is essentially a stranger. I’ve had a couple other people reach out. 

Going on the sound of the project, take me through how you developed the production aspect?

The whole essence of the project is extremely bass and drum oriented. We always started with the bass because it has so much movement to it. The key things we wanted to bring together was a playlist I made for him. It was a mix of N.E.R.D., the ANTI album by Rihanna, Rage Against the Machine, and The White Stripes. I wanted to bring together the aspects of what it was like to grow up in Australia. I wanted to marry that with the R&B tones I learned from the states. I think the sound is a mesh of hardcore punk music and R&B. That was the goal we were going for. We wanted the bass to be the driver. That’s the way we work. It was really important for us melodically to have the bassline moving and having it gritty. 

Who inspired you growing up while finding your sound?

My mom is my biggest inspiration. She is a jazz singer, and she had a popular jazz band. She also did a little bit of screamo. She was the number one person that really showed me what it is to have real juxtaposition in, not only the art, but who you are as a person. She was very gentle but extremely strong. That woman is an animal. She is so strong, but she is also so sweet, empathetic, and kind. She’s got a huge voice. She was also a Samba dancer. When I got older, I was in a dance company, and through that, I found a lot of music. Rihanna was the first CD I ever got. Her and Beyoncé were the only R&B people that made it to Australian radio. When I heard them for the first time, I thought it was different, and I liked it. I would do dances to their stuff, and I think I’ve watched every single live performance Beyoncé has ever done. Those are my big inspirations. I also feel like the Australian punk and rock scene was something I really identified with. I’ve always rejected anything people would tell me I’m supposed to like. I rejected the surf rock at first, but as I’ve gotten older, it has been a huge defining factor of the sound in my music.

When did you know it was time to take this music thing seriously? What moment did you know you could do it for real?

Honestly, when I came out of the womb. I was always so set on being a performer. Being a singer wasn’t like 100 percent. I always knew 100 percent without a doubt that I would be a performer. The real moment was when we finished this project, and I listened to it in its entirety, I broke down in tears. I always knew I could do this, but now that I’ve actually done it, there is no limit to where we can take this. Now I know how far I can take it.

So what is next? What do you have in the works? What goals do you have?

So much. For me, my goal has been to be a legacy artist and a generational artist. I have no intention of stopping here or being stagnant in my sound. People won’t ever know what to expect from me sonically because I’ll always be evolving. The stuff I’m making now is even more insane which feels crazy to say. We are bringing in crazy musicians. We have been working with monte booker who is a good friend of ours. He has been coming in to help us with the next project. 

When it’s all said and done, what do you want your legacy to be as an artist and a human?

My dad is an environmentalist. When I was younger, he asked me what I wanted to be. I always said I wanted to be famous. He asked what I wanted after I was famous because fame isn’t an end goal. There has to be something else that you want. I carried that with me. The number one thing is I want to be an advocate for all disenfranchised people. That’s been my main goal forever. I also want to give back to the Australian community. There is just rampant racism that still exists in my country that needs attention. I want to stand up for what I believe in and fight for others as much as I fight for myself. Freedom doesn’t exist until we are all free. 

What activities do you do outside of music?

I actually love to go on walks. I love to paint. I love to travel and see the world. I think the one thing I love to do is spend time with the people I love. Music takes a lot of time, and the time I do have to myself, I love to spend it talking to people I love.

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