Catch up with singer-songwriter Vanda, listen to her latest single "Feet First", and look for the music video for "Young For Life" to be released soon.
What first got you interested in music and songwriting?
Vanda: Well, my dad owns a recording studio in Chicago - he's a musician himself - so he taught me how to play guitar when I was 13, so I started writing with him.
Do you remember the first song you wrote with him that you were happy with?
Yeah, yeah. I actually wrote a song about veterans when I was 13. It was called "Broken Soldier" and that's one of the first ones that I was like, 'oh, this is kind of good,' and we recorded it and stuff [laughs].
Which musicians have you been influenced by?
Right now, I'm really into Rihanna. There's this up and coming singer, her name's Jess Glynn, she kind of really super inspired me with my writing path at the moment, so I'm listening to a lot of her. St. Vincent, I really like St. Vincent. I'm in the middle of writing a few songs with my producer in San Francisco, so we've just been really vibing in on them [laughs].
How would you describe your sound?
I would say it's very much like a pop/soul/indie type of sound. When I was younger, I was a little bit into country and, in the past year or so, I really adopted this new sound after meeting with my new producer, Brad, and so we added a little electronic influences into it, but still keeping soul and vocals in there.
What were your inspirations behind your single "Feet First"?
I co-wrote that one with Brad and we really wanted to write something very lighthearted and easy - nothing too serious - 'cause I tend to write a lot about love. Just, like, a lot. We wanted to write something carefree and fun so we wrote the hook and we were like, this is exactly that, just carefree, fun, and energetic. I was really happy with how it turned out actually, because we weren't looking for the song to be as catchy as we think it is now, so it was cool how it came across.
Do you have plans to release an EP and how will that compare to your last album?
Yeah, definitely. First, I'm releasing a music video in two weeks which I'm really excited about; it's my first music video. Then, after that, I plan to release three more songs to just follow up with "Young For Life" and "Feet First". It's a lot more mature sounding and you can tell they're all from the same EP. My first EP, I worked with a few different producers so you could tell that in the songs, they weren't really a unit. So, this time, I'm definitely focused on keeping that sound, the electronic soul vibe.
Can you tell us anything about your upcoming music video for "Young For Life"?
It's a storyline. You're going to be following two main characters in their journey from when they meet to just their whole experience with falling in love and then I'm narrating that story. You're going to see a lot of different clips. We actually shot it last weekend and I got the first rough cut of it a few days ago and I'm just blown away, so I'm really excited about that.
Do you have a song off this new EP you're most excited to share?
There's this song that I wrote called "Rise Up" and it's about mental health awareness that I would say I'm most passionate singing. It's kind of a modern type of ballad. It's just really strong and I think it has a really clear message, so I would say that would probably be my favorite. When I'm playing out, I already know that's going to be a song I'm going to be excited to sing.
In one sentence, how would you sum up the upcoming album?
It's very strong and romantic and powerful with fun vocals and fun choruses.
What do you hope listeners are able to take away from your music?
I like to tell stories in my songs. Like I said, I write a lot about love, so I hope that people can take away from that in their own experiences. And also, with the mental health awareness, I'm writing another song about that, as well, because I'm passionate about it, so I just hope that they can hear it and find some sort of inspiration from it. That's the hope.
Is there anything you want to add?
Brad Dollar, my producer, has been fabulous to work with and I'm really excited about that. The music video, if people can keep an eye on that, I really think it's going to be really cool.