In Conversation With Vera Blue

The opening track of ‘Mercurial,’ a sophomore album by Australian star Vera Blue, exquisitely introduces the singer’s narration of new realisations, existence, and acceptance. ‘Alright Now’ gives the first taste of the vast color palette of post-heartbreak lightness and understanding of life’s twists and turns. 

“Step forward, step back

I take every day as progress

I acknowledge react

And learn to trust the process”

The entirety of ‘Mercurial’ hails from a safe space where darkness and heartache don’t play a significant role and find Vera Blue at peace, pushing her exhilarating sound further than ever. The closing lyric from ‘Alright Now’ presents a new level of understanding and healing, “it’s all good everybody cries.”

‘Mercurial’ is defined as “indicating a sudden shift in focus and mood more about acceptance of life, twists, and turns.” Following up on Vera Blue’s 2017 record ‘Parennial,’ where she learned everything gets better with time, ‘Mercurial’ discovers and implements new truths of life and practices self-growth and self-compassion. 

With the focus track ‘Mermaid Avenue,’ Vera Blue takes us along her unfulfilled daydream of a life that could have been. Even though it is a heartbreak song, Vera Blue gest through the unfortunate realisation with lightness and beautiful arrangments. 

Celebrating the release of ‘Mercurial,’ Vera Blue chats to Noctis about the new project, the inspiration behind her stage name, and the ‘Rushing Back‘ collaboration with fellow Aussie and the global sensation Flume. 

Where are you at the moment, could you describe your surroundings? 

I am at home, currently watching Edward Scissorhands in the background and I can also hear my partner Billy smashing away in the studio on his electronic drum kit! I can hear the birds outside my window with the occasional roar of a plane going overhead.

Could you elaborate on how you first started making music?

I grew up surrounded by music. My family are big music lovers, especially my mum and her family. I played the violin from a young age and my sister and mum play piano and sing so I naturally fell into singing and harmonizing. At the age of 15, I got into songwriting, I learned guitar on Youtube and listened to loads of early Tay Swift, Angus and Julia Stone and then discovered artists like Joni Mitchell and Simon and Garfunkel which enhanced my love for folk music and songwriting.

Who were you early influences? 

I grew up listening to ABBA, the Corrs, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and even Shannon Noll. I loved all kinds of music because I did dancing, so I always found a way to dance to everything as a form of expression. We loved Riverdance as kids too. I eventually got into more pop music like Beyonce and Ne-Yo. When I started writing music it was Taylor Swift and my fav was Jojo! I’d practice singing her songs all the time and would try and sing exactly like her and hit every single note or adlib. After school I wrote and played a lot of folk music and then when the Vera Blue project was born I was getting more and more into electronic artists like FKA Twigs and Banks after seeing them at Laneway Festival. Alt J was also a big influence on the vera blue project sound and also Massive Attack.

What is the meaning behind your stage name Vera Blue? 

I wanted something new after creating music with a more electronic twist. So I just thought of my favourite things or childhood memories, my first perfume was Vera Wang princess, so I loved the name Vera, then the Blue came from the red hair, my mum used to get called blue or bluey. I loved that!

Your debut album ‘Perennial’ was focused around heartbreak and pain, how would you describe heartbreak to someone who luckily has evener experienced it?

It’s a real physical feeling. Your heart actually feels like it’s broken, like an ache in the chest. As painful as it is in the moment, it’s a powerful transformative time of healing and self-growth, it may not feel it at the time but every day it gets easier and you develop and thicker skin and start to realize what you deserve and learn your worth.

Could you share the beautiful backstory of your new single ‘Mermaid Avenue’? 

It’s sort of a heartbreak song, about a dream you had of a life with someone and it never happening. Mermaid Avenue is a street near where I live with beautiful houses and ocean views and I just loved the idea of having a song called mermaid avenue. It creates such dreamy visuals and I have experienced the feeling of hoping a relationship will last forever and be perfect, seeing it as a vision and then when the relationship ends, those dreams come crashing down.

What are your favourite spots in Sydney? 

I have many fav spots in Sydney, I love the eastern suburbs, I’ve lived here for most of my Sydney life since I moved at the age of 18. I have family here so it feels familiar. I love the views on the coastal walk from Coogee to Bondi and I live in Maroubra which has a real community. I also love the city, the music venues like the Enmore and the restaurants like Chinchin and Albertos. Waverly has my fav cafes like Bellagio and Ruby’s diner and Alexandria has an amazing spot called the ground of Alexandria, they create themed magical aesthetic decorations, there’s flowers and plants and colour everywhere. I recently visited their Alice In Wonderland themed installation and enjoyed food and drinks at one of the restaurants there called The Potting Shed.

In what other ways do you destress when you feel overwhelmed? What is your go-to self-care regime?

I love to go for long walks, or watch comedy on Netflix. Take a long bath, go to yoga or have a massage. I also find hanging out with my friends is super healing and energizing.

What is the prevailing theme of your upcoming second album ‘Mercurial’? 

This album is super colourful, it’s about everything that I’ve experienced and gone through since Perennial. New love, self-growth and acceptance, mental illness, healing and empowerment and the emotions that come with the unexpected twists and turns of life.

Healing is a lengthy, tough process, what would you say you helped the most to move forward and start healing? 

I think acceptance was super important, it takes a while to gain it but it’s super powerful. Self-compassion and knowing that what you’re going through is okay and that you are not alone.

How did you deal with your writer’s block? 

Writer’s block is challenging for most songwriters, I found that going out and experiencing life, listening to conversations, delving into mindfulness and being adventurous was really helpful. You find inspiration is such interesting ways, you just have to be open.

How was it being able to perform with Symphony Orchestras? 

It was beyond amazing! I still can’t believe I did that! It felt like a dream. Being surrounded by such talented and passionate creatives was extremely inspiring.

Do you remember how your hit song with Flume ‘Rushing Back’ came about? Who came to who first? 

Harley and I had performed together at Splendour in the Grass in 2016 and we formed a mutual admiration for each other’s music and sound. We had a session together in LA and Rushing Back was bare bones of Flume synths and beats. The melodies just came together by jamming and picking our favourite parts and piecing them together like a puzzle!

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Words: Karolina Kramplova