When listening to Laura Vane’s music you instinctively tap your feet – it’s that type of music. It’s lively and upbeat, a pleasant retro treat for the ears. It has jazz and soul sizzling from the core, with a funky, pop feel that keeps it current. With a similar sound to artists such as Amy Winehouse, Duffy and Caro Emerald, but with a distinctive tone that gives her songs a welcome uniqueness, Laura is a musical treat. She also comes across as a genuinely friendly and outgoing personality, a refreshingly likeable quality. She was more than happy to be interviewed and answer my questions about her inspirations, her influences and her career highlights, of which there have been a fair few!
Q. How did you get into music?
Laura: It didn’t seem like a premeditated move into the world of music for me. I grew up in a musical family. Both my parents performed in a very busy band several nights a week and I remember vividly being bundled into a our campervan with both my brothers and getting on the road to gigs whilst watching my mum get ready. So being around music, instruments, equipment and musicians was very much ‘the norm. For me to find my feet (or rather, my voice) in music came very naturally and instinctively. Watching my Mother sing was a huge inspiration for me and all the encouragement I needed.
Q. What style would you say best describes your sound?
Laura: Essentially I am a soul singer. I like to keep it simple and expressive. Initially I took masses of inspiration from a lot of black artists/music and Jazz bands through my teenage years and since then the musical pool I like to dip my toe into has broadened, but I always return to Soul as my home, my safe place. However, I have to satisfy my wandering hand, which wants to write in other genres and so quite often I do try to subtly blend my voice with the styles I’m writing, whether it be Jazz, Pop, Dubstep or Dance etc.
Q. Tell us about the Vipertones…
Laura: Ah, the Dutchies! The Vipertones are a Dutch 8-piece band based in Holland plus me, from Brighton. We met on Myspace in 2008 and soon after Ton, the bassist arranged a show for us together in Dordrecht, Holland. During that trip we wrote and recorded 2 songs and made the decision to write a whole album together. Now we have a bunch of singles, EP’s and 2 albums released on Unique Records. We are currently writing our 3rd album which we’re all very excited about. It’s a new direction again, but we’re squeezing our roots a little more than before. The band is astonishing. I feel blessed to be performing with such talented sparkling professionals. Every gig carries a fantastic charge and we always have a great connection with the crowds. Now, 4 years since we met, we’re very happy with the festivals we’ve played and the countries we’ve performed in. We’ve had some amazing support from the BBC in the UK, and other major radio and television shows all over Europe. We intend to keep on keeping on!
Q. What do you draw inspiration from when song-writing?
Laura: Largely, I get inspired by real people and emotions. Tricky situations and how people live through the experiences they have always makes me want to write. I find the subjects/sentiments that I can comfortably write about varies hugely depending on what kind of music I am writing for. I would be lying if I said I didn’t like to draw from life’s struggles, but I also strive to write about the things that matter outside of typical love or love-loss scenarios. There is a lot to say, it’s finding the right music to carry the message.
Q. What has been your favourite performance of your career so far?
Laura: Ooo that’s a tough one! We recently had all the Vipertones over to the UK for 2 exclusive gigs in London and Brighton. Many friends and family members who have never had the chance to see us before, came along to Brighton and that night was very special for me particularly. But then I have to say I felt a massive sense of achievement performing on Top of the Pops with Gnarls Barkley and playing Glastonbury with the Part Time Heroes and Cagedbaby. I love to perform, it’s absolutely my passion.
Q. What was it like being a backing singing for Gnarls Barkley?
Laura: Crazy. Ha. No, seriously, that was the song…and the experience. Having been a kid of the 80’s, growing up watching Top of the Pops every week and getting excited about who you would see performing their latest hit, I was blown away by the opportunity to appear on the show, and at the number 1 spot too! Something I will never forget is how effortless singing seems for Cee Lo Green. He is unbelievably good, with a brilliant unique tone.
Q. Youʼve played at many festivals, what was the best one?
Laura: I think one of the best I’ve played has to be WOMAD in Gran Canaria with the Vipertones, it’s a brilliant festival. We opened the weekend on the main stage to an enormous enthusiastic crowd. The temperature was perfect and the vibe was electric! I also watched a few other cool bands and gave a vocal workshop to around 700 individuals on an open air stage. Playing Glastonbury, Wireless and other big Festivals all over the world make a special mark in my career history so far, but I was mostly performing in a backing vocal role for The Streets or other dance acts. Nothing really beats being able to stand up as a front woman, for a crowd and sing your own words, melodies and deliver personal messages with a fabulous band behind you every step of the way. I get a real kick out of it!
Q. What does the rest of 2012 have in store for you?
Laura: I have a few things cooking right now; Collaborations with Diesler (dance), Lee Baker (pop soul) and a single due for release in October with The Prototypes (drum and bass). There are a few other projects I’ve been writing for in the UK, Holland (unrelated to the Vipertones) and Morocco. But aside from that, I’m now very focused on writing the 3rd Laura Vane and The Vipertones album, which I’m very excited about. I have a handful of performances left this year as I will be turning my attention to writing but I will be updating my website with all details of gigs for next year as soon as they are confirmed. It’s time to create now.