In the age of music streaming across Spotify and Apple Music, independent artists generally don't release albums any more. So why is Ginny Vee bucking that trend and risking a new album?
If you are a monster artist like Taylor Swift, Ariana Grande, Katy Perry or Dua Lipa then your fans will expect you to put in the time, effort and money, and every so often release a body of work as an album. But as an independent artist that trend has been very different in the last few years.
One of the biggest challenges today for any emerging artist is the "streaming culture" which means you have less than 10 seconds to capture your listener or they click and move on. Most music listeners just expect to be fed music from playlists rather than go searching for something meaningful.
Trying to cut through the noise with thousands of new songs released every Friday is one of the most challenging things for a new artist. And anyone looking at the top playlist of Spotify or Apple see quite clearly that they are dominated by less than one hundred big names. The same names, the familiar names, names that are signed to the major labels.
With low financial returns from streaming, and the click and move culture, the currency has been to release a lot of singles one after another and hope that something sticks. The strategy is to find something that goes viral, triggers the algorithms and makes it onto a bigger playlist. And that is driving down quality, driving up the number of single releases and making more and more noise. It's a viscous circle for independent artists.
The days when crafting a body of work that is centred around a theme has become more and more rare. The idea of an independent artist locking themselves away in the studio for up to two years to work on something meaningful, sculpted and uniform has all but vanished from music for the independent artists. Bedroom driven EDM has for the last few years been the major currency, where a producer gets and vocalist to sing over their pumping hit tune.
In 2018 Ginny Vee, an emerging artist originally from Italy was part of that practice. She released a string of dance pop tracks by top level producers, and had great success. But the process left her empty.
"Music had just become flat vocals and dance tracks," Ginny says. "The element of art of the vocalist had diminished and it had become a process of pumping out sequential tracks to see what sticks. That's just not music for me. I was frustrated."
Ginny, like many artists had become bored with the bland process associated with this trend. Instead, Ginny who had trained originally as a classical singer, yearned for something more substantial. She wanted to get back to the magic of working in the studio.
"When I was younger, searching out music was an adventure," says Ginny's manager Steve Bell. "You searched out an artist, really dug deep into their music and culture. When you bought and album you you played it to death because it felt special. You felt connected to the music and the artist. I think today that much of that has been lost. And it is a real shame for the industry but more so for young listeners."
The team at Ginny Vee Music, led by Ginny decided to go against the grain and work on an "old style" album.
"For me it is not about a one hit wonder and streams. I'm an artist and I need to be really proud of what I put out," says Ginny. "My life has been about having a soundtrack that followed me as I grew up. I really wanted to make something that could be a soundtrack for other people's lives. Songs that mean something to them."
Investing in a studio album is not cheap, and today really reserved for the major labels. It's high risk, because if no one likes the sound that permeates the album, then the entire investment is gone. And that is where the team at Ginny Vee Music is a little at odds with the industry.
"We don't care about the return," says Steve. "Sometimes you have to put art above money. That is difficult for an independent as it costs a lot of money to make a decent studio album. But that is what we have done. And we know that is rare in today's music industry."
Ginny and her team of small unknown writers have written all of the tracks a critical part of the process of returning to what matters. In another unusual move they have moved away from plug-in instruments. Instead they worked with Roberto Cola, of il Piano B studios in Rome, Italy. This gave them the chance to get back to using an array of original 80's and 90's synths which he is the proud owner of. Then at Green Hills studio, under the skilled ears of Simone Asilo, the track has been mixed using an array of classic reverbs and compressors that were once used in the 80's and 90's.
The team hopes that this will give a richness and rawness that is missing from a lot of the current hyper produced singles that hit the streaming stores. They aim for it to have a classic sound.
"I'm a singer and song writer," says Ginny. "I want deep melodies, rich vocals with less autotune and effects. I really want to get back to the earlier sounds of people like Madonna. I want to get people back to that feeling of richness in the music. Have I achieved that? Maybe... but time will tell."
For the team, the album is not about the final result, it is all about the process. Crafting artist written songs, using original instruments and older techniques to develop a story that creates a cohesive pop album. The songs have been worked and reworked multiple times until the album "We Don't Know Yet" feels modern, but oddly like it belongs in the 80's or 90's.
It may seem like a big risk for an independent artist and her team, but as they explain "It's not." Why? because they care more about the music than any return on investment, and that is utterly refreshing in the modern era of streaming, one hit wonders and click and move on.
The album will be released later this year and the team hopes that above all it inspires other music artists to get back to what counts in the music industry. The music.
Press release distributed by Pressat on behalf of Ginny Vee, on Sunday 16 February, 2020. For more information subscribe and follow https://pressat.co.uk/