a fiver to fame: vona vella | music
Leicester duo, Vona Vella, are true story-tellers with their saccharine lyrics and stripped-back acoustics. For the virgin-ears out there, they’ve described themselves as, 'simplistic', 'detailed' and 'lyrically poetic'. Whilst I am firm believer in the beauty of simplicity, I wouldn't render them as such. Rather, their feathery melodies make the perfect music for a Rainy Day...
The duo met at 17, at music college, and ‘spent a long time singing [and] doing loads of covers’. Despite never taking it seriously, their first song 'Sun’ garnered a lot success after the incredible producer, Morcheeba, fell in love with it and remixed it.
Vona Vella, an adeptly chosen name, was plucked from a flower-encyclopaedia book. Indeed, it was one of the books spotted behind Isobel’s zoom camera. With ‘Vona’ chosen first and after much playing around, 'Vella' was found. They’ve done nothing but blossom since then.
Much to my surprise, none of the songs have been directly written about each other. Isobel explained how inspiration has ranged from how a fictional character feels to real life situations, ‘...it’s definitely easier to write about characters... Sun (song) could have been about us, but not in a romantic sense. It was us thinking we wanted the city life but then quickly realising that the beach scene is better, and feeling thankful for it...’
I suppose the saying is true; the grass isn’t always greener on the other side.
After fanning over a particular sentimental moment in a popular American TV show, the creative process made complete sense.
‘The writing process is 50/50... Dan does a lot of the chord progressions... Fundamentally, it is pretty even. The majority of the songs are written together.'
I strongly recommend their song, Rainy days - this song was mainly written by Dan. Despite being defined by a stripped back, bare piano, the song pours raw emotion. ‘He has a piano at his mum‘s work... and wrote it in a 30 minute lunch break.’
When asked about future collaborations Isobel seemed hesitant, ‘we’ve got so many ideas, we’re already inspired... I guess, once we’re creatively drained’.
‘Right now, it’s still early… we need to find our sound, before adding someone else or we'll just get lost’.
If anything, COVID worked in their favour. Even though events and gigs were cancelled, ‘this wouldn't have happened’, says Isobel. Lockdown birthed ‘Sun’. They then went on to open for The Libertines and held a BBC session. After Deen Jackson was sent a sample, the BBC Music were hooked.
'We’ve had a lot of radio play and a couple of interviews… which is how the label eventually found us. It shows that it is really worth doing something... especially as it was the initial instagram ad for a £5, that gabbed Morcheeba’s attention.'
Be sure to stay tuned - they've just finished up touring with The Libertines and have many more events lined up. Go buy your tickets for Y NOT Festival and see Vona Vela perform live, you will not regret it!
At the end of the interview, Isobel made a valid point.
'Everyone is still scared to go out... Maybe they’d risk it for their favourite, but they’re less likely to risk it seeing someone new… One of the last thing to come back was music, and the entertainment industry.'
Be sure your local and your favourite up-coming artists. There is no room for gatekeeping in 2022!
humble he - 'I would pay to steal his songs' (Isobel, 2022)