Words by Keane Fletcher
Happy Friday everyone! We made it to the end of another week. And for those of you reading from Sydney and Melbourne, that means the end of another week of lockdown. Well done! You can give yourself an extra pat on the back if you managed to avoid panic-bleaching your hair or ruining another batch of sourdough. All jokes aside folks, lockdowns are hard. I'm sure there have been plenty of moments where that apartment/house/hotel room you're currently holed up in has seemed more like a prison than a home, and it's this specific brand of post-2020 anxiety that Perth-based soul-singer Veronika is tapping into with her debut single 'These 4 Walls'.
I named it a lockdown anthem...Sometimes we get isolated in environments we didn’t choose. Which was amplified during lockdown. We tolerate toxic behaviours in the name of family or love; sometimes we don’t get a choice.
Sparsely arranged, and featuring Veronika's honey-smoked vocals front-and-centre 'These 4 Walls' is a testament to WA's thriving music scene, something Veronika credits as one of the contributing factors to her drive and musical ambition:
The muso community in Perth [inspires me]. There are so many incredible artists who are on a serious grind that I’m so proud of...they keep me inspired to take my time and work on my art.
With such a thoughtful and considered debut we can only hope that the Eastern states get a chance to see her perform when the borders open up again. But in the meantime, go stream 'These 4 Walls' on whatever platform is currently getting you through these long days and even longer nights. I mean, you need something to listen to while you're giving that sourdough another go, right?
We recently sat down with Veronika to talk all things music, inspo, and what being a Perth-based artist means to her. Check it out below!
1- How did you get started in music?
I don’t really remember the exact time it started, but music has always been a necessity to me. It’s been my strongest coping mechanism and I guess seeing people's positive responses to my little creations made me continue to learn and grow in music. I will say, music was first encouraged by singing in the church and it just went up from there.
2- How would you describe your sound? What are your musical influences?
I feel like my sound has very RnB-soul vibes. Like old school jazz bars. Depending on whether it’s acoustic or not of corse. My musical influences are Jennifer Hudson, Adele, Bob Marley, Alicia Keys, Lauren Hill, Sia, Jacob Banks, John Legend, Ed Sheeran and literally so many more!!
3- How does the creative process usually work for you? How do you go about writing and developing a song?
My creative process is usually a freestyle-type process. I have someone playing a melody on an instrument; or I’m hearing a beat and I kinda just go with it and see what comes out. That’s how my recently released track 'These 4 Walls' was made. I was vibing to the backing track. I was going through a lot at the time; I closed my eyes, escaped reality for a little while and just entered my musical mind and awaited what it created. Voice recorded on my phone of course.
4- Can you tell us a bit about your latest release ’These 4 Walls’? How did the idea come about?
'These 4 Walls' was actually a very vulnerable track for me. As much as I enjoy making commercial music, I like to pay homage to the original reason music became my life - because it helped me heal and make sense of my environments and realities. I named it a lockdown anthem because people were being forced to live in their homes but we don’t realise that it may be somebody else’s prison. There are still high numbers of statistics for child, domestic and sexual abuse cases in households. Not to mention those who are stuck with domestic violence. Which also sky rocketed during covid. Without exposing my life too much I think this will explain how my idea came about...
Sometimes we get isolated in environments we didn’t choose. Which was amplified during lockdown. We tolerate toxic behaviours in the name of family or love; sometimes we don’t get a choice.
I think it’s also important to remember that sometimes we are our own 4 Walls. We trap ourselves in self hate and isolate ourselves not only from people but also from ourselves. We stop being 100% of ourselves and embrace the crazy that is you in fear of criticism and rejection. We allow past traumas to hold us back from actually living, loving, being our truest self and engaging with the people around us.
So for those who suffer in silence I hope my lockdown anthem helps you release what you’ve kept so deep down for so long. I hope you learn to express yourself without the fear of any repercussions and judgment (as long as it’s not hurting anyone) and I hope you find the courage to change your reality that is depleting you even if it is only temporarily. You are not responsible for someone else's lack of self awareness. 'These 4 Walls' was my anthem to remind myself and others that we need to be okay first before we can help someone else be okay.
5- What inspires you at the moment?
The muso community in Perth. There are so many incredible artists who are on a serious grind that I’m so proud of, and they keep me inspired to take my time and work on my art. I know where I am at and I am in no rush to make it big. I wanna keep growing and expanding and experimenting with my musical boundaries until I find my own sound!
6- How do your other interests feed into your music? In what ways do you think music can be a useful tool for helping people heal and connect?
I'm extremely interested in Human Psychology. It's what I am majoring in. I know for a fact music holds so much power in mood alteration. Nothing satisfies my soul more than when a song is speaking my pain or when a vocal (like Sia and Jennifer Hudson's) strains itself in the most cleanest way possible. I want to one day be able to have that vocal strength and ability to cry and scream in a song like SIA without it sounding like a dying cat. I remember when things were getting chaotic in my life and I was in the studio recording 'These 4 Walls', If I started getting emotional or cry I would have to stop because it wasnt something my vocals could carry in a way that people would ever possibly want to hear. But Sia especially has a way of doing it which I hope to learn.
Music, in my beliefs, has never died or lost it's importance because its one of the only things that help people reflect, express, relate and release - which is part of healing. I remember having the worst break up with a best friend and 'If The World Was Ending' and 'Girls Like Us' was on repeat and I could never sing them without falling apart. It just spoke to my pain and it helped me heal. AND THERE'S NOTHING WRONG WITH THAT.
7- Being a Perth based artist means you’ve probably been spared some of the more extreme lockdowns we’ve experienced in other parts of the country. That being said, how has the pandemic affected you and your creativity? What does it mean to be able to keep gigging during these troubled times?
Lockdown definitely was a roadblock for musicians for the longest time when it comes to making money from it. I lost one of the highest paid gigs I ever got offered and as much as that sucked, there is not much to complain about in comparison to other countries. I am grateful that I am able to get gigs again and it has been great getting back to the live music life because every penny helps when you're a musician. I think people really underestimate the amount of funds and resources needed to release, perform and create music. I do feel like we are blessed to have the resources to fight this pandemic and that there are organisations out there that are making an effort to help. My heart goes out to the countries out there who have people dropping to the ground and dying because they couldn't make it into the hospital. Don't get me wrong, I really do feel for those in the Eastern States suffering with the lockdown rules too, especially those who are in the Arts, but I do also feel like we need to keep looking at the positives and realise that we don't have it as bad as other countries right now and that it is a good time to count the blessings we do have like the time to create, learn, progress and prepare in our art forms for when things do open back up.
8- What's next for you?
What’s next for me is to keep hustling for the money to fund my next few releases that I’m very excited about! I want to keep collaborating with other artists and art forms and experimenting with tracks until I’m certain of my sound. I’ve got a gig coming up on the 23rd at The Bird and two tracks that are set to release early next year so hopefully everything goes to plan.
Thanks for stopping by Hipland!