When it’s hot out you have to stay cool, and busy #girlbosses (like you!) can’t stop their plans just because it’s 90 degrees outside. Flouncy sundresses, crop tops, and sky-high wedges are a few of our favorites to rock during the summer. We also adore cooler hues like icy blues, whites, and pastry-colored pinks to metaphorically stay chill. So, whether it’s with a margarita, a popsicle, or some frosty platinum hair, there are more ways than one to beat the heat.
Top- Brandy Melville, jeans/earrings- Forever 21, shoes- Nordstrom Rack,
Its that time of the month again! The #vvjuneplaylist is out and we are so stoked on all these artists and sounds. Check it out below!
Earlier this week, I got to sit down and skype in with stellar music duo, EXES. We got to talking about their music, how they met, their creative process, struggles, hurdles overcome and more.
EXES is a group out of los angeles, cooking up unique tunes that are lovely and authentic. Combining the epic creative producing talent Mike Derenzo and singing, song writing one of a kind girl boss Allie Mcdonald, this group is on the rise and as far as I can tell, completely unstoppable. As you may recall, we recently did a *cough cough* raving.. single review for their newest song “twentythousand.” Currently, twentythousand sits at 400,000 plays *and counting* on spotify. We wanted to get a more in depth look at where it all started, and get to know this talent a little better.
About five years ago, the duo met in college as communication majors and began making music after meeting through a mutual friend. both had a desire to share emotions and stories through a creative medium that would cater to both their tastes. They started mixing and writing and producing, and well, this hybrid of sheer talent was born.
But why the name EXES? According to Allie, finding a name for the project is one of the hardest parts. After a while of making music, the two realized they wrote so much about “exes”. And not just in the romantic sense, but exes of all sorts. Things that once were that are no more-and so, the name EXES was born; an honest reflection of what they do. I could not help but swoon a little over the eloquence of it all and how poetic it really is.
How about the creative process? I personally love hearing about the creative process artists use to make content. Mike thinks about the song as a specific space to be filled. He thinks about how the song would feel, what colors and textures the song would have, etc. Its a true process for creating intense art, and to EXES, that is what they want to do. Allie says that sometimes, melodies come to her and the lyrics come after. But… sometimes, the lyrics come first and they work together to find the musical language. First and foremost, the most important thing about making music is the legitimateness. Everything they write is based on something real; its happened, they have felt it, its been experienced. To EXES, there is no sense in making music that isn’t authentic and at v+v, that is something we deeply admire.
Today, EXES is living in LA maneuvering around the industry. Its not easy to make it, and many obstacles are often put in front of artists. But, nothing is getting EXES down. They take matters into their own hands, and are extremely excited about making music. Today, they say, one of the best things about the industry is the ability for people to pick what they like. The power of popularity resides with the people who listen to music more than those that play it. How cool is that?
And…for all those looking to get into this industry, EXES has offered some amazing advice. Practice. As mike says, “when you think you’ve practiced enough, practice more.” According to EXES, there is always going to be someone out there willing to practice more than you, so if you really want to make it, practice practice practice. Surround yourself with creative people and work hard. That is when you will optimize success.
The second takeaway from my conversation with EXES is to be thoughtful with your actions. Think about what you want to do before you just do it. The industry often provides many tempting, but possibly dangerous or risky avenues that if not thought through properly, could lead an artist to many many issues. EXES advice? Think first. And lastly, be proud of what you make, and be proud of who you are. For Allie, she says as a women, dealing with people who are more interested in commenting on your physical appearance rather than your talent can be common. But allie says, “I grew thick skin. I did the youtube thing for a while when I was 16, and i dealt with some nasty comments.” It could be very discouraging, but she knows her worth and knows her talent. She proudly says, “I’M AWESOME!” which is the utter truth.
It was an absolute pleasure sitting down with these two, and I am so excited to see where they go from here. stay tuned to their pages below, and stay on the lookout for big things they do.
My recent whirlwind trip to California sadly started on Friday and came to an end on Sunday. It just began to touch at the surface of quenching my travel bug, but despite the short period of time I was inspired nevertheless. I adore that California has a visual aesthetic. To me, Cali exudes bleached, washed-out pastels with splashes of color here and there. With a camera in hand I captured some of the art, music, and style inspiration that California is famous for.
There’s no problem finding an Insta-worthy wall in California. Bubble gum pink shades, music tribute poster-plastered walls, and walls teeming with succulents and flowers all make for breathtaking photos. Here are some rad pastel pieces to incorporate into your wardrobe curated from these photos: shirt, shoes, sunglasses.
The sea itself is also an enchanting place for inspiration. The dreamy blues of the waves mixed with the bright pastels of the sunsets are easy to incorporate into your closet. Swimsuits, flowy blouses, and rompers are all fun ways to rock these hues.
I also can’t pass up the sartorial inspiration I pull from the plants, succulents, and flora scattered across the state. Plant prints, florals, and tropical styles are all so fun to rock, especially during the summer. Not only are the prints trendy, but the plants themselves are too. A succulent garden is arguably the trendiest thing for social media pics right now.
I have been a big fan of Phoebe Ryan for some time now. With many chart toppers on hype machine, an amazing collaboration with one of my faves Jaymes Young and a new single, “Boyz n Poizn” that is poppy and smooth, Ryan is an absolute standout in the industry.
What I love about Ryan is she has this lovely combination of innocent sound, and developed, direct and mature lyrics. All of her songs are pleasing to the ear and have catchy, foot-tapping beats that stay in your head all day long (not the least bit mad about it!) with a sister sound to Melanie Martinez, this playful, but seductive music is absolutely intoxicating, and a style that is completely unique and gaining more and more recognition.Phoebe Ryan’s breathy-pop sound in ‘Boyz n Poizn’ is incredible. this little baby was debuted on soundcloud on may 18th and totally departs from the typical pop-vibe by adding in more sensual, badass and relatable lyrics. “Between the bars, back seats of cars finding god and riding the wave…”. Too good. She also kills the badass girl game with edgy, f*** you lyrics like “every night it’s boys and poison, all I do is enjoy ’em, destroy ’em, until I feel what I wanna feel, what I wanna feel.” This is the ultimate badass girl anthem. I am very impressed with this collaboration between Ryan and Mike Del Rio of POWERS. I truly believe that Rio tied this package up perfectly.
Plus she is #hairgoals. enough said.Check out Phoebe Ryan on social media below, and spin her stuff. She’s heading out on tour in july, so check dates and catch her if she’s swinging through your area. She’s killer!
We’re all about empowering others at V + V and when we find a creative whose style, self, or music inspires us we want to share! As a lover of all things neutral, I stumbled across Emily Luciano’s instagram page and was not only obsessed, but inspired. She pulls of pastels like no other, runs a style blog, and happens to have sell a line of fabulous wool hats. (Talk about goals!)
One of my favorite things about emily’s style is how she makes timeless trends, like pastels and neutrals, look fresh. Whether it’s a stylish coat, a beautiful hat, or a classy pair of shoes, she’s mastered the ability of personalization.
Her creativity is also inspiring, especially when it comes to photos. The items she uses and the way she frames her photos excels at complementing her outfits. Her instagram and blog are one of the chicest mood boards we’ve seen. Not to mention her rose gold and white color theme is phenomenal.
We also love her #girlboss attitude. She exudes confidence, and also happens to be a jet setter who gives us major travel lust. I adore that she runs her own business on top of all she does, proving that balance and success is possible in a busy life. I hope you enjoy her content and social media just as much as we do!
Here are some sweet accessories and pieces for your wardrobe that we picked, inspired by emily!
There is nothing we love more than an artist who is unapologetically herself, bold and creatively endowed. This week, we had the absolute pleasure of chatting with LA artist, ALIA.
With hit single ‘Penthouse’ out and a lot of creative energy in the wings, there is no doubt in our minds that electronic/soul sensation is going places, and we are very lucky to have the chance to talk to her. Check out our interview below!
Give us your full name, and your profession
Alia Christian. Artist.
Why ‘Penthouse’? Why did you name your song the way you did? What does this single say about you?
‘Penthouse’ was the first song I wrote after deciding to pursue a career as an artist full time. Making this decision meant leaving the great university I was attending, in exchange for an unstable and unpredictable lifestyle. Beach-town college student turned broke musician sounds like a major downgrade to most. It sounds like going from the penthouse to a prison. But as you’ll hear in the song, it was the complete opposite for me. Penthouse is an anthem for a generation of young people who are increasingly forgoing traditional paths for passionate ones. It’s my declaration of self love, and love of my unique path. It is the acknowledgement and celebration of my differences, as well as yours. It’s the middle finger to anyone who ever told me to “be practical” when choosing my path.
Tell us about the genre of music you create.
I find it hard to label the kind of music I create, since one of my favorite things about my sound is how many pieces of other genres it blends together. My vocals are pop-conscious, but soulful. My production is electronic, but with heavy R&B groove. Everything is uninhibited. I never want to define my music, I want the music to speak for itself.
What does your creative process look like? How do you start working on a new creative endeavor, song, album, piece of art etc.?
This is the most difficult question, because it’s different every single time. I’m constantly creating, whether it’s in the form of writing, playing, producing, singing. New songs come from everywhere. Inspiration comes from everywhere. I can be driving down the street and catch a melody floating around my head, and that can turn into a song. I can sit down with the intention of writing something and it can come from that. The best songs will just flow out of you, without warning or notice, like ‘Penthouse.’ These come from the purest, most honest parts of the soul.How has your career in music helped shape your image and how you present yourself to others?
I get “you look like an artist” a lot, which is the greatest compliment anyone could give about my appearance. artists don’t restrict themselves, they are as true to themselves as humanly possible. When someone tells me, “you look like an artist,” I take it as a nod to my authenticity.
What food do you eat most when you’re working? Why?
I don’t know about food but I drink absurd amounts of tea. It’s calming, good for your vocal chords.
What do you do when you have writers block? Or creative block
Hike, do anything outdoors. Being in nature allows a sort of clarity for me that nothing else can. I think and feel so freely in nature that it allows any inspiration or thought that may be struggling to surface, come to light.Where do you draw inspiration from when you dress yourself? What does what you wear say about you? Do you believe style plays a part in shaping your personal brand as an artist?
My style is simply an extension of myself and, like me, it can’t be put it a box. One day i’ll be in jeans and sneakers, the next i’ll be in thigh boots and a little skirt. I dress myself with only one thing in mind: Authenticity. If it’s trendy right now but it isn’t me, I won’t wear it. If it’s strange but I love it and feel like myself in it, i’ll rock that shit.
What is something interesting about you that most people might not know, but you feel is a large part of who you are?
I was raised in a modestly sized town in Georgia. I lived there for 14 years before moving to LA. While it was often times difficult, and I was constantly fighting the feeling that I didn’t belong there, I truly believe it made, and keeps, me grounded.What are some of the biggest challenges you have faced as a female musician in the music industry? How has fashion contributed to that?
I’ve had a number of men laugh at me when I tell them I know how to produce. I’ve been doing so for about a year and a half now, and while I’m no professional, I know my way around a DAW (digital audio workstation) and I speak the language. I co-produced ‘Penthouse.’ when I tell people that, they’re often extremely surprised, and unknowingly condescending. I think that’s been my biggest challenge so far, trying to break into the unspoken boys club that is electronic music production. It’s also hard to learn from your peers when so many of them are men and so many automatically see you as less capable just because of your gender.
What is your favorite pair of shoes to wear while you’re recording, writing, touring, interviewing etc? What are your go-tos?
My absolute favorite pair of shoes to wear on stage are these black, leather ankle booties. I’ve had them for years, they’re like a security blanket that make you feel like a bad ass.
Who do you look up to for inspiration in the music industry? Why?
Anyone and everyone who is doing their own thing, creating their art freely, thinking outside the box. James Blake, Beyonce, Majid Jordan, Sia, D’Angelo, Kanye, Miguel. And especially female producers, like Grimes and Bjork.
What are your plans as you move higher and higher up in the music industry? What do you hope to accomplish?
For now, I’m just focused on making great music and a name for myself through that music. I want my art to speak for itself.
Do you have any advice to women trying to break into the music industry?
Be yourself. Everywhere you turn there is going to be someone who tells you, “if you just change this, wear this, sing this song, say this thing you don’t believe in, etc., you’ll be a star.” It will be especially difficult as a woman, in an industry dominated by men. Anyone who tells you they can make you successful by being anything other than who you are, is not worth your time.What’s your favorite item in your closet?
Currently, a Boy London jersey dress. I’m actually not even sure it’s a dress, but that’s how I wear it. That and a pair of red, high-waisted gauchos.
Spin ALIA’s newest single here, and follow her on social media below!
If you’re a diehard lover of black clothes and accessories, you understand the pain when a.) someone tries to tell you it’s a phase and b.) when you’re not sure how to change things up anymore. Me, Libby, and Kristin are all black fanatics, so here’s a quick no-fail guide to solving the latter. As for telling people it’s not a phase, you’ll prove ’em wrong as time goes on.
H&M sweater, Forever 21 jeans, bracelets, and necklace + Nordstrom Rack shoes. photos by Emma Gaty.
1. Vary the shape and fit
Try wearing a loose-fitting top with some skinny jeans. Or a tighter top with a pair of loose harem pants. When you wear monochromatic pieces, it can look like a walking heap of black. But changing up the shape and fit can fix that. (Unless you want to rock the black hole look, which I’m an advocate for.)
2. Mix up textures
Denim and cotton, lace and metallic, silk and leather, there’s so many options! Switching up the textures is like switching up the colors, except you still get to wear all black. my go-to is wool and denim or lace and denim.
3. Accessorize with neutrals
Accessorizing with taupe, gray, white, and other neutrals can add more dimension to your ensemble. I’ll usually swap out my shoes or bag for one in a different tone. (Hint: this is also a rad way to mix in different textures too!)
recently, i had the pleasure of stumbling onto a lovely new single by talent EXES. the single is called ‘twentythousand’ and debuted in march.
once the sun comes out, i tend to pull towards soft/synthy/electronic sounds. my spotify is clad with indie playlists and alternative soft rock vibes with acoustic spatterings here and there. EXES fits that bill, and exceeds all expectation.
for starters, EXES’ whimsical sound completely enamors me. upon first listening to ‘twentythousand’, i was on the edge of my seat. with a gentle, building intro that establishes an ominous vibe, her voice breaks through and is complete bliss. you can truly get lost in the way she sounds. the apparent, but minimal, use of instrumentals makes the lyrics feel raw and the song feel powerful despite the sweet vocals.
in addition, EXES’ instagram is clad with lovely images that are imaginative and creative. her media mirrors her musical talent, so aside from being a great vocalist she has an eye for intriguing imagery. her sense of style reminds me of something out of alice and wonderland which is utterly reminiscent of her genre and completely unique. i’m a sucker for a kickass aesthetic, so i was extra psyched!
EXES has put out a few other epic tracks on her soundcloud, and they mirror the same beautiful strengths that the newest single has. ‘Grey’ and ’18’ are also favorites. if you are looking to get some good vibes going for the spring time, hop on your spotify and check her out. i personally am extremely excited to see what she comes out with in the future.
follow EXES on the social media’s below and stay up to date on what she’s doing and any musical goodness coming out of her base. spin it!