On Cue: Virginia
Born and raised in Munich, Virginia’s path into music was through her voice. Singing from a young age, she recognised she had a gift, and cultivated her art. Her sister took her clubbing, and it was through tracks like Yantra’s ‘Purple Strings’, Underworld’s ‘Born Slippy’ and Adonis’ ‘No Way Back’ that she got hooked on dance music. In the late ’90s, she began to perform guest vocals for various club producers, among them Tom Novy, Butch, Jam & Spoon and Abe Duque. After singing on the Steffi track ‘Reasons’, the duo made another tune together, ‘Yours’, which became a huge underground hit in 2011. But it almost never happened.
“Steffi had this really short snippet in her trash on the computer, and said to me, ‘I threw that away’. There was this one vocal line on there, and I was like, ‘Why is this in your trashcan? Give it to me!’ Since that moment, I don’t think she ever threw away anything else, any sketches. ‘Yours’ was the best, fastest, easiest thing ever. It was basically all done in two days, but the main creative process was maybe, for each of us, an hour or two.”
Citing artists such as Sade and Tracy Chapman as vocal inspirations, you can hear influences from R&B, house and classic soul in Virginia’s voice, though she’s sought to carve a niche and create a distinctive sound of her own. “It’s about finding your own way, not copying — something that hopefully makes your vocal lines or your timbre stand out a bit,” she says. “I listen to a lot of different music, and the fusion of that makes my signature.”
After working with so many other artists, Virginia went solo in 2013, producing a series of EPs for Ostgut Ton. The ‘Loch & Hill’ EP was mostly instrumental, a set of melodic cuts that included the Detroit stabs and tough drums of ‘Neurosis’ and the acid-dunked electro of the title track, with only ‘Tangish’ putting her voice upfront. The ‘My Fantasy’ EP followed, and indicated her gift for production was as sparkling as her abilities behind the microphone. “It’s always a compromise when you work with other people,” says Virginia. “I thought, ‘Okay, I’m going to do exactly as I want’. I have to say that Steffi encouraged me a lot, saying, ‘You know what, just do it, you have so many ideas’.”
‘Fierce For The Night’, Virginia’s debut album, was a co-production with Martyn, Dexter and Steffi, mining Virginia’s appreciation for all manner of styles, from freestyle electro-funk to Sade-esque quiet storm rhythms, via ravey breakbeats and classic house basslines. “For me, music is music. I don’t mind if it’s fast or slow, or hard or fast, as long as it touches me. The album is some of the electronic genres that we all love, but somehow they’re all glued together. It has a homogenous storyline that taps into all the different electronic genres that I love and are close to my heart.”