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September 17, 2019

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Who is VV Brown?

British alt-pop singer makes megaphones sound so sweet

VV Brown

VV Brown, sans megaphone.

Named by LA Times music blog Pop & Hiss as a "2009 artist to watch," VV Brown is a British singer-songwriter with retro flair infused into both her look and her sound. In celeb-stalker terms, she's Amy Winehouse minus the train-wreck personal life, with an extra shot of adrenalin.

She's also got a thing for hardware.

In a video of Brown, who will play May 11 at Pure nightclub, performing an acoustic version of her song "L.O.V.E.," the singer eschews a microphone for some lo-fi amplification via a megaphone. Turns out, she thinks they give her live voice an almost vinyl sound and she's got a collection.

"I just walked into a store one day in London and there was a load of megaphones hanging above me. So I bought three," Brown said over the phone. "Now I have 25. Different ones from all over the world; they all sound different."

VV Brown - Shark in the Water

And so does Brown. The self-proclaimed "nerd" records sets in the backs of cabs and says that her worst fear is to become "fake and plastic and delusional." So far, it seems the young woman who usually wears her hair in a vintage roll is in no immediate danger. Raised on ska and reggae, Brown layers lovelorn lyrics of songs like "Crying Blood" over almost-jolly 1950s pop rhythms, crafting a mood that's both somber and playful. The artist calls her most recent album, Travelling like the Light, a Polaroid of what was happening in her life while she was writing it. "I was very depressed, and the 1950s were a world I could escape into."

That escape, combined with lyrics that far surpass the drivel crammed into most heavy rotation pop songs and a voice that makes auto tune seem like a sin, is why you should mark your calendar to catch Brown at Pure.

If she sounds this good in the back of a cab, imagine what she can do with a microphone.

— Originally published on

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