A chat with Vita Chambers
This musician is an avid supporter of gay rights, Gwen Stefani fashion, Ellie Goulding music and managed to go on tour with Justin Bieber himself ? and SheKnows got the opportunity to pick her brilliant brain!
Sassy and classy
In our chat with Vita Chambers, we felt like we were talking with an old friend. Her spirited conversation left us in awe of her maturity. Well-spoken and thoughtful, she knows what she wants, and who she is.
At her age, could you say you were that level-headed?
Check out our exclusive interview where we address who she is, what she's like, who she's worked with and the most important question: Her controversial video for "Fix You" left us wondering ? was it a tale of friendship or lesbian love?
Who is Vita Chambers?
SheKnows: "Vita Chambers" is such a unique name ? what does it mean?
Vita Chambers: Vita means life in Italian, and Chambers is, well, Chambers (laughs).
SK: At 19, you're already living the dream; how does that and where you come from influence your music?
VC: I got signed when I was 16. I was thrown into that world and having to grow up quickly made me into the person I am now; I learned to make somewhat educated decisions. Also, growing up in Barbados then moving was a big learning experience.
SK: Who keeps you grounded and focused?
VC: My parents and my friends are the two groups of people that stand by me in the good times and the bad. My parents have been incredible through my career, and have been supportive and been there for me no matter what.
SK: Do you currently have a special someone?
VC: Yes, I do. He is 7 pounds... and he is my puppy. He is the love of my life. Comes everywhere with me.
SK: Your Facebook page says you favor rock climbing and scuba diving ? would you consider yourself adventurous?
VC: Yes. However, it's really funny: I was the first kid to fail physical education in school. I love rock climbing, and when I go home, I go surfing.
On what matters to her
SK: Why are gay rights so important to you?
VC: I don't see the point in the abuse people have gotten and hatred that has been displayed. I mean, why should we discriminate against someone for loving some other person because of their emotions? It's love ? you can't be taught to love as a kid and not to hate, and then you're expected to hate someone because they don't fit into what society has created. It is what it is I and I am a full supporter of loving who you want as long you aren't harming anyone.
SK: How does your personality affect your music?
VC: I'm outgoing and I’m a Gemini, so my music is a bit all over the place. Goes from sad song to happy song the next day. As a writer, you write what you feel and it can fluctuate.
On celebrity associations and affiliations
SK: Are you more proud to be Canadian or raised in Barbados? Do you get compared to Rihanna, since she hails from Barbados, too?
VC: Honestly, I consider both my home. I take pride in both. Both are so different. As for Rihanna comparisons, the association is there. It's inevitable but [we're] completely different and that shines through, music-wise and personality-wise.
SK: What was it like to tour with Justin Bieber? Did he give you any interesting advice?
VC: Amazing. I was screaming so much and got hoarse when I found out. I learned to be grounded, because I saw how grounded he was with his mom, his family and his grandparents. They were there every show ? a big family unit. Everyone was very close.
SK: You're quite active on your Facebook page; it’s great to see an artist so interactive. You mention you like Ellie Goulding and Florence + The Machine ? who would you rather collaborate with between the two?
VC: I couldn’t choose. I'm a huge fan of [both]. Not only for their music and their writing, but because of the way they tell their stories.
SK: We can see how your personality may affect your fashion ? you cite Gwen Stefani as your inspiration ? why her?
VC: She's not afraid to do anything. Incredible job of reinventing herself over and over again. She's not afraid to take risks.
SK: Who has been the most interesting artist you've met so far?
VC: Most of the artists I’ve met have been for brief moments. Justin has been the most interesting, mainly because I saw how he lived when he was on the road, and I was around him every day. I saw all the hard times and the things that happen when you are touring. The little things that happen and don't seem like a big deal when they really are, and seeing how he dealt with them. We all were kids on that tour, but we knew we were kids even though it is something adults are doing.
From the small city to big leagues
SK: What was the most significant memory you have from the famed Lilith Fair Revival in 2010?
VC: The whole, entire thing ? it was an honor to be there and around these people ? it was crazy. Sarah McLaughlin was such a beautiful person, she could calm the room. Definitely a big moment, to be a part of that.
SK: Will the rest of your releases have an electropop feel?
VC: Yes. Along with a lot of different things.
SK: Which musician would you say is most similar to your sound? You’ve said Madonna and Queen, among others, are influences.
VC: Me. I don't like to compare too much.
SK: Do you have an album coming out soon? We're excited to hear more!
VC: We’re thinking later on in the year, releasing different singles along the way.
SK: Do you have a dream collaboration, someone you would love to work with?
VC: I would [love to] have met Freddie Mercury. I always loved Kaskade. He is one of my top favorites — and Sia, I am obsessed with her.
SK: How do you think your sound has evolved from 2010, i.e. your first single “Young Money?"
VC: Definitely evolved quite a bit, I think mainly because when I first got signed I was so young. I got thrown into the music industry and I loved rock-pop at the time and my label loved the idea too. We kind of formed this rock-pop image. Then, I had a year where I just wrote and found myself as an artist ? as in who I was and who I wanted to sound like. I really got into writing my music.
SK: Congratulations on making PopCrush’s About to Pop list! You beat out heavyweight artists like Rihanna, Ne-Yo and Justin Timberlake. Why do you think your single “Fix You” has done so well?
VC: No idea. I am incredibly flattered. It's nerve-wracking ? I put so much emotion in there and putting it out for the public to criticize and not know how people are going to take it. Thankfully, I hope it keeps going this way. People have been so supportive and people have come up to me and told me how much it meant to them. It has been an incredible few weeks for me.
SK: What idea spurred the inspiration behind “Fix You?”
VC: Myself and the people I wrote this song with got along so well, and it was so weird. [The] first two hours of our writing session, we felt so comfortable to share our emotions and write something beautiful. We took tainted and tortured situations and formed something to create a song. It was something that we all collectively pulled out.
SK: You have to tell us, in the music video the relationship between the protagonist — you — and the victimized female ? is it sisterly, friendly or something more?
VC: Creating it with the director, we wanted something to be relatable and seen in many different lights, and how someone relates to it lies within you.
SK: Well, Vita, good luck with all your future endeavors! How do you plan on staying true to your identity as you evolve in the industry?
VC: I have a good grasp on myself now. Growing up, you never stop discovering who you are throughout your life. I mean, you have ideas of what you like and don't like and you learn how you react to them. Right now, I know who I am and I know what I want to say, and how I want people to view me.
A message to aspiring artists and fans
SK: What advice do you have for people who get stage fright? I’m sure performing at the Thanksgiving Day halftime show in 2009 was intimidating.
VC: I still get stage fright before I perform! Advice from one of my vocal coaches stuck with me: Perform for yourself. Remember why you love music and acting or whatever you perform. Make it the best for you and know why you love what you're doing, and perform with that in mind. When you are having a good time on stage, it becomes infectious. Once [the audience] gives you the same energy back, you can feed off it.
SK: Both you and Justin really benefited from the use of social networking: YouTube for him, Myspace for you. What advice do you have for other artists that are trying to use these routes?
VC: The fact that you have this vehicle ? the internet ? that is so accessible is so great and so important, and use every avenue you can. Never be afraid to put out your stuff and your art ? and you get lots of feedback, so don't be afraid.
SK: Finally, what is the most important characteristic a new artist should have to make it in the music industry today?
VC: Gumption. Not being afraid to stand up to give a piece of your mind.