SHE'S ROYAL: Veronica V
VERONICA V is a firm believer in the adage, ‘everything happens in its time’, because her journey into music has been testament to this.
Starting life in the church, often “forced” to sing notorious chorus Jesus Loves Me at her mum’s request, and tirelessly seeking a record deal independently, the US singer was then headhunted by Cash Money Records.
The popular label, founded by rapper Birdman and Ronald “Slim” Williams, also the parent company of Lil Wayne’s Young Money empire, got in touch with the owner of the Miami studio where Veronica would frequent to express their interest in the rising star.
She explains: “The owner of the studio called me and was like, ‘Slim and Birdman heard your music and they want to sign you.’ I was like, ‘What?’
“I’m a true believer in thinking that God has his timing. I just think that all the other scenarios just weren’t meant to be and that’s why they didn’t happen. When it’s meant for you, it’s effortless and it just flows. When I got that phonecall, I was at home playing a puzzle. There was no pressure and there was no drama.”
The singer/songwriter, born Vanity Gardner, hails from Chicago and already had a portfolio of work, which included recordings with renowned producers Timbaland and Mr Beatz, to name a few, pre-signing.
Despite her past experience, she admits she was still “intimidated” at the prospect of working with her new label mates, which include Young Money rappers Drake and Nicki Minaj and, of course, founder Lil Wayne.
“Although it’s a great honour, I will admit that I was a little intimidated to begin with. But I believe that God doesn’t make mistakes, so I just roll with the punches and learn from the veterans on the label. It’s actually funny because the pressure I feel is more fun than being bad,” she reveals.
On being dubbed the label’s “new princess of R&B”, she says: “One thing I love about Cash Money is that they allow the artist to be themselves. They try and find the true essence of you. Initially you would think that it’s a rap label, so they’re going to make you do this and that, but they totally let you be you and I think that’s completely awesome.”
And if one was in any doubt, Veronica’s debut single What Happened To Us is proof of this artistic freedom. Veronica V, who worked on the sassy and sensual track with songwriter and record producer Polow The Don, explains that her personal experiences played out on the banger about lost love.
“It was actually going to be called The Break Up,” she explains.
“I definitely get inspiration from things I’ve gone through, things that I’ve seen my mum go through and my friends go through. For me, going through a break up it was, you’re happy, you’re sad, you’re ‘Oh My God, I’ll never find better!’ Then the next day you’re like, ‘Oh My God, I found better! I’ve actually experienced these things.”
We both laugh at the familiarity.
She continues: “There’s so many rollercoasters that women - and men - go through. I think What Happened To Us is a great starter record because it introduces this character and she’s not saying, ‘I want you back’. She’s saying, ‘Hey, I see you’re telling this girl over here the same lies.’ It’s showing a sign of strength.”
And it’s that strength she hopes will filter to the women who listen to her music.
“I want women in particular to hear it and feel like, ‘I’ve always wanted to say that’. I think so many women are victims of bad relationships, but at some point we have to show strength and show that we can overcome.”
The video, which features rapper 2 Chainz and has racked up over 80,000 hits on YouTube, is sure to raise a few temperatures as she cavorts in bum-skimming hot pants and shows off her perfectly toned midriff in a crop top.
“It shows a strong woman who has not lost sense of her sensuality,” she retorts when I ask her about the over sexualisation of women in R&B and hip-hop.
“I think it’s cool to touch on sexuality and it’s cool to show people that you’re a woman, but at the same time, you still need to do it as classy as possible because it can affect all women negatively.”
The singer, who is keen to stand as a role model for young women, hopes to diversify into acting and modelling after she has made her mark on the music industry. She hopes the latter will show women “that you don’t have to be a stick figure to be a model. You can be a normal-sized girl who is successful.”
“I would love to be the face that promotes that,” she says.
“One thing I don’t believe in is perfection. I believe that everyone has flaws and flaws are beautiful. Right now I want women to hear themselves in my record and my album. There is a lot of great music, a lot of great production and a lot of great lyrics. I think it will touch a lot of people.”
What Happened To Us is out now through Cash Money Records. For more information follow @Veronicaymcmb on Twitter