Back when the 90’s era of RnB was trickling it’s way into the 2000’s wave, artists like Alicia Keys, Faith Evans, and Jill Scott were reminding us of our worth and keeping us level-headed. Music that was our “go to” for any and every situation dominated the radios. This particular artist that we so gladly were given the opportunity to chat with was one of those artists whose music was like a journal-a journal she allowed the world access to.
We were first introduced to Vivian Green back in 2002 when she released her debut album A Love Story that featured her hit single “Emotional Rollercoaster.” The singer has returned with her fifth studio album Vivid entirely produced by Kwame Holland, who has also produced for artists Mary J. Blige, Christina Aguilera, Dru Hill, and more. The album’s first “Get Back To My Baby,” which samples Maze and Frankie Beverly’s “Before I Let You Go” validates why we first fell in love with Vivian thirteen years ago.
Read below to find out about working with Kwame on her entire album, working with Boyz II Men while still in high school, and much more.
Let’s talk about your album Vivid. What’s the concept behind the title and your favorite track?
-Vivid means colorful, lively, and vibrant; my album is all of those things. My name has a very similar meaning and shares the same root “Vivi” which means alive or full of life. There was definitely an intentional play on words lol. This album has more life than any of my previous. It is many things, but sad is not one of them. I actually don’t have a favorite track.
What was it like working with producer Kwame on your album?
-At first it was rough, but then we found our rhythm and it was smooth from there on out. He had another vision and it took me a minute to get on board. He said, “I meet you and you’re this fun, crazy, happy person who jokes around all the time but your previous music (or singles) haven’t reflected that. Why have you not made music that’s a reflection of your personality?” So that’s Kwame and I started. He thought I was going to be this sad girl when I walked in. Not the case AT ALL and it’s the first thing he noted.
How does this album differ from previous projects?
-This was the first time I ever worked with Kwame and Vivid definitely stands out from the rest of my albums. And not because it’s necessarily “better” (because I love all of my albums) but there’s just a different energy in the music. Kwame produces from a different approach than the people I’ve previously worked with, and it took a minute for me to get used to that approach. Once we found our rhythm I really loved what was happening. “Get Right Back to my Baby” was a top 5 single. It’s my highest charting single in some years and my first uptempo single EVER. It gave me presence in DJ mix shows and clubs that I’ve NEVER had before. It’s the first record of mine that Funk Master Flex and an array of other DJ’s evvver played..lol…Needless to say I’m glad I was open to Kwam’s ideas.
“Get Right Back To My Baby” is a fan favorite. What inspired you (and Kwame) to sample Maze ft Frankie Beverly’s “Before I Let Go?”
-That was all Kwame’s idea so I can’t take any credit for the sample…lol….I was just grateful that Frankie Beverly approved it and actually likes the song. Pretty cool to get approval from a legend.
What is the inspiration behind your music? What inspires you to write and record? A certain situation? A thought?
– I get inspiration from life which is always full of infinite things to pull from, so I never have to find inspiration. It’s just always there. Sometimes I’m just inspired to write a pretty song at the piano and it might not come from any real life situation at all. So inspiration is relative to each song really.
How is it juggling motherhood and your singing career?
-I have a lot of help from my mother. Whenever I need her she’s there and I honestly can’t imagine what juggling everything would be like without her.
Your mother sang and your father played the trumpet. What was it like growing up where Motown was consistently played on the stereo? Would you say these things are what inspired you musically?
– Motown absolutely gets the credit as my first music inspiration. I knew so much of the Motown catalogue at 5 it was crazy! I still listen to “Songs in the Key of Life” and “Innervisions” more than I listen to anything current. IJS lol
What was going through your mind while recording in Boyz II Men’s studio and writing with them? What was that experience like?
-Working on the Boyz II Men project “Evolution” was great. I was still in high school! I was a very focused teenager, so I was never starstruck or anything, but they were SOOOO FAMOUS lol….and it was a great opportunity. I was completely focused on making a song that they would hopefully like. My dear friend and brother Jamar Jones was a writer on the song as well. He’s now Director of the Arts at the Potter’s House. So I just love how he and I have been blessed to have careers in music years after the Boyz II Men opportunity.
Not only are you a singer/songwriter, but you made appearances on screen as well. Is acting something you are passionate about?
– I have but I sang every time. I never had lines in a movie or TV show. I was very much in my comfort zone singing lol. I cannot say I am passionate about acting. Now musical theater is something I would love to get into. One of my dreams is to write the songs for a Broadway show. I actually wrote the songs for a David E. Talbert play in 2007 called “Love in the Nick of Thyme”. David directed “Baggage Claim”.
What would the Vivian Green today tell Vivian Green back in 2012 when “Emotional Rollercoaster” was released?
– I would tell her to stay SINGLE until 30! lmbo! . Seriously I would tell her to take more control of her career and don’t be afraid to do it. I think young artists often have pressure from their labels to be someone they’re not. As a young artist signed to a major label I was just happy to be there…lol…I didn’t voice how I truly felt all of the time. The other more personal things I would tell my younger self, I’m not willing to share lol
What do you think is the key to a successful career in music?
-Perseverance, constant hustle, thick skin and a little luck are all key to success in the music business. That’s real.
If you had the opportunity, what artist/producer would you work with and why?
-Well one of my absolute legendary favorites recently called me to do a duet. I don’t want to jinx it AT ALL so I’ll leave it at that lol
How would your friends and family describe you?
-Oh idk….something like “resilient, loyal, vocal, aware, crazy and funny” lol
What is something people misconceive about you?
-The biggest misconception about me is I’m a push-over. I am genuinely a nice person and people have often thought that means you can walk over me but you CANNOT…lol….and those we have tried it know better now. IJS
What do you want listeners to gain from your music?
– I want people to live with my music. In the car, at work, working out; when you find love, when you lose love; while cleaning, on vacation….while living!
Any touring plans for 2016?
– I’ve been on the road since the new year began and hopefully I won’t be stopping anytime soon.
Interviewed By: Simone Grant