Vanessa Brown was born in Northampton, England. She is the eldest of 6 siblings; her mother is Jamaican and her father is Puerto Rican. She attended Overstone Park School near Northampton, which her parents own and work at. Brown learned to play the piano, developed her vocals and took classical and jazz piano lessons at a musical arts school.
Brown was given her name “V V” from her peers as an MC nickname when she attended her middle school. Her love for hip hop and artists such as J Dilla and Q-Tip still exists. Brown studied violin at the age of 9 but gave it up because she found she was better at the piano and trumpet.
She completed her grade 8 jazz trumpet at the age of 16 and went on to play in jazz bands up to the age of 21. Growing up, V V listened to jazz artists like Ella Fitzgerald and Dizzy Gillespie. Brown earned four “A” grade A-Levels, studying at Kingsthorpe Upper School (now Kingsthorpe Community College) a year early; she was offered places at five top UK universities to study law including Oxford, King’s College London, LSE and York. She declined the offers to follow a career in music.
V V Brown was first offered a deal by Gut records when she was 14 but due to educational commitments she decided to finish her studies. She was then offered a deal by Danny Simms, the manager and mogul associated with Bob Marley. Brown declined to finish her studies.
At 18, Brown was invited to an open audition for VH1 divas by friends and was stopped outside the venue by an executive from London Records. Brown was offered a development deal by London records.
The development soon came to an end and, at 19, Brown was offered a deal by Polydor records in the UK and A&M records in the US. She left her deal with Polydor and A&M in 2006 with one single and only an unofficial promotional EP, Back to the Music.
Brown moved back to London and began performing in bars and clubs around London. She was rediscovered by executive Darcus Beese and signed to Island Records. Travelling Like the Light was then recorded in 2007-2008.
The album seen the release of four singles Crying Blood, Leave!, Shark in the Water and Game Over. Shark in the Water charted in both UK, French and USA charts. It received gold status in America and France in 2009.
Prior to the mastering of Brown’s sophomore album, Lollipops & Politics, a free mixtape, The Playground, was released through Soundcloud to show some of the ideas and the raw process whilst making the new album.
On 14 September 2011, Brown announced that the first single from Lollipops & Politics would be called ‘Children‘ featuring Chiddy of Chiddy Bang. The song hit US iTunes on 20 September 2011. On 4 October 2011, Brown confirmed the title of her second album as Lollipops & Politics as well as releasing the full tracklist.
The latest album, Samson & Delilah, was out in September 2013. The video of the first single, “Samson”, premiered on 20 May.
Brown played many festivals and gigs in 2008. Brown was invited by Damon Albarn to play African Express tour. She sang with Fela Kuti‘s son Femi. Brown toured with Ladyhawke and The Ting Tings. She has been confirmed for Camden Crawl, The Great Escape, Evolution Music, Camp Bestival, Supersonic, and Turning Point festivals while awaiting confirmation on several others.
In 2009 Brown performed with Grace Jones and Sly and Robbie for the Island 50th event at Shepherds Bush Empire. This was a showcase of new and old talent on the label. Brown supported Swedish electronic band Little Dragon on the US leg of their tour in 2010. and was an opening act for Pink in her upcoming UK leg of her summer Carnival Tour in 2010 .
V V Brown toured as an opening act for Maroon 5 in 2010; this was her most extensive North American tour yet. She also did a small sold out club headline tour in the states to capacities of 500 and towards the end of the year was invited to perform for the National Grammy Committee in Los Angeles, California.
In 2010, Brown also performed at the America festival SXSW at the British Embassy as well as a secondary gig with AOL. The AOL performance was a great success and led to huge support from the AOL team throughout Browns career.
Brown performed her first show at the South Bank with Annie Lennox, Paloma Faith and Kate Nash. Her 30 minute consisted of a quartet. In 2011, she performed a duet with the French singer Melissa NKonda.
On 20 February 2009 Brown also modeled and performed at the Ashish fashion for London Fashion Week.
On 27 January 2009 Brown did her first shoot for Vogue magazine which is in the April/May issue. On 24 January 2012 Brown’s online vintage clothing store, called http://www.vvvintage.com, went live.
Brown has been in several international magazines with numerous spreads such as ID, Paper, LOVE, Elle, Cosmopoliton, American Vogue, Teen Vogue, British Vogue and more. She has worked with top photographers like Rankin and continues to experiment with her love of photography and fashion.
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