Sometimes Vassy just needs to be Vassy. This doesn’t get to happen all the time. Because when the native-Australian is serving as a successful songwriter for premier artists all over the globe, Vassy Karaglorgos has to be thinking about someone beside herself. However, for a musician with melodies constantly on her brain, and rhythms perpetually flowing through her body, this is not an easy task. Quite simply, the native-Australian, whose new album Beautiful Day is a hand-clapping, foot-stomping pop parade of giddy proportions, is a creator. And as Vassy says, “When you’re a creator, you just gotta stay creating.” Being an artist is who she is. “I’ve got things to give people,” she says proudly.
And what Vassy, whose had her songs featured on prominent TV shows and films over the past few years, has to offer is an endless supply of pop hooks, percussive melodies and sing-song verses. Listening to Beautiful Day one can vividly make out a young woman allowing years worth of jangly rhyme patterns and whirring rhythms to explode into song. “The album is quirky, it’s very uplifting,” Vassy explains, adding that it has a very tropical, almost-exotic sound. “There’s a brightness to these records,” she says.
If there’s an overriding sense of giddiness and excitement perpetually emanating from the singer, it’s surely because Vassy is forever grateful to be creating music; it’s what she’s always loved to do. But growing up in a remote town in Northern Australia, the first generation daughter of Greek immigrants hardly knew anything about this discipline; after all, she lived in virtual isolation and “didn’t really have access to anything.” “I had to figure out a lot of stuff on my own,” she explains. Vassy discovered hip-hop and jazz in her teens. But it was when she heard legendary American chanteuse Billie Holiday on a local radio station that a light bulb went off. “I heard this woman…and there was just something about her” Vassy recalls of first hearing Holiday.
Vassy could relate. As a youngster, her choir teacher had kicked her out of the group after telling her she couldn’t sing. “As a kid you’re like, ‘Oh my God,’” she says in recollection. In reality though, this only fueled Vassy’s passion for her craft and made it far sweeter when the young girl with her own sense of sass and swagger went on to win a national songwriting contest for Australia’s Triple J radio which jumpstarted her music career. “My heart was always in music,” she says.
After being signed to Warner Brother’s in Australia following her contest victory, and subsequently having a string of successful singles, Vassy set her sights on moving to America. In 2007 she visited New York City and made a string of connections in the music business, only to go back to Australia thinking nothing of it. Only a month later however, she got an email informing her that one of her songs was going to be used for a Hilton Hotel’s campaign; in quick order she found more of her music being placed on TV shows, the likes of Grey’s Anatomy and Ugly Betty. “All of a sudden I’m like ‘is this for real?'” she says recalling her disbelief.
With several of her songs now in rotation on US television programs, Vassy officially made the move to the United States in 2008. She was also free of her Warner’s contract so she quickly signed with Ultra Records; she soon found herself working with some of the world’s top dance producers. But she quickly began aching to “grow more as an artist.” As such, she eventually cut ties with Ultra.
Now, Vassy is on her own; she’s finally free to create the fizzy dance pop music she’s always envisioned. The 13 songs on Beautiful Day, which she cut over an eight-week period late last year with producers Tim Meyers (OneRepublic), Jacques Brautbar (Phantom Planet), John Ernst & Skylar “EXC” Mones, Charlie Midnight (James Brown, Christina Aguilera, Hilary Duff), Richard Vission ((Madona Black Eyed Peas, Gaga) and Denny Western (the Kooks), Vassy says are in honor of the material she’s had placed on TV programs and in films. She feels it’s in the same realm of boundary-pushing artists like M.I.A. and Santigold, with the soulfulness of Amy Winehouse, but is quick to add that her sound is distinctively her own. And that makes sense. Because really, it’s what Vassy’s been aching to do for as long as she can remember: be herself. “It’s very me, she says proudly of Beautiful Day. “It’s very Vassy.”