Miss Velvet and The Blue Wolf will speak to your boho luxe soul
If you like to throw on the vintage vibes like Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix, then Miss Velvet and the Blue Wolf is a band you need to hear.
Miss Velvet embodies Nashville sexiness not only in her vocals but also with her throwback fashion, inspired by rock icons like Prince and Stevie Nicks.
The eight-piece band is fronted by Miss Velvet, who drew her persona from a pretty heavy inner search to find herself after traveling down a broken path.
“Miss Velvet is connected to the development of my authentic voice and its metamorphosis into an instrument which conveys my deepest self,” she says. “In Velvet, I found self confidence, inner power, authenticity and gender-freedom.”
Starting with two performances in the Hamptons, and a new album set to come out in October, this American indie rock and funk queen is here for it, and like, about to take over the world with that raspy vocal we’re all uber envious of.
Just like Janis Joplin, Miss Velvet’s got the spiritual vibes and historical knowledge of some type of female rock guru, which means she’s def your new spirit animal. So if you’re not the type to be into surface-level pop topped off with a glittery leotard, then move on over and start spinning Miss Velvet and the Blue Wolf, who has three songs out now on Spotify and iTunes.
And not to worry, October is right around the corner so the full album will be out soon. “[It’s] titled ‘Bad Get Some’ and it’s an up-close, in- your-face punch: the good, bad and the ugly stuff of my trip down the road with men , women, sex, drugs, loss of innocence, and innocence regained that happens in a journey of discovery,” she says.
Take a listen to the tunes here, and then read our Q&A with Miss Velvet to get your dose of 60’s vibes in a major way.
Where did the name: “Miss Velvet and the Blue Wolf” come from?
Ironically, I was led to the persona concept of Miss Velvet through a journey to find my authentic self. I was traveling a road littered with many personal challenges and difficulties. At one point, I lost my voice because I lost who the hell I was, and where I was. When I realized the route I was on was an illusion — it really wasn’t me at all — I was able to take a turn towards finding my truth.
I gratefully realized I did have unconditional love and support from my family and from my incredible music mentor Constance Hauman (founder of my label Isotopia Records and executive producer of the debut album) who helped me discover what power my own voice had. Miss Velvet is me, where I am not a man or a woman—where I am free to express myself with no boundaries.
I liked the idea of The Blue Wolf for my band name because we roam in a “pack” (wink), but seriously, I think of the wolf as strong and protective, spiritual and yet wild. In a musical/artistic context, it means going beyond the safe, being a bit dangerous, pushing boundaries. Even though the band is made up of completely different personalities, when we play together, The Blue Wolf is my fuel. I run with them. Then, we become one entity, one force.
Let’s talk about the three current songs — Velvet Door, Dare and Like You Do, what was the inspiration behind those songs?
When we were chosen out of 2000 applicants applying from all over the world to play Tallinn Music Week in Estonia, Finland (it’s like the SXSW of Europe), we immediately needed our music out there in the world! As a result of playing the festival, a super-popular rock radio station that broadcasts all over the Baltic states picked up those three songs and has been playing them in prime rotation ever since. It’s so unbelievable when you first discover, that half away across the world, people totally get and love your songs! So Velvet Door, Dare, and Like You Do will be on the full length album, set to be released in October.
Velvet Door is about a relationship with someone or something that has an addictive pull over your whole being. We begin each verse by describing the surroundings of a room where time has no limits— like a TV “midday movie on repeat” type of thing, an alternate reality behind this velvet door: a sort of Alice falls down the rabbit hole feeling.
Dare is about taking off your mask or whatever it is that’s holding you back and daring yourself or your lover to risk it all .
My drummer Nick Carbone who wrote Like You Do and co-produced the whole record describes it best: “Musically, I wanted to try something more simple than what we usually come up with. Lyrically, it’s about enjoying someone physically as if you’re in love, but knowing you’re not.”
As a female in rock, what are your favorite things about the genre?
Rock music first came into my life as a necessity at a time where I needed to channel this huge force of energy outwards. I was dealing with the loss of my father and I needed to release this primordial sound as I was screaming inside from anger and pain. It had to come out through rock and funk music because the chords and beats force your whole body to dig in and move. It’s incredibly powerful when drums, keys, guitar, bass, horns and vocals all come together and for a moment in time, you can explode into the ether of sound— completely unleashing natural endorphins for an extraordinary sober high. Rock music gets into the uncomfortable parts of your mind and soul and rumbles you to your core. At least in my life, it became my portal to expressing myself in my truest form with my truest voice.
What are your favorite things about your particular style of music? And what do you hope it gets across to listeners?
Our particular style of music is a combination of what I love most about funk music and rock n’ roll. Funk is bass-driven and all about rhythmic dance grooves with a whole lot of soul, jazz (which is full of expressionism, polyrhythms, call-and-response vocals) and even blues mixed in. You find these unexpected grooves and musical changes that make your body pulsate — you have to get up dance because that diggin’-in, deep bass line is just too good not to!
When I listen to some of the great rock albums of all time or go back and watch these artists’ full concerts on YouTube, let’s say Woodstock, there really is this essence of taking the listener on a journey — telling a story sonically and lyrically. It took me patience and awareness to stay true to the vision that inspires me — that is, live music with a full band and a female singing rock and funk. Our show now is about an hour and 15 minutes, essentially the full album. I see my vision reflected in audiences that are “into” our raw, unleashed, visceral, in-your-face-funk and rock, delivered by a woman in the lead, a place usually reserved for male rocker voices.
I have always wanted to remove boundaries and walls when we perform. I channel the bigger experience through my music. I call it the golden bubble. Can the audience and the performers go inside the glowing bubble together — where music becomes the air we all breathe, sharing equal feelings of inner strength and calmness, allowing us to fly together for a moment in time. It’s the most beautiful feeling in the world when people come up after shows and say, “You really took me on a journey and inspired me.” It’s everything to know you can touch other human beings with music because you completely unarmed yourself on stage, not protecting and freely giving what you feel inside. It allows other people to feel, to tap into their own feelings and that is just awesome to share.
Your sound is so reminiscent of Janis Joplin and Etta James — did you grow up listening to that style of music? Were you ever into anything opposite, like Britney Spears or Madonna?
I discovered Janis Joplin in my early teens along with other artists from that time period. I was given the documentary “Festival Express” by my music mentor Constance Hauman and then I saw the clip of Janis performing “Ball and Chain” at Monterey and was blown away. She really struck something deep within. Her truth leaped from the screen and punched me — holy hell — what is this human about? Then I followed Tina Turner and Ike, Otis Redding, Etta James, Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix. When I was much younger, I listened to Britney Spears, of course — my sister, our girlfriends performed the proverbial lip syncing to “… Baby, One More Time ” with full dance routines for grown ups at dinner parties. I’m sure we weren’t alone in that.
Your style is very Stevie Nicks-like — where do you pull your style inspiration from? What are some of your favorite style brands?
I’m inspired by eras of fashion — right now by the 60’s and 70’s icons like Prince with his Edwardian suits and ruffled shirts. Jimi Hendrix with his psychedelic silk blouses and bell bottoms. James Brown with his capes and Bootsy Collins’ star-studded leather kits. Parliament Funkadelic’s outrageous color combos.
What is your go-to outfit for a performance?
I collaborate on my stage outfits with an uber-talented man who calls himself Leatheracci. Back in the day, he had actually hand-made outfits for Rick James, The Rolling Stones and Cher. We affectionately call my look a “Detroit super-fly, funk matching kit.” It’s custom lace-up, studded leather — tight pants, vests, dusters and classic rocker boots — a hybrid of a man’s three-piece suit. I like to pair hard-core with delicate. From the top, flowy silk chiffon satisfies the songstress, poetess in me — and from the hips down, classic rocker. I leave my hair long and free because I like the movement around me on stage — it’s about feeling the super-fly, rock-me-baby, nitro-glycerin-infused energy around me.
What are you most looking forward to playing in the Hamptons? Do you plan to play anything from the new album?
I’m really looking forward to playing the whole album! We’ve had some really good feed back from our tour in the Baltics, playing at festivals. The response to the full album live was really special. They totally got our vibe and responded incredibly to the story — to the concept of a full, connected body of work.
What can we expect from the new album? Any teasers or glimpses you can give us?
As of now, you can listen to three tracks as a preview of the full album on the EP “Dare” on Spotify and iTunes. The full album is titled “Bad Get Some” and it’s an up-close, in- your-face punch: the good, bad and the ugly stuff of my trip down the road with men, women, sex, drugs, loss of innocence, and innocence regained that happens in a journey of discovery.
What’s the best thing about being a female in the rock universe?
Being able to connect with a wildly divergent audience. For example, on my recent tour in Europe, after the show, this teenage girl with braces came running up to the merch table, smiling ear-to-ear and touched me deeply by saying, “You’re my role model.” A couple minutes later, a huge, burly man with tattoos all over his arms and neck approached and lifted up his shirt yelling, “Sign my chest!” It’s so gratifying to see this huge diversity and its empowering to know a female in this rock universe, as you call it, can touch all these different people and empower them in their own right.
What’s next for you?
We are really gearing up for the release of our debut record album “Bad Get Some” to be released on all digital platforms and vinyl/CD this fall. We recorded it in Detroit Michigan’s iconic United Sound Studio: recording home toEarth, Wind & Fire; George Clinton, Parliament Funkadelic and The Red Hot Chili Peppers. We’re locking down dates in the fall through next year for touring back in Europe and the States to promote the record. And we never stop jamming, starting new jams for a second record…
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Photos by Elizabeth Fisher