Valerie Broussard on How London Influences Her Style and Sound
Valerie Broussard is a singer songwriter from Philadelphia by way of London and New York City. Her operatic sound and sweeping vocal melodies will totally transport you. She’s currently working on her debut album so we caught up with her about her life ’til now.
You grew up in the US and moved to London at 18 — what’s the state of your accent now?
My accent is still definitely still American. It might not have as much of Philadelphia in it as it used to though. One of my friends recently referred to my accent as “a newscaster accent.” Though I will admit to the occasional British inflection, especially after I’ve had a drink or two.
What do you prefer when dating: British or American accent? Why?
I think I realized rather quickly that a British accent doesn’t mean a man is Prince Charming. I’ve heard a few too many bad pickup lines down the pub on a Friday night to let the accent affect my judgment! That said, I do have a soft spot for Scottish accents specifically, I have absolutely no idea why.
What’s a surprising similarity between pop and opera?
Hooks! There was a time when opera was pop and the human ear has always loved a hook. The Queen of the Night’s aria from “The Magic Flute” is a great example, just about everyone has heard it and knows it because it’s so catchy! Same goes for Habenera from Carmen, and anyone who has ever been on hold with British Airways knows how the Flower Duet from Lakme can get stuck in your head.
You’ve traveled so much, which city has had the biggest influence on your personal style and why?
That’s easy – London. It was in London that I first developed a personal style, I was out on my own for the first time and I had the chance to truly discover things for myself. So I traded in sneakers for oxfords and knee-high boots, high school sweatshirts became trench coats, and I never looked back. London made me feel sophisticated and classy, it still does, but it is also a town with an edge and that was perfect for me.
Which city has had the biggest influence on your music and why?
Once again I’m going to have to say London! The artists who inspired me most came into my life while I was there, but I also met people who pushed me. The producer who first encouraged me to explore the world of baroque pop works out of Tileyard Studios in King’s Cross. I go back whenever I can because I believe the scene is really strong and the people I work with always take me out of my comfort zone. Recently though I have had a lot of inspiration in Los Angeles, I’ve done some of my best work out there in the last few months. After falling in love with the clouds and the river and the rain in London, I never thought dry, sunny LA would also win a place in my heart.
Are there any new musical releases you’re especially excited about this spring?
I was eagerly anticipating the new Everything Everything album that just came out at the end of February, I love those guys, and in my humble opinion they are one of the most interesting and intelligent bands out there at the moment. It’s been a great start to March too, first Kendrick Lamar’s brilliant new album and now at the end of this week there will be new Jeff Buckley after almost 20 years. I think Rufus Wainwright’s Take All My Loves: 9 Shakespeare Sonnets is going to be incredibly cool too. I’m a big Shakespeare fan and I’m excited to see that Rufus is collaborating with Marius de Vires again.
What are your favorite spring trends to try?
It seems like shoulder cut-outs are big this season, which is cool. I love the idea of a conservative neckline paired with a revealing shoulder and back silhouette. I’ve also seen a lot of interesting takes on the classic white shirt. Lets be honest, I am nearly always in black and I’m actually excited to get into a white shirt for once! Lastly there has been a lot of love for super-dark lips these days, apparently this is a surprising trend for spring but I’m delighted by it. That is my year-round go-to going out look. When you’re as pale as I am you may as well embrace the vampire look and nothing makes me feel as cool as a leather jacket and red wine colored lipstick. Not to be confused with the color your lips turn after drinking too much red wine…though if someone were to declare that a trend I could probably make the sacrifice.