Home-grown Heroes

Vanessa Fernandez is making killer moves with her music

Singer, songwriter and electronic artist Vanessa Fernandez, 35, has been actively making music under various guises over the last two decades.

Her most recent release, the Mindkiller EP, is the second under her nom de guerre Vandetta and is her follow-up to the self-titled EP released in 2013.

The five-track release, which has a title inspired by 1965 science-fiction literary classic Dune, features collaborations with other home-grown acts such as Perk Pietrek, Fauxe and Chris Ho.

A music video for one of the tracks, Onz, was released recently.

Fernandez first made her name as part of hip-hop groups Urban Xchange and Parking Lot Pimp in the late 1990s and early 2000s and is also part of audio-visual collective Syndicate as well as electronic duo Octover.

Formerly the assistant programme director at Mediacorp radio station Lush 99.5FM, which ceased transmission at the end of August, she now presents a series on home-grown music called Singapore Sounds on another Mediacorp station, 938 Live, and runs her own record label, Ownself Records.

Singer, songwriter and electronic artist Vanessa Fernandez's new EP, Mindkiller, is about conquering fear in relation to creating music.
Singer, songwriter and electronic artist Vanessa Fernandez’s new EP, Mindkiller, is about conquering fear in relation to creating music. PHOTO: LENNE CHAI

Tell us in 100 words or fewer what your new release, the Mindkiller EP, is all about.

It's a collection of songs I wrote to remind myself to keep making music no matter what and without any other intention than expressing myself and improving my craft.

Fear, which is the mindkiller, is the greatest hurdle to this so in essence, the EP is about conquering fear in relation to creating music.

Who is the audience of these songs?

Generally anyone who's into pop R&B. Also Singaporean musicians or people in the scene who follow what I do.

In writing songs to motivate myself, I also felt, in a way, that motivating or inspiring others would be a by-product, although that was not an initial intention.

In 10 years' time, how might you think of these songs?

I approach all my projects concept first. In other words, they have to have a deeper meaning in relation to the context I'm experiencing at the time.

I find approaching music this way makes it more lastingly meaningful for me as an artist because it's not about being trendy.

So in 10 years' time, I will look at this project and remember what a crazy journey I overcame at the time it was released as I had to manage shutting down Lush concurrently. It also marked the beginning of a return to music, which I'm sure will turn out to be fulfilling and sustainable.

•Home-grown Heroes is a regular music column that features Singapore and Singapore-based artists and musicians and their new works.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 18, 2017, with the headline 'Making killer moves with her music'. Print Edition | Subscribe