Go VVVOOM with VaVa
by Eric Chase
Bitmap: What is your birth name & how did you come up with Vava Voom?
When I first came to the states I was fascinated by those great American English slang terms. You'll never learn that good stuff in English class over there, haha. Those terms are super interesting to me and a lot of time hilarious if you think about how they came up with them. Anyway, when I heard the term VaVa Voom I loved the sound of it but had no idea what it meant. I got all excited when they explained it to me and knew this is a perfect artist name for me.
My birth name is Bernadette Höhn. Would you have guessed that name if you looked at me? haha
Bitmap: Where were you born?
I was born and raised in Zürich, Switzerland . It's beautiful there but I am all excited about America now.
Bitmap: Did you move around at all when you were a child?
I didn't move around until I was 18. Then I moved to another city called Lucerne and back to Zürich. And now obviously LA part time.
Bitmap: What is your earliest memory of music?
Playing the violin with my brothers on Christmas. We always prepared songs for our relatives to present to them. And then everybody sang together and my parents sometimes played piano or guitar. good times
Bitmap: When did you decide you wanted to be a musician?
I started playing violin when I was 3 years old and went to the Zürich opera children choir since age 7. So I was on stage almost every week singing classical songs. Later, I played piano and then guitar. I also sang in a gospel choir and a rock band. You see, my life was full of music. But to become an artist, I decided when I was 13. Then I got the chance to stay on stage with Celine Dion in front of 44'000 people which was amazing. I loved this energy and I thought it was beautiful how you can inspire people with your music and create these moments of life - full of emotions.
Bitmap: Have you ever been part of a performing group?
If so, tell me about it. I've never been a part of performing group, but my friends an I used to play shows and pretended to be the Spice Girls all the time haha. I was Sporty Spice haha!!
Bitmap: Who influenced you as an artist?
I love all these big female pop voices like P!nk, Lady Gaga, Katy Perry. Also because they are such amazing live performers and when you go to a concert they sing 2-3 hours live, it's one of these concerts that you will never forget!Also for songwriting I would say the band Coldplay is a great inspiration to me as well. Each song is a hit and I love them all! A lot of great positive messages!
Bitmap: What do you consider to be most unique about your music?
I guess of course my voice and also I can bring the world a little bit Swissness :-) But combined with international pop music.
Bitmap: What effect would you like to have on the musical scence?
The greatest effect you can have as an artist is to spread a message, I believe. Great songs have a message. You are able to talk about it in interviews and at concerts. I definitely want to combine amazing songs with inspiring fun positive messages. Life can be so frustrating and a lot of people would not follow their dreams because other people talk them out of it. I want to encourage people to follow their dreams, think big, think positive, enjoy life. I have a heart for teens and if music can also open doors to invest myself into these teens who others gave up on, I would love to take that effort and would try to motivate them to see life from a different perspective.
Bitmap: Where do you see yourself in the next years?
I came so far and I am so grateful for that. I believe in the impossible. Transferring to the states is what we are working on now, so I see myself being an artist in America. Writing Songs, Recording songs, producing, going on tour and hopefully climbing the charts because of people liking my music.
Bitmap: What influence would you like to have on future artists?
Hopefully I can write songs like all these artist that you listen to 20 or 30 years later and their songs are still hits. They remind you of what you experienced with them.
Bitmap: What does "success" mean to you?
Success is the what you learn on the journey of life. Fame to me is what you get sometimes if you want to do music but it doesn't define success. When you work hard and chase your dreams, then every step that goes into the right direction is success. You can enjoy each moment until you've reached your goal and then find a new goal to chase.
Bitmap: What is the greatest success one can achieve?
To love others more than oneself
Bitmap: Who is your role model?
Jesus. Cheesy? It's true though.
Bitmap: What quality do you most admire in another person?
Love, of course, and humbleness because it's the basis for so many other great things like thankfulness, serving others, helping others, showing respect, being happy with what you have, what you do and who you are.
Bitmap: What motivates you to continue chasing your dreams?
Music is my passion. And if I think that I'd be able to touch hearts with music and create these emotions and maybe cheer somebody up with a song or inspire and encourage them, or just simply make them dance after a hard week then this is something that definitely motivates me. That's the effect music has on me.
And another reason is that life is so short and valuable. You can never go back. I never want to be old and regret that I didn't try to do what I love. I want to enjoy life's every moment, even in the down points. It's about the journey and each season has it's beauty. It's Important how you view and think about it.
Bitmap: What is your greatest achievement/proudest moment?
My greatest achievement is personally the way I think today. I spend a lot of time with books about how you can decide what you think. Thinking big and never giving up. Enjoying each moment. This is of course a life time project and I will have to continue it for the rest of my life.
And career wise; like I said, I believe in the impossible. I don't know any artist recently from Switzerland that was on billboard or on vevo front page or played on US radio stations. Coming from this little country, where everybody tells you, you cannot make it in the states, I am so grateful for this and see it as a big achievement. I love America and appreciate all the love form the people here. So thank you BiTMap magazine for this interview!!
Bitmap: What would you describe as "the hardest time in my life?"
The time my parents split up when I was 13. I heard them fighting through the walls a lot and then my father left at some point. I have a great relationship with both of them today but in that age it was hard to understand what was going on. I remember myself crying in the bed praying to the Lord that they would not split up and my dad would stay or come back.
Bitmap: Tell me about an experience when you felt inspired?
When I first came to New York, I was walking through those very busy streets like 5th avenue, or grand central with my head phones on like these slow motion scenes in the movies.Thats how I felt trying to walk against the stream. Always sidestepping and then with this coldplay song in my ears I felt like I was dancing through the people traffic. Ending up in the studio that day I wrote a song called 'people traffic' and even though it's a old song today, I still love it when I listen to it nowadays, taking me back to my very first New York experience.
Bitmap: What do you love most about yourself–about who you are?
Years ago I was like a lot of people, not happy with my figure, my character, my whatever. Then I thought, I talk to myself everyday in my thoughts. If I have to spend the most of my time with myself for the rest of my life I better get along great with myself and rather encourage myself than telling myself how imperfect i am, over and over again. So I do love the decision that I made to love myself just the way I am. So I am able to love others, because what you don't have you cannot give away.
Bitmap: Do you have any pastimes or hobbies, outside of music?
I travel a lot so on the road I do spend a lot of time with inspirational audiobooks. Right now I am listening to "the master key'. That's an amazing book about creative thinking.
Bitmap: What impact do you believe the internet has had on your musical career?
The internet changed not just my career but the whole music industry. You are able to present yourself now to the world through a website, social media, youtube videos, songs on soundcloud, people find you through google. I think this the opportunity that opened doors for every artist coming super far even without a label. I am taking this chance and try to go at least 80% by myself and this was not possible without internet I think.
Bitmap: In your opinion, what is the biggest problem with the music industry?
My question would be, why do you see a problem? Listen to the radio, there are a great talents out there right now. Everybody wants to be a star, of course there are stories of disappointed people and frustrated people. But thanks to the internet you are not depending on a few key persons anymore. But the beauty nowadays is that everybody has the chance to create a song or product that spreads itself on the internet, if it's something that everybody loves.
Bitmap: Any other obstacles that you had to overcome?
The biggest obstacles in life I believe are the obstacles in your thought process. I had to change my way of thinking radically. To know that you can decide what you think and therefore try to think positive in every situation was life changing and helped me to overcome many obstacles in my career. I don't think I would have made it so far without that revelation. And the mentality of America influenced me of course as well. Anything is possible in the land of the free. I love America!
Bitmap: So you worked with Sean Kingston, what's the story behind that?
When we recorded Supersonic in LA we thought that it would be cool to have another artist on the track who would bring a different element to the song but would still be pop. We thought of Sean Kinston and sent him the song. He really liked it because he recorded his part and sent it back a couple of days. We were so happy with the result because he has so much style and I love his voice. It was even more exciting to finally meet him on the set.
Bitmap: What was it like to work on a full length music video with him?
Working with Sean Kingston on the set was really exciting. He is such a gentleman and so funny. When we shot the video we did a fun tour through two of the greatest cities in the world, LA and Vegas ending at a party with Sean, where I also find the guy that makes my heart go boom boom boom :-) While Sean and I were performing on the set, I saw the two of us on the little playback screen and I had a surreal moment. I am very blessed to be able to work with a guy like Sean and am really happy to see that he is such a lovely person.
Bitmap: Which artist would you like to work with in the future? and Why?
I'd say Drake because I love his music and his lyrics. He's inspiring to me. Or, Coldplay. I would love to see their writing process and be in the studio with them. And I would love to discuss about lyrics and come up with great lines together.
Bitmap: Any other information about yourself that you'd like to share?
I am Swiss, so you should know that I can yodel a bit haha. I should post a video on my website vavavoomonline.com. If you guys want to follow me on Twitter, Facebook or Instagram, it's all @vavavoomonline.