TheVine interview: “Havana Brown — ‘If I’d stayed the same I wouldn’t be here'”, May 2013

An interview for TheVine with Los Angeles-based Australian DJ and musician, Havana Brown. Excerpt below.

hb_07-shot-07_0660 (low res)It seemed only yesterday Havana Brown was grafting about Australia like any number of local DJs who do so on a month-to-month basis. Fly away for a gig on Friday, maybe return for a residency on Saturday, recover on Sunday, and spend the rest of the week plying a day job or working on your own productions. Rinse. Repeat.

But Brown had a couple of secret weapons in her arsenal: an impressive set of pipes and a talent for stagecraft. When she released her first single ‘We Run the Night’ in Australia just on two years ago, the song received mixed reviews but quickly gained traction in the clubs. It was ripe for a remix, and Pitbull and RedOne obliged, helping rework the song for an attack on the US market.

Add a video that was as dazzling as the song and suddenly Brown was everywhere, dominating the US dance charts. The Melbournian has been making hay ever since, basing herself in Los Angeles, releasing a brace of follow-up singles, and touring to all corners of the United States.

TheVine caught up with Brown during one of her frequent visits back to Australia, where she’s been busy promoting her winsomely ribald single, ‘Big Banana’. We wanted a debrief on the last few years, so discussed ancient UK record contracts, the early difficulties of DJing in Australia and life as a pop star in America, as well as using ‘Big Banana’ to flip the sexual innuendo on her male counterparts.

You’re based in Los Angeles but you’re back in Australia at the moment. How often do you get back here? 

I come back as often as I can, really. Obviously, when there’s something important that I really want to be a part of, I’ll come back and I’ll do that. It’s looking like every few months I’ll come back and do a bit of a round. I can’t keep myself away from Australia (laughs).

So whereabouts in Los Angeles are you living? Tell me about life there. 

I’m living in West Hollywood, and I love that area. And basically I’m in the studio a lot. But America’s so massive. It’s incredibly huge. You can come back to Australia and within two weeks you can visit everywhere you need to visit and do the shows you need to. But in America, you could be there for a year and still not visit everywhere you need to. It’s just unbelievable, and the vast difference between every city is unbelievable. So obviously being based there is very important, so I can do as much as I can over there, and tour as much as I can.

You enjoy West Hollywood, but does it feel like home to you? Do you feel settled?

Yeah, I do feel settled there. We’ve been going to the States for a few years now, and just recently we thought, “That’s going to be our base because there’s so much work there for me.” Also, I love being in the middle of this city where everyone’s in entertainment, everyone understands, everyone’s working their butts off, and anything is possible. I love being around that sort of feeling and I think it’s very inspiring. When I come back to Melbourne, my best friends – who I love dearly – they have nothing to do with the industry. They maybe don’t necessarily understand what I do (laughs), and how I get paid for that. But being surrounded by people in the industry is comforting and I like being inspired by the people.

Are you spending more time in the studio or touring? What’s the focus to build on the success of your singles?

I’m lucky, because I think I can do both. During the weekend is when I’m DJing: Thursday, Friday, Saturday. And that can be away. But earlier in the week, the daytimes I can spend in the studio. That tends to be the process, really. I’m successfully able to do both.

You’re in ever-greater demand on the stage – are you finding it harder to find time to work on the music?

Sometimes it can get a little intense if I’m touring a lot. But it’s always planned. I always think, “This time it’s going to be touring. I’m full-on with my touring and I’ll give myself that time to concentrate on that.” But then there are other times: I’ll go back to L.A. now, and it will be more studio-based and I’ll be in the studio from Monday through to Thursday. And on the weekends I’m still going away working, but then I come back and I’m in the studio and I’m pretty lucky that I’m be able to plan that. This is definitely part of the plan, to go back to the studio, because I want to finish off my album. We’ve decided that it’s time for an album and I feel ready to put together a full-length album.

For the full article, visit TheVine.

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