Vanessa Collier: «I’ve experienced a lot of road life in the last 5 years, different countries, different band mates, different cultures – and I think I’ve learned a lot about what kind of music I want to create»

Como maestra y multi-instrumentista, Vanessa Collier integra funk, soul, rock y blues en cada potente actuación. Con una voz conmovedora, su saxofón y una vena compositiva realmente ingeniosa, Vanessa se está abriendo camino, acumulando un impresionante arsenal de premios.

Cogió el saxofón por primera vez a los 9 años, y se embarcó en su camino hacia el reconocimiento en Berklee, obteniendo la doble titulación en Interpretación y Producción Musical. Mientras todavía estudiaba, Collier consiguió un puesto en la gira con Joe Louis Walker durante un año y medio, antes de que Joe la alentara a lanzarse por su cuenta. Y así lo hizo. 

No son simplemente los reconociomientos que ha acumulado hasta ahora (que han sido muchos: 3 nominaciones al Blues Music Award, una nominación al Blues Blast Award, el Jammingest Pro Award otorgado por el Legendary Rhythm & Blues Cruise,…), es el hecho de que ella ha ganado todos estos premios mientras su carrera todavía está comenzando. Se graduó en 2013 en la prestigiosa Berklee College of Music, ha girado nacional e internacionalmente, y publicado álbumes aclamados por la crítica. 

Hoy en día Collier pasa gran parte de su tiempo en la carretera, actuando en algunos de los festivales de música más prestigiosos del mundo y llevando su música y su saxo a todas las audiencias posibles.

Nuestro compañero Josechu Egido ha hablado con Vanessa Collier durante su gira española de 2019.

Vanessa Colluier – Honey up (2018)


The songs of Vanessa Collier sounds like an elegant R&B where I can detect Soul, Blues, Funk and bit of Jazz. A mix of styles that results on the personal and beautifulsound of your music. But, what are really your musical influences?

I’ve been influenced by a lot of people including Bonnie Raitt, Freddie King, James Brown, Cannonball Adderley, Coltrane, Tedeschi Trucks Band, The Wood Brothers, Snooks Eaglin, Professor Longhair, and even country artists like Leann Rimes, Vince Gill, and more. I mean, the list goes on and on because I’ve loved so many different artists.


This year marks 5 years since you edited our first album named “Heart Soul & Saxophone”. What is the difference between the music of Vanessa Collier today and your music 5 years ago?

I think what is different is just a bit more confidence in my own voice. I’ve experienced a lot of road life in the last 5 years, different countries, different band mates, different cultures – and I think I’ve learned a lot about what kind of music I want to create. But, what is the same is that I want my music to be representative of me and my voice, to make everybody feel good, and to be thoughtful and nuanced.


What’s your inspiration when making your songs?

Inspiration comes from all over! Sweatin’ Like A Pig, Singin’ Like An Angel comes from a phrase that I overheard at a show in South Carolina in the states, Bless Your Heart is a phrase I heard in Texas growing up, and Don’t Nobody Got Time to Waste is about a phrase my middle school band director used to say to us, “if you’re early, you’re on time; if you’re on time, you’re late; and if you’re late, you’re fired!” It has come from everywhere for me!


Are you completed your expectations with your last album “Honey Up”? What do you expect from this album?

«Honey Up» was the first record that I did completely 100% the way I wanted to do it. I worked with an engineer and a mix engineer that I love, in a studio that sounded amazing, with great musicians like Will Gorman, Laura Chavez, and Nick Stevens. It was released on my own label and I cut most of the vocals (except Love Me Like A Man which was cut live with the band in the studio), background vocals, saxophone parts, and a few of the solos at home. And I wrote 9 of the 10 songs on the record, so it’s very much a statement of the inner vision I had when I wrote these songs. I wasn’t sure how it would be received, but I was and am very, very proud of that record!



What do we will see and enjoy in your live concerts

Live concerts are the best for me because on a record, you want it to sound good and feel good, but in a live situation there is the added element of communicating with a crowd. There is palpable energy and we share it back and forth together. Expect a high energy show with a lot of heart and soul in every note.


This is your first time in Spain?. What do you expect from the Spanish crowd?

This is my first time in Spain!!! I have been so excited to come here and play some music and explore! I wasn’t sure what to expect because most other European countries I visited, the crowds are much quieter than in America, so I was surprised that many people were so openly fervent and supportive of the music we have been playing!


What are your plans for the rest of this year 2019 and next 2020? We assume that you will touring around clubs and festivals. Can you advance anything to us? Any important event? When new songs?

I will finish up this year with about 200 dates on the books for 2019, which is crazy and awesome! 2020 brings a lot of touring as well, a new record, and I hope some language learning! I’m working on the new record now and I’m excited to see what else is in store 🙂


What is your best memory about music?

I think studying with Chris Vadala for seven years is still my favorite. Every week, I’d come out of his office smiling and wanting to play just as beautifully and soulfully as he played. I felt every note he played, whether it be classical, jazz, funk, soul, etc. – he just had a way of expressing his heart through music that was unlike anyone I had heard before.


How is a normal day in the life of Vanessa Collier?

Normally, everything changes! If I’m home on Mondays and Tuesdays, I teach private saxophone lessons to about 25 students. Wednesday is usually a travel day or getting ready for the weekend tour. And most days, I begin with an Ayurvedic routine, yoga or stretching, and tons of water. Then, I’m either driving the van, catching up on sleep in the van so I can play the show that night, doing radio and press interviews, keeping up on social media, planning the next day’s travel and hotels, and then thinking about what’s next for me career-wise. I keep very busy!

If I’m home though, I usually hang out with my mom, sisters and my dogs, and I love to cook so I spend a lot of time in the kitchen. I love to hike and bike as well, so if I can get outdoors, I do! And then I usually end my day by playing piano and reading.

Just depends where I am, but everything is usually centered around staying healthy, being around family and good people, eating well, enjoying work, and resting.


What do you think about the current economic and social situation in EE.UU. and in the World in general?

I think I definitely don’t understand many things about the ways in which countries are run. I believe if you work hard, you should be able to make a good living as a middle class citizen and we’ve lost a lot of the middle class (in America, at least). I also believe that there are things that are just fair and equitable and our biases as human beings make it difficult for everyone to receive fair and equitable treatment. I wish that we would treat the Earth as a vital, ever-changing resource and stop taking more than we need in excess. But, overall, I see a lot of people making changes in how they live and we are beginning to become more aware of our own social, political, and economic issues and I think that means that we are hopeful and headed in the right direction.



Could you tell us about…

… A book?: I love the Harry Potter series!! And I just finished Malcolm Gladwell’s new book on this trip “Talking to Strangers” – it’s a must read!!

… A movie?: I love French cinema, largely because I’m still learning the language and also because it’s quirky.

… A song?: Recently, Donny Hathaway “I Love You More Than You’ll Ever Know” has been on my playlist. Love his voice and expression so much!

… An album?: One of my favorite albums is The Muse by The Wood Brothers! Such creative songwriting and stories and I love the group’s roots and play with stretching and pulling at the time.

… A group or soloist?: I love Sharon Jones and also Tedeschi Trucks Band. TTB and The Wood Brothers are two of my favorite live bands.

… A hobby?: I still love to play basketball and hike and bike in the outdoors. Playing piano is a favorite of mine too!