Bittersweet and like a dream, Violette Wautier’s lyrics tell everyone’s stories
Howdy and welcome to We’re Listening, a piping hot new Wonder column made specifically for putting up-and-coming artists on your radar. Unlike our curated playlist, Wonder Fresh, and artist all-around creative spotlight, Industria, We’re Listening zeroes in on one artist and takes a tour of their brain: their influences, their favorites, their everyday. First in the lineup: Violette Wautier.
By nature and by nurture, humans crave connection. It’s habitual, a pattern ingrained deep in our DNA: we seek alikeness that can connect us to the next person. We yearn for representation in the characters we watch and the media we consume, searching for common threads that sew our stories to theirs. We look for ourselves in the music we listen to—and that’s where we find Violette Wautier.
Being called Asia’s Rising Star comes with its fair share of expectations, but the Thai-Belgian songstress is slowly but surely earning her stripes. To date, Violette has earned the title of Thai artist with most views on an English song with her 2018 single, Smoke. Her music videos consistently rake in more than a million views. Proving that the universe most definitely has its favorites, she can act, too, and is all set to play a role in One for the Road, a film produced by Wong Kar Wai.
A couple of weeks prior to our conversation, Violette played storyteller and released I’d Do It Again, an achingly honest anthem that expresses the post-breakup feelings we all have trouble wringing out on our own. Laid down to a thrumming beat and punctuated with all the feelings breakups inevitably bring, I’d Do It Again was the last single she released prior to conquering an even more exciting milestone.
Fast forward to June, Violette went on to release her first studio album, Glitter & Smoke. Years in the making, the album is a chronicle of Violette’s flirtation with sound, her affinity for emotion, her growth as an artist. But don’t just take our word for it. Ahead, Violette dives into her past, present and future, and discloses which cathartic track from her new album she looks forward to performing most.
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Wonder: Let’s start off with some nostalgia, shall we? Appearing as a four-chair-turner on Thailand’s rendition of The Voice was arguably your first big break in music. How has your life changed since then?
Violette: I got a career afterwards! I was only in my sophomore year of university when I was on The Voice and everything changed. People started to know me, coming to my shows. Before, singing was just a hobby to me. Writing music was just a hobby to me. But it has become everything to me now.
W: You used to be under a music label, but you’ve since gone independent. Were you already writing your own music even when you were signed to a label?
Violette: Yes, I did. I used to write music but, when I was with the label, they would say they’d prefer me to make Thai music because my fan base was in Thailand. I didn’t release my English stuff until I became independent. Now, I’m back with the label again, because the team has changed and I feel really confident with the new team.
W: Prior to your latest single, you released Brassac, Monster, Smoke and Drive. How does I’d Do It Again differ from your past singles?
Violette: This one is way more pop. The story is different; the perspective of the storytelling is different because I know I’ve grown so much while making this album. This is one of the songs that I felt mature writing, looking back at a relationship and seeing it from a different perspective.
W: Moving on to the present; in a couple of hours, you’re releasing the fan video MV of I’d Do It Again. This is the first time you’re doing a fan video like this, so what made you decide to involve fans in this way for this single?
Violette: When I released this song, I received a lot of messages from fans and from friends saying this song is literally their life. They’ve been through that. This is their life! So I thought maybe this song is not my song anymore; it’s everyone’s song. The team thought it should be everyone’s song by letting everyone tell their own stories.
W: Your debut album, Glitter & Smoke, was just released. What has the process of working on a full album been like for you?
Violette: I had no idea how hard it was. Not just making it possible physically but also mentally. You would critique yourself, go back and forth and doubt yourself. Every kind of emotion was overwhelming. It’s good, it’s bad, it’s every emotion. But through it all, I finally did it and I am proud of this album because that was my entire life. I put in my soul, my sweat, my…ugh. I feel really excited for it to come out and to let everybody hear it. I mean, at some point I was like, “Maybe I should keep this to myself?” But who cares! Let’s just move on. Let’s put it out and see what everyone has to say about it.
W: How long did it take you in total to write and complete the album?
Violette: I’d say I started around two and a half years ago.
W: That’s a long time.
Violette: Yeah, that’s a long time! I had so many things going on in my life. I was juggling acting and things like that. Also, there’d be times when you’re kind of stressed out because you’re so into it that you don’t see anything else anymore. It’s just too much. It’s intense, so you need some time off. Like, “Okay, I need to back up a little, I need a break and I’ll come back to it later.” Although I had a lot of fun making it as well.
W: Is there a particular track off the album you’re most attached to/like the most? Why?
Violette: I can’t really pick one. I feel like they’re all my children and I can’t have a favorite child.
W: In that case, you really can’t just pick one!
Violette: I can’t really pick one. But one of the songs that I would be very excited to perform live is All That I Can Do. This song is almost like a celebration song for the album itself, saying it’s finally done. It was made to be performed live.
W: After everything that’s been happening, finally having the opportunity to perform this song live is going to be amazing.
Violette: Yeah, but I don’t know when that will be.
W: You sing, you act, you’re on Tiktok. What’s next? Is there anything you want to try, whether for fun or for your career?
Violette: No, I just want to make more music. Probably gonna experience more sounds and try those areas, like maybe putting this kind of sound or this kind of music into my songs. Then we’ll see what happens.
Stream Glitter & Smoke, out on all major music platforms.
Special thanks MCA Music Inc.
Art Alexandra Lara