Meet Velvet Bloom, a Melbourne music project founded by Maddy Herbert
Written by Freya Stockman
Velvet Bloom was the winning entry for ONTAP’s latest Recording Package Giveaway, a huge testament to her talent given the number of entries we received. However, I’m not too sure who was luckier, Velvet Bloom for winning the giveaway, or the ONTAP team for winning the opportunity to hang out with her! It's a tough one to call but one thing is absolutely for certain, Velvet Bloom can sing!
Scroll to the bottom of the editorial to check out our full interview with Velvet Bloom, as well as an exclusive live performance of 'Isobel's Song'.
The Winning Entry
The track that secured Velvet Bloom as the winner of ONTAP’s giveaway, titled 'Isobel’s Song', is an anthem about having enough respect for yourself to move forward when something isn’t working.
The ONTAP team and I were lucky enough to experience an intimate and stripped-back rendition of this song which she performed for us live in the studio. Nothing could mentally prepare me for the skin tingling goose bumps that arise when this soulful chick’s vocals tickle your ear drums for the very first time. An experience that was amplified by the moody red lighting illuminating ambient smoke surrounding Velvet Bloom as she sang behind the dark silhouetted free-standing microphone. She absolutely oozes soul in her vocals, guitar, and her musical style – this girl is truly a genuine vibe.
But WHO is Velvet Bloom you ask?
You might be surprised to learn that the face of this Melbourne-based music project actually goes by the name Maddy Herbert, a female artist born and bred along the Mornington Peninsula. Don’t worry if you accidentally call her Velvet though, it's a pretty common occurrence which she has grown to love! Originally, this project was known as ‘Bloom’, however, ‘Velvet’ felt like an appropriate addition as her musical style evolved to become “smooth and texture driven”. Maddy describes Velvet Bloom as an alter ego, helping her to protect her sense of autonomy within the music industry.
Maddy first got her feet wet in the music scene when she was only five years old, after her mum enrolled her in singing classes and purchased a guitar in her early teens – Cool mum alert! Her obsession with music slowly grew until she was soon performing on stage at open-mic nights, family events, and even some weddings. It hasn’t been an easy transition, but Maddy is pretty stoked to be able to say that she's now officially a full-time muso, playing gigs all across Victoria - cue the applause! Maddy: “It was scary but I’m so thankful that I did it!”
Velvet Bloom has experienced huge growth already in 2019 with her recent launch of Isobel’s Song and Teach Ya, as well as multiple collaborations with other musicians. Jamo and Morning Maxwell are two of Maddy’s most significant collaborators as they write a lot of music together and are also extremely close friends.
The Creative Process
Maddy regularly teams up with her good friends, Vito Collective, as part of her song writing process. She typically creates a melody, lyrics, and guitar strings, and the band then brings all the ingredients together to create a Velvet Bloom track. Vito Collective comprises of Alex Marko (lead guitarist), Anthony Rennick (bassist), Nic Morton (drummer), Noah Hunter-Dorsey (keys / backing vocalist) and Shani Turner (backing vocalist). Most of Vito Collective and Velvet Bloom go way back to high school however, Alex was a late addition to the group when he agreed to fill in for a show in 2017.
The majority of songs written by Maddy have been shaped by personal experiences in one way or another, whether it be from her perspective or another’s point of view. For example, her recent track Teach Ya relates to recent pressure/stressors which led to the realisation that we all need to be kind to ourselves more often. When it comes to lyrical styles of other artists, Maddy is most inspired by the likes of Bon Iver, Amy Winehouse, Freddy Mercury, Sampa the Great, Lauryn Hill… the list goes on! Maddy: “Each of these creatives resonate with me on a deeper level than most” - Feels girl!
As much as I enjoyed meeting Maddy, I was disappointed to learn that she had never named her instruments before. It left a bit of a sour taste in my mouth, but I'm sure I will learn to live with it. Rennick from Vito Collective has though – I’m sure Gloria the guitar would have been good friends with Tiffany my trombone from high school.
Velvet Bloom on Stage – It’s a Vibe
In terms of live shows, Velvet Bloom is a massive advocate for creating a safe and respectful environment free of judgement, giving fans freedom to express themselves as much as she does on stage. Maddy: “At our shows, our sound is our biggest priority, so listen to the music and let it take you on a journey”. One thing in undoubtedly certain, you will be blown away by Velvet Bloom’s spine-tingling vocals and calming energy.
So, what is the strangest thing that has ever happened at Velvet Bloom’s shows you ask? Imagine standing in the mosh at Baha’s, a coastal venue in Rye, listening to Velvet Bloom perform one of their slower songs called Quicksand. When suddenly, you see a vibrant and wonderfully zany 50-year-old man wearing a ball gown, persuading everyone nearby in the room to dance with him. Personally, I would have happily obliged if he offered me the chance. And while this scenario is wildly absurd and amusing, it really is a tribute to the warm and inviting atmosphere that you can expect to experience when attending a Velvet Bloom gig.
Plans for the Future
So far, 2019 has been off to a rocking start for Velvet Bloom and winning ONTAP’s giveaway is definitely evidence of that. But what about the rest of 2019? Maddy: “You can expect a music video, lots of live performances and potentially new music as well as collaborations”. However, Velvet Bloom don’t like to think too far ahead, otherwise you may just miss a crazy wonderful yet unexpected opportunity. Maddy: “Life is precious and it creates lots of obstacles. I’d prefer to take things as they come and enjoy all of the amazing opportunities that come our way”. Well said Maddy, you’re not wrong there!
Velvet Bloom kicked off the start of their east coast tour recently on May 31st which will take them from Sydney (venue: Byron Old Bar) to Mornington (venue: Gods Kitchen). Tickets are limited though, so be sure to snap some up if you want to indulge in goose bumps and skin tingling, the result of the magical synergy that Velvet Bloom offers its audiences.
A New Friendship with ONTAP!
The love between the ONTAP team and Velvet Bloom was unmistakeable while filming her performance on set at our warehouse studio. It was such a relaxed and fun atmosphere, everyone keen to contribute and make some engaging art. Maddy: “We had an amazing time and I’m really looking forward to showing everyone the outcome! We are so happy that you chose us to be a part of this experience”. The feeling is mutual Maddy – not to mention the banter was exceptional.
We love reaching out and helping upcoming artists just like Velvet Bloom grow through creative experiences. Maddy seemed to agree with us: “ONTAP provides amazing opportunities for musicians and venues and we can't wait to play our next show using their services”. Thanks for the kind words legend, it warms our hearts to hear that ONTAP is making a difference in an industry renowned for being difficult to break into. Something tells me that this will not be the last time we see a collaboration between the ONTAP team and Velvet Bloom.
You can check out the music video we produced with Velvet Bloom performing her new songs titled Isobel’s Song and Teach Ya (coming soon) below!
Thanks for reading everyone, don’t stop expressing yourself!