An intriguing mix of Bradford and Columbia, singer-songwriter Vanessa Forero has been composing since the age of nine. She has mainly written film/TV scores and songs for other artists, but since being selected in 2015 by Brit award singer-songwriter Beth Orton to write with and perform at her UK show, Forero decided to become her own artist and record her own songs in her gutsy Indie/Folk style with Latino influences.
The songstress is also a bestselling author, having co-written the book on her mother’s extraordinary life “The Girl With No Name”, for which National Geographic made the feature documentary “Woman Raised By Monkeys”. Having spent several months filming out in Colombia, Forero re-connected to her Latin roots and was exposed to a whole new music scene there, all of which inspired her to produce songs with upbeat rhythms on Colombian skin-drums and other South American instruments.
Forero is a skilled multi-instrumentalist as well as a producer, composer, arranger and vocalist. She is also passionate about working with women in the industry and uses as many girls where possible, from the percussionists to the music-video directors.
The strong opening track, Heaven Knows, starts in traditional folk music style with an acoustic guitar accompaniment, but adds layers of instruments, and a vocal with momentum. It’s a signal that this isn’t your run-of-the-mill simplistic folk record, but one that resonates with deeper complexity.
Her new single ‘Same Boat’ is a song about those times when you want something but timing has the last say, “same boat different tide.” Ah the eternal problem of life – not only meeting the right person, but meeting them at the right time. The song features playfully played native Latin instruments like the charango, cuatro, Colombian hand drums, even a real marimba for some watery ripples.
I’ll Be Wrong Again again starts gently, but has a lusciously melodic and harmonious agreeableness about it. Raven is probably my favourite track – the opening watery sounds remind me of Justin Timberlake’s Cry Me A River. The instrumentation is individually beautiful, but is fitted together with craft to build a rich musical piece, in an almost Mike Oldfield Tubular Bells way. I particularly like the electric guitar finale. The EP ends with Bonus Track Anhela (meaning to yearn or long for), beautifully and breathlessly delivered in Spanish, a final statement of Vanessa’s exoticness. I wouldn’t normally call myself a fan of folk music, but I’m impressed with the rainbow of rich textures created on the EP, and think that Vanessa is one talented lady, with a range of life and musical experiences to draw upon to create something different and refreshing.
From The Uproar is out now on Magpie Recordings.