Pour Vous -- Producer Johnny What & Actress Christa Allen -- Drop First Single 'The Flood': Exclusive

Pour Vous
Photographed by Drew Pluta/Styled by Joey Tierney

Pour Vous

Producer Johnny What (Braves, Raffaella) and actress Christa Allen (Revenge, 13 Going on 30) have only been musically collaborating for about five months, but they’ve already created tunes that are likely to keep people talking for a while.

The pair first worked together -- he as the director, she as the star -- on the music video for “Me the Thief” by songwriter-producer unit Braves, a trio comprising What and fellow members JHERICO and Thorald of the Wood. About a year after the shoot, What and Allen began dating, and once he started hearing Allen sing in the shower, he got the idea of making music with her. “I was like, ‘Oh man, she has a really powerful voice,’” he recalls. “I saw immediately an opportunity to create a really cool project.”

“We were both waiting for the right moment to pop the question” about collaborating, concurs Allen. “We both wanted to do it, and then one of us finally one night [asked], ‘Should we do it? Should we write a song together?’”

The result was Pour Vous, which produces a pop/trip-hop blend influenced by acts like The Cure and Massive Attack. For someone who previously hadn't recorded professionally, Allen’s singing is sensual and confident. Her breathy voice is shrouded in lush, enigmatic soundscapes that vary from the throbbing “Enchante” to the click-clacking “Unicorn.”

Because their relationship largely informs their songs, “we’ve ended up with songs about sex and love and also the arguments you have and the struggles and tensions you have with it as a couple,” says Allen. Such conflicts were the impetus behind “The Flood,” a track about a breakup that, despite its somber theme, has a beat primed for the dancefloor. Allen — who will star in Lifetime movie The Queen of Sin that’s airing in the spring — says it was written after the couple had its first fight. “When you first start dating someone, everything’s perfect. You’re in that honeymoon phase,” she explains. “The first fight is like, ‘This is my person,’ you know? This is it, he’s my one, and the first fight feels like, ‘Oh my God, how can this be? How can we be having a fight? This is supposed to be perfect.’ ”

Billboard is exclusively premiering “The Flood” now. Listen to the track below:

What found it was a struggle when he experienced similar feelings while they wrote the song. “I was like, ‘Baby, this is making me sad…It seems really fucked up.’ It was interesting because Christa is an actress and she’s used to playing a role, and she’s like, ‘No baby, we’re just playing. This is just acting,’ and it made me feel a lot better. I can write a song about anything, but to write with the person you love about a breakup, it’s kind of hard to separate the two things in your mind.”

Despite those uncomfortable moments, What and Allen find their partnership as Pour Vous harmonious, although What — who’s currently producing artists like Noelle Scaggs from Fitz & The Tantrums and Allen’s Revenge co-star Emily Alyn Lind — calls himself “a bit like a stentorian dictator” when it comes to production and his opinions on the music and performance. “I put a lot of work into making the music itself, so I’m pretty opinionated in that way, and I’m also pretty sensitive when it comes to criticism.” He adds, “It’s a learning process where we get to know each other’s buttons and how to communicate in that specific setting. But Christa’s pretty much a dream to work with.”

For now, Pour Vous intends to independently release its material as singles instead of as an EP. It’s already lining up the premiere of its first video, which will be for the provocative song “Scorpio.” Allen, who stars in it, says, “Our decision to have me in it and to do it the way we did it was partially because of what’s happening in society right now [with the MeToo movement], and March is Women’s Month. We know that, if nothing else, it’s going to start a conversation, and I think that’s the most important thing.”