Arjan Timmermans, the creator of the successful pop music blog ArjanWrites.com, has a solution for the ordinary listening party.
" 'Artist #Talk' is all about spotlighting an artist and diving deep. It's a tweet-up-meets-gallery talk-meets in-studio. It's a modern fresh new take on the traditional listening party- not just playing the music, but having the artist talk about the music."
On Tues. Oct. 25, ArjanWrites.com and co-sponsor HP welcomed UK pop singer V V Brown to Manhattan's Dylan's Candy Bar for the second installment of Arjan's series. A collection of cultural insiders (including representatives from MTV and Huffington Post) gathered in the Willy Wonka-style candy shop for an intimate question-and-answer session with Brown, followed by a four-song sampling of her upcoming sophomore album, "Lollipops & Politics," due in early 2012 via Capitol.
Prior to the event, the "Shark In The Water" star discussed her recent, socially-conscious work:
"I feel like I've grown up; I want to talk about real stuff. I don't want to talk about love on this album much. I'm in a good relationship and I find it really hard to write about love when I'm in love. So why not politics?"
Already having scored an American hit with 2009's "Shark In The Water," Brown discussed the differences between breaking new music in America, versus her native U.K.:
"(In England) we have literally 2 radio stations that make a difference. Every state in America has a different culture. In the UK you get a window of 6 weeks, in America, it takes more time… You have to accept that journey where it might take four or five months."
Brown's new single, "Children," features rapper Chiddy of the duo Chiddy Bang. Along with art directors Ed Gill and Daniel Price, Brown recently shot a DIY-inspired video for the song, featuring ordinary people they came across on the streets of Los Angeles. Brown also completed a recent mixtape, "The Playground," to promote her new music.
"I've been blogging about V V Brown for a long time," explained Arjan. "Because I have a bit of a relationship with her, I thought she'd be great for the interview because she'd maybe share some details she wouldn't share with other people."
"For HP, music enthusiasts represent a culture that any brand would want to be associated with from a product-marketing perspective," said HP's Mark Budgell. "We have a specific set of products designed for the people who are here today. When Arjan brought this idea to us, it was a no brainer. In drawing up the guest list, we looked for the online megaphones. While the event just finished, the conversation is just getting started."
Arjan plans to continue the series, with artists like Will.i.am, Tiesto, and Far East Movement on his self-described "wish list." The first installment featured British rapper Tinie Tempah at New York's Cooper Square Hotel.
Also on hand were EMI Music digital marketing manager Meredith Gardner and Nathalie Levey, who promotes Brown via the NY/LA-based agency Cornerstone. Her other current projects include Peter Gabriel's "New Blood" and Tony Bennett's "Duets II."