Vivian Sessoms is an accomplished recording artist, song writer and music producer who worked with everyone’s favorite artists including Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Patti Austin, Cher and Whitney Houston to name a few.
I was very lucky to have an opportunity to personally meet her and talk about music, fashion and life lessons. This Interview was conducted while Vivian Sessoms was overseas on her European tour. Her highly acclaimed album Life will be available this fall.
Natalie: Congratulations on your tour! I had a seat at the table when I met you! My husband and I arrived from Boston to New York City on a Friday night which happened to be the opening night for Vincent Gardner’s performance with Wynton Marsalis and the Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra. Belinda Munro-Gardner planned a lovely dinner at Cafeteria and I can still remember the decadent mac and cheese trio and rosè that I had.
Vivian Sessoms: I know, it was a great night wasn’t it? That mac & cheese trio at cafeteria is deadly!
Natalie: What goes into preparing for a world tour?
Vivian Sessoms: Quite a lot actually, it takes months and months of planning and sourcing. There are a few people who help me pull it all together, publicist, booking agents, club owners, musicians, my hubby who is also the musical director. It is a ton of work, but in the end it usually ends up being a lot of fun and very rewarding which is the reason why I think people do it, although I can really only speak for myself. But it allows you to get in touch with the people who love music and support you and you able to connect with new friends and supporters in such an incredible way. When all goes well it’s a real high, being able to get your music and message to people.
Natalie: I see the love that your fans give you, they are eager to post videos of your performance. A lot of work goes into to keep the worldwide buzz going. How do you do it?
Vivian Sessoms: To be honest I’m still kind of figuring that part out, lol! Every day, I have a list of things I plan to do which is to post videos of the previous nights performance or post a live video of me just singing in my hotel room or videos of past shows, but sadly I’m not always successful in my plan! As an indie artist, you wind up doing a lot of things yourself, and actually, I am lucky because I have a small team of people who help me get the word out about things what’s going on with me and keeping things moving. Sometimes, just getting info to them is a job in itself. It’s a constant juggling act trying to keep all the things you need to have happening, going all at once.
Natalie: What habits do you practice or prepare your mind, body and soul for while on tour.
Vivian Sessoms: I try to work out consistently, not every day but a few times a week. I also try to really watch what I eat because I realize that eating badly, makes me feel bad. I don’t really drink a lot and I don’t smoke. I try to just take it easy and stay peaceful, and you know, do things that make me happy and that make me feel good. I try to see friends often in other countries, or visit places of interest.
Natalie: You love fashion and beauty and have a great sense of style. Who are your favorite designers and what looks do you like to wear on stage?
Vivian Sessoms: Right now I’m into a lot of African designers. There are some really fabulous young designers out of Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya and several other African countries. As for my favorite American designers that’s kind of a long list, although I’m very into mixing pieces from stores like COS and Zara and Top Shop with high end stuff, or combined with thrift store finds. I would say my personal style is a hodgepodge of things. I like a lot of color, and texture. I really love deconstructed pieces.
On stage I might go from jeans and sneakers with the funky T-shirt to a tailored suit and heels to a pretty or a flow-y type of dress. Lately I seem to be opting more for real comfort.
Natalie: “Trying to work through shit we go through sometimes losing my way I’m walking through clouds looking for my sunny”. This is something that everyone goes through weather it be work, personal relationships, friendships, developing your personal business. What were you going through when you wrote those words?
Vivian Sessoms: I wrote that song with two really good friends Wondress Hutchinson and Jenny Douglas Foote and at the time I had just lost my mom, but I think that each of us were dealing with life situations and, I don’t know, I just remembered that my heart was really broken and so. That’s what came out..
Vivian Sessoms: Absolutely and positively.. I asked an audience during the show in Melbourne if they could see the aura that we had created at the end of a show. I was saying to them that coming out to see a show, even though you may feel like you’re not doing much besides listening and watching, is a form of active participation and what the audience gives to you definitely feeds you as an artist, and in some instances can inform or drive you or what have you. So I was saying to them that they had participated so much and so beautifully that the energy swirling back-and-forth between us was colorful and bright and had a lot of love it. I really mean it when I say that music is healing, and that it can change the world.
Natalie: I recently visited the Past is Present exhibit at the MFA Boston. Knowing that the past is present please tell the Luxhop4u audience who you shared the stage with including writing credits/ producing credits and what you have in store for them this year.
Vivian Sessoms: I’ve shared the stage with Joe Cocker, Patti,Austin and Cher, P!nk and numerous others. I’ve had a wonderful journey before deciding to strike out on my own. This year I’ll be releasing my third studio recording entitled Life which I’m really excited about.
Vivian and Bruno Mars
Natalie: I have a lot of friends in the entertainment industry who work on major projects and do not receive credit/publishing for their work. What should artists do to ensure that they receive credit for their work?
Vivian Sessoms: Try as best you can to get everything in writing, contracts are important.. Then get a good lawyer.
Natalie: I want to thank you for your personal advice and mentorship!
Vivian Sessoms: I adore you!
Be sure to purchase Vivian’s music on her website www.VivianSessoms.com
Follow Vivian on Instagram @VivianSessoms
*Luxshop4u will be in NYC for the Life album release party working behind the scenes. This website will be updated with playlist details from the Life album. This website will have a release date for Vivian’s Life album.
Photos were provided by Vivian Sessoms.