We recently had the opportunity to chat with Victoria Kühne, a multi-talented singer/songwriter, music producer, recording studio owner (of Victoria Records), streetwear designer and music video director. She recently released her debut single, “Vice.” We chatted about the track, why she decided to break into the music business after years of producing for other artists, how she got into streetwear design and directing, and more! Check out our interview below.
You released your debut single,, “Vice” and its accompanying video recently. Congratulations! Tell us all about the track and what it means to you.
“Vice” was inspired by one of my favorite paintings, “The Garden of Earthly Delights,” by Bosch. I am a very visual person and I found myself submerged in that painting during my whole writing process for this song. In the song, I am temptation in the human form, which is a concept I am obsessed with.
Your debut EP, Saints, is scheduled for release this fall. Can you share with us any secrets about the EP?
Well, what I really hope to achieve with this EP is to bring a full experience to people. Not just one single after another, but a body of work and a concept that’s defined by the duality in all of us. If you listen to the lyrics carefully, you’ll find how the five songs are connected and are part of the same universe I created for this first EP. My close friends who have heard them tell me my songs make them wanna make bad decisions that make them feel more alive. I love the idea that my music could inspire people to experiment with life more and take charge of their bodies and their experiences. That’s what Saints is all about.
You’re in a unique position in the music industry because you own a recording studio (Victoria Records) and also produce music for other artists in addition to now making your own. Tell us a little bit about some of the highlights of being a producer and what you’re able to accomplish for other artists and yourself by having your own recording studio.
Having the studios and the dopest team of people with me at Victoria Records. It gives me the freedom to do a lot of collaborations and to work with a lot of artists I would not be able to otherwise. I am grateful every day and understand how lucky I am to be in this position. I try to give back as much as I can by doing master classes in the studios and supporting music education in any way we can. For me, one of the highlights of being a producer is being able to represent female producers everywhere. Only 2% of all music producers are women. When a project I co-produced got nominated for a Grammy, I was the only female producer in that entire category. I don’t take this lightly.
What made you decide to release music of your own after being a music producer for a long time?
Eventually I just felt like I had a lot to say and felt the need to create my own sound after so many years of doing collaborations and working on other artists’ projects. This is me finally being vulnerable with my art and sharing my vision as an artist. It’s almost like I couldn’t hold back anymore. It had to happen.
Piggybacking off of that, how did you get into the career path of being a music producer? Were you surrounded by music growing up?
I pretty much grew up in the music industry. I was just 11 when my parents built the recording studios I now run and I basically grew up surrounded by creatives. The first thing I did as a girl when I finished school every day was head down to the studios. People around me were always writing and producing for other artists and I eventually joined in. That led to some amazing things for me, including that Grammy nomination earlier this year for a project I co-produced and other really cool experiences and moments.
What are some of your other talents/hobbies apart from music? Do you have any quirky hobbies?
Art is my biggest passion in life. As soon as I graduated high school, I moved to Florence because I felt an intense need to be surrounded by art, history, fashion, beautiful architecture. Living there and falling in love with the whole Renaissance era marked me for life and made me the interdisciplinary artist I am today. Musical theater is probably my other biggest passion. Growing up in Mexico as the only redheaded little girl who happened to love musical theater, I just did not have a lot of kids around me that I could easily identify with. It was when I was 14 and auditioned for the show The Sound of Music and got my first job and contract that I finally felt like I belonged somewhere. It was like, “Oh, I get it now. These are my people. These theater kids are exactly like me!” It never once felt like I had a job or was actually a professional actor working because it was pure bliss for me. I feel doing professional musical theater at such a young age gave me all my confidence and discipline. I always say there’s no greater form of discipline you’ll ever learn than doing professional theater. Everything feels easy after that.
You have been invited by the Art Institute of Houston to instruct master classes and host conferences. Have you found teaching to be just as rewarding as producing and creating music?
Even more so. The first time I got invited to be a part of something as dope as that was during Berklee’s first Women’s Empowerment Symposium at their Valencia campus. That weekend changed my life and opened my eyes to my mission in this industry. My team at Victoria Records and I recently gave a master class at our local university on music business and music production and it confirmed that music education is one of my biggest passions. I was especially excited to stay for a few hours afterwards to talk to the girls in the audience about what it means to be a woman in the music industry today. At this point in my career, I’ve made it my mission to represent the girls and that’s why I’ll keep working hard until we make up more than only 2% of producers, 3% of audio engineers, 12.3% of songwriters and 22.4% of artists in this industry.
You have also directed music videos and you’re a streetwear designer! (Is there anything you can’t do?!) 🙂 Tell us a little bit about what it’s like to work behind the camera and how you got into streetwear design.
When I was 20 years old, I took a class at UCLA on film production and ever since then I’ve been interested in doing film. Then I studied acting in LA and did an acting course in Sydney, Australia, while studying Anthropology there. When my two business partners reached out to me to propose starting a film and music video production company, I immediately said yes, and honestly, I’ve been learning project by project. My second single, “KINGS,” comes out in the middle of September and the third single comes out in October along with a music video for each song. I wrote the treatment for both videos and I am really stoked for people to see my vision for these new songs and to see me co-direct my own work. I got into design during a trip to Tokyo where I became obsessed with the streetwear. Soon afterwards I also became really interested in sustainable fashion. Now I am trying to merge those two in the most flawless way possible by very slowly developing my own sustainable streetwear label. It’s still in the very early process, but I do wear a lot of my own prototypes and use my KÜHNE design studio to work with my team to create custom pieces for my videos and appearances. It’s just another outlet for us to play and be creative, which is the most important part for me. I just like to create constantly. Fashion is something I really love and respect, and I am just waiting for the right timing for my line.
With your EP release this fall, can we expect to see you on tour soon?
Hopefully! For now I will be doing two live sessions in my recording studios and those will come out later this year. A little taste of what the show and the live versions of the songs will sound like.
Is there anything else you’d like to add that we might not have touched on?
I think we covered it all. Thank you so much! 🙂
You can view Victoria’s video for “Vice” below:
Featured Image: Sofi Mak