Chronicling a sense of loss, longing, and love in her enchanting and evocative release, Glitter and Smoke, Thai-Belgian singer and actress, Violette Wautier, talks to us about music, memories, and Maja Salvador in this MEGA exclusive.
There are many ways to understand the concept that is time. Long debated by mankind, the paradox on its own merits has been puzzling and perplexing to say the least, stumping everyone from physicists to philosophers who’ve taken a stab at it. Controversial in its contrast, it is scientific and specific, bound by precision and procedure, but it is also an illusion guided by a construct and context argued by your own mind. As ruthless as it may be in the rigors of direction and duration, it is also kind in its ebb and flow, coursing through in forward fractals whilst it exists in congruence with wistful nostalgia. Literature has taken many liberties with the concept of time, often peppering its prose and poetry with inspirations thereof, in the hopes to better grasp the elusive intangible that it is. This is an especially important element in the musical storytelling of Violette Wautier, who has long endeavored to make sense of time, who for the most part has treated her well and with care.
“Honestly, it took me so much time making this album. I know that I normally write sad songs, very dark kind of songs, and then my producer started saying, ‘You need a more uplifting song, you know. You don’t want people to feel bad after listening to your whole album, and you know, just stand and fall to the floor or things like that,” Violette Wautier begins, discussing the genesis of what has become a 2-year synthesis of hollowed out heartache and a reclaiming of her own narrative. “So along the way, I was experiencing things…I was learning how to write a brighter song, a lighter song, and more uplifting songs. That’s why it’s like darker into a brighter era. And at the same time, because I was growing alongside of making the album, I see the transition of who I’m becoming, and also, how I reflect back to all of what I came through.” The result was Glitter and Smoke, a journey of reckoning journaled in songs that encompass the torturous to the thrilling. “People can be many things at the same time, so I think this is the perfect combination of the album itself and what to explain myself,” she explains. “The thing is, it’s really funny, because I’m a very uplifting and happy person, but when I write music, it’s just writing sad songs. It’s almost like I’m taking all of my negativity out in the song. And I feel way much more lighter after.”
Ever since an impressive 4-chair turn in The Voice Thailand some six years ago, Violette Wautier, the stunning Thai-Belgian songstress has charmed and captivated her audience, amassing a following that has earned her a consistent average of in-the-million views online, as well as allowing her to explore the landscape of entertainment as an actress in the Thai adaptation of Endless Love, and in films such as Heart Attack, A Gift, and soon, in the Wong Kar Wai-produced One For The Road. Now, after releasing singles and soundtracks, she is bundling her body of work and circulating it as an album that is decidedly and definitively her.
“Honestly, at first, I didn’t imagine it this way. I first wrote it two years ago when I got my heart broken, like really bad. And I was at my producer’s house and at that time we were working on some songs on the album as well, and I came down to the piano and started writing this song, and I couldn’t finish it, because I was so heartbroken and gotten so sad. So, I left it there, like I didn’t touch it again until a year later April last year, I looked back into my lyric library, and I thought, ‘Oh, this could work.’ I had my first verse already and I started writing on it again with my co-writers there. Since it has been a year after the heartbreak, you see things different than before when we’re in it and it just reflects how you see it in the wider picture.” Suddenly, what was an aching memory in her heart transcended into becoming something beautiful—a haunting ballad that coalesces heart-wrenching lyrics with soaring percussions and productions that make it the visceral experience that it is. Violette Wautier ruminates, “I think it’s really worth it and I learned a lot of how that how to let go and moving on. That’s how I’d Do It Again came to be.”
There lies the beauty in the orchestration of time—more often than not, the world is so agitated, so excited to get to the end, haphazardly bypassing point A to point B that they forget that there’s an entire alphabet in between. Going through the process, you have to leave it where it is, go through life, and then once you stumble upon it again, it presents itself as an enlightening moment, which circles back to the coalescing of honesty and truth that are foundations of the music that she does. In her exercise of healing, she has gone through a state of necessary catharsis that took the pain and turned into something that both quantifies and qualifies her strides into carving out the woman that she is today.
This couldn’t be any more clear and concise than in her emotional endeavor that is Glitter and Smoke, a 9-track release that functions as an almost cinematic telling that chronicles growth from something so luminous in loneliness to convincing in confidence. There is no shortage of heart, naturally, with the raw, real, and riveting feelings threading through the seams of this most intricate tapestry of stories that begins as a haze of smoke, its curtain of curling tips blurring a peripheral plain view, before swelling into a sparkle of glitter, piercing through the thick exhaust with exhales of light. An intimation that seems like an invasion of personal and passionate space, this earnest effort becomes a sonical success in standout songs such as Smoke, Brassac, and We Own This World, lingering through in lyrics and melody even well after the final instrumentation in its thumping closing track, All That I Can Do.
Deeply insightful, both in song and conversation, the Maja Salvador look-alike (“Someone sent me a photo and she is so beautiful. If people think I resemble her then that makes me feel beautiful, too.”) underscores the importance of music in life in a grander, more encompassing scope. “You wouldn’t feel alone with music. Like, whatever you’re going through, you know that there will be music that kind of fits your emotion,” she describes. “It gives you some hope, and also some encouragement in life. That’s what I think is like the role of music is helping us right now. And you know, music is like a friend—when you’re happy you listen to it; when you’re sad, you listen to it, as if someone who understands you.”
Sometimes that is all it takes, really—someone who gets it, as if assuring you that whatever honesty and heart you wear in your sleeve is valid and necessary even. And if it had to take that much time for us to be introduced to the vivid and visceral world of Violette Wautier then the wait is well worth it.
Glitter and Smoke is now available to stream on Spotify.