London-based singer Viji – aka Vanilla Jenner – announces her new EP Cali. The 6-track EP will be released on Friday 11th March via Dirty Hit. To celebrate the announcement, she shares a brand new single “Mercy”. The Strokes-inspired track finds her envisioning the end of the world, unfazed by those who’ve wronged her’s cries for forgiveness. It’s a powerful refusal to give in to the demands of those who don’t have her best interests at heart.
“I was writing it as if you’re sitting there laughing at the world ending,” she explains. “People want atonement, but you’re not going to give it to them. You’re just having a great time like, ‘I’m not here to give you that’.”
Watch the video for “Mercy” BELOW:
As a teenager in Austria, rising alt-pop artist Viji was always searching for something more. Fuelled by an obsession with US TV shows and pop culture of the time, she dreamt of making an imprint on this world. Years later and now signed, Viji is building a world for herself that fulfils all her desires. Since releasing her debut single ‘Cherry’ in 2020, she has marked herself out as a creative new force in the alternative sphere – both through her hook-filled songs and the inventive visuals that accompany them – with a streak of determination driving her forward.
“Put my head down and work hard / Reach my hand out super far,” she sings on ‘Cali’, the balmy title track from her upcoming third EP. The single was released at the end of 2021 as a taste of what’s to come and is a love letter to one of her dream states. “I’ve forever had an obsession with California,” she explains, noting that in the future, she’d like it to be somewhere she calls home for at least some of the year. “I always say I’m gonna work hard, and then once I’m there – wherever there is – I’ll move to Cali.”
Over the last 15 months, Viji has built the foundations of her career on songs that breathe new life into ‘90s and ’00s-inspired guitar-driven sounds, upping her inventiveness with each release. Her debut EP, ‘Are You In My Head’, was more straightforward plaid-tinged grunge-pop, before 2021’s ‘Suck It’ EP invited fresh synth elements into the mix, adding more dimensions to her core sound.
Her third EP, ‘Cali’, moves things forward once again, leaning into some of the less six-string focused of Viji’s musical loves. You can hear components of hip-hop and R&B in her infectious, sing-songy vocal rhythms, while instrumentally, she takes new adventures in electronics as well as the hefty guitar lines she’s deployed thus far. “I listen to Frank Ocean religiously, but also Tyler, The Creator, Mos Def and a lot of hip-hop and pop artists,” she notes. “I think that always translated a little before – the beats were never straight rock beats – but now I’ve tapped into it a little bit more. The more you write, the more you develop what it is you write.”
The creative force is focused on a goal that’s very important to her – making records that people want to listen to on repeat. It’s a habit she’s had since she was young, listing off the likes of Nirvana, Blood Orange and Alex G as artists who’ve all been on endless rotation at various stages of her life. “I feel like it’s a breath of fresh air when you find something you really love,” Viji says. As her most infectious release yet, the ‘Cali’ EP practically demands you hit ‘repeat all’ – you’d be foolish to try and resist it.
1. Not Enough
3. Feel It
4. Skin Deep
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