Interview | Havana Brown
Gorgeous DJ Havana Brown is one busy girl! The talented Aussie, who can usually be found behind the decks opening for superstars such as Britney Spears, Rihanna and Lady Gaga or mixing her highly successful 'Crave' compilations, recently stepped into the spotlight to launch her solo career.
We sat down with the singer - whose debut single 'We Run The Night' is currently riding high in the ARIA charts - to talk icons, nerves, and Enrique Iglesias' sex appeal!
MTV: Hi Havana! Your debut single ‘We Run The Night’ is your first as a solo artist. How have you prepared for the switch from DJing to singing?
Havana: I think I've been prepared for a long time. I've been working on my original music for the last couple of years. Prior to being a DJ I was working on original music and part of a group that was signed in the UK, so I think it was just great timing - perfect timing in the sense that I think I now know exactly what I want as an artist and I'm a lot more confident and prepared.
MTV: What would you like to achieve as an artist?
Havana: I want to be Janet Jackson! But the DJ-slash-Janet Jackson - I want to be able to put on big shows, I want dancers, I want fireworks, I want it all. But then I'll do some DJing as well, so it's kind of cool I can do both! (laughs)
MTV: Were you nervous about how your new material would be received?
Havana: Absolutely! I didn't realise how nervous I was going to be because I'd been excited about doing it and wanting to release for so long…then two weeks before the release date, it started to dawn on me, 'Hang on, what if no-one likes me as an artist? What if no-one like the song?!' Then the nerves started setting in.
MTV: How did you get yourself over that?
Havana: I think by releasing it! The response to the song was very positive, so I think that calmed me down a little bit and I just got more excited. But I like nerves, I like being scared. I don't like it to be just calm all the time, you know? I want to be anxious and be nervous so that I can conquer it.
MTV: Tell us about the new album - can you give us a sneaky preview of what to expect?
Havana: I want to be able to change it up frequently… My first single’s perfect - it was the nice little mix of pop and club, which is exactly what I wanted for my first single, but the second single definitely has a lot more depth to it. But still up tempo, still club. I probably won't stray and be doing any ballads any time soon, that's for sure. I've never been a ballads girl!
MTV: You've DJ'd for some of the world's biggest artists including Lady Gaga, Britney Spears and Rihanna. What have you learned from them?
Havana: Actually seeing them as normal people is pretty special. You see them in the papers, you see them on TV, you hear all the rumours and what they're supposedly like, but a lot of the time it's not true and they're actually just quite down to earth and pretty chilled out and funny. I like seeing that side of them.
But it's also good to see how hard these artists work. They travel every day, but then they land and they do promo and they do interviews, photo shoots, and then they do the concert, and they might go out afterwards. I don't know how they do that! (laughs) But they do - it's amazing to see them work.
MTV: What artists do you take inspiration from?
Havana: Janet Jackson definitely, she's my idol. Michael Jackson. I love big performers - Britney Spears, I love watching her dance and perform. I love J-Lo as well, I really love watching her perform, she really gives it everything. And Chris Brown is an amazing performer. Coming off tour with him - I knew the tour would be great because I'd toured with him previously two years ago – he blew me away! ...I did not expect such great dancing and singing skills, you couldn't take your eyes off him.
MTV: You performed with Enrique Iglesias during X Factor. He’s touring here later this year with Pitbull - what do you think we can expect from his shows?
Havana: I think a lot of sexiness from him, that's for sure! I don't know, with Pitbull though it's going to be a wild party I think… I don't know if you've seen some of the footage of Enrique, but there was this one girl who got on stage and started feeling him up! …It's pretty full on - I think girls get a little bit racy around him (laughs).
MTV: You've had a really successful past few years including landing a residency at a Las Vegas club. What would you say is your career highlight so far?
Havana: That's really hard to say just one! But touring with these artists – Britney Spears who is the biggest popstar – I grew up with Britney Spears and I look up to her, she's legendary. So it was very much a highlight to tour with her. Probably the first show in France, the very first show that I did with them, I will never forget the nerves and the excitement and the crowd. And also the Grammy's after-party with all the big shots of the industry there, it was very intimidating, really cool I loved that. And F1 Rocks was one of my favourites as well, because I did it alongside Beyonce and Black Eyed Peas, and No Doubt did the festival as well as N.E.R.D, so it was pretty cool, it was the most fun I've had on stage.
MTV: And finally, what have you got in store for the rest of 2011?
Havana: More releases, more performances, live performances of my songs, that's what I'm concentrating on right now! I'm touring Australia right now doing a pretty intensive tour, and then I go to India, Europe, and then back to Vegas and tour around the States.
Havana Brown’s new single ‘We Run The Night’ is out NOW!
Check out more from the Aussie starlet as she chats to our very own VJ Daisy in the clip below!