Totally original. New but familiar. ellee ven.
Soon after receiving her Masters Degree in education, the teacher turned artist had a “moment of clarity,” that spurred her to do it herself and start Hot Sauce Records in 2000, her independently financed label. Ellee ven resigned from her teaching position and has since lived by the motto: “nobody can change yesterday but everybody can change today,” and has spread her musical harmonies worldwide.
Her own music is self described as 'groovetonics,' a genre of music she created that fuses elements of pop, rock, and electronica to lift your mood and make you move. With an album currently in the making, her set at Give Into The Groove is sure to be filled with a mix of fan favorites and new tunes. Throughout her music career, ellee ven has always made no attempt at being genre specific, instead putting forth an attempt to stretch out and try different ideas without yielding to commercial pressures or trends.
Building on her mantra that anyone can make a difference through art, ellee ven’s annual Give Into The Groove event has enjoyed increased success. “ I always wanted to do something for other through artist expression, “ says ellee ven. “ Art has the power to really influence people’s lives.
Give Into The Groove was created in 2001 with "the goal to combine fun and philanthropy and redefine charity for a new generation. Philanthropy doesn't need a high price tag. We wanted an event where everyone can afford to be involved!" says ellee ven.
Creator of Give Into The Groove, ellee ven will also be returning to perform for the 4th time in Lexington. Her positive, conscious music has been heard far and wide, but this artist is much more than a singer. Her experience is a perfect example to those interested in paving their own way. ellee ven started with only a dream and is now making upbeat music that is heard all over the world.
Come out on Friday April 26, 2013 to experience the new music of ellee ven and to be a part of Give Into The Groove's 10 year anniversary!
To experience groovetonics, you can visit
Jody G - Drums
Antony Lee - Guitar.
Prodeje - MC/Producer
Her Wildcat Lovin Majesty
eleven by ellee ven
The Eleventh Hour
All Of Me
Under My Skin (Her Wildcat Lovin Majesty)
Here (Her Wildcat Lovin Majesty)
Signals (Her Wildcat Lovin Majesty)
YOU CAN BUY ME
Just Another Thing featuring Prodéje
Touched featuring Prodéje (Her Wildcat Lovin Majesty)
Next To You featuring Prodéje (Her Wildcat Lovin Majesty)
Her Wildcat Lovin Majesty
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Groovetronics: That’s how electronic/dance act Elle Ven personifies her musical signature: a fusion...Groovetronics: That’s how electronic/dance act Elle Ven personifies her
musical signature: a fusion of rock, pop, rap and electronica. Somehow, the
mesh of seemingly disparate elements unifies for an upbeat ethereal grab bag
of tribal beats and treats, accompanied by Ven’s dreamy, girlish vocals,
which lie somewhere between Stacey Q and Everything But the Girl’s Tracey
Thorn. Seventh full-length CD “Her Wildcat Lovin Majesty”— featuring
accompaniment from Antony Lee on guitars, Jorge Villanueva on drums and
Mikhail Davies on bass—is vast in its stylistic presentation, from the
trippy, trance-inspired “Under My Skin” and dark, Depeche Mode-conjuring
“Signals” to blippy ‘80’s-reminiscent “What Am I Running From,” rock/rap jam
“Next To You” (featuring a rap from Prodéje) and stripped-down acid
flashback “Wonder Where These Roads Will Lead.” The common theme throughout
is a positive, mood-enhancing flow, suited to Saturday nights in
clubland—acknowledged by Ven’s recognition with a nod as Artist of the Year
at the 2009 South Bay Music Awards and winner of the 2008 Los Angeles Music
Awards’ Electro Pop Artist of the Year. Who needs chemical enhancement? Elle
Ven’s “Majesty” is one fervent elixir.
Community benefits from singer's concerts with a purpose
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When she was conducting business in her "other" home — Los Angeles — Ellee Ven began searching for a...When she was conducting business in her "other" home — Los Angeles — Ellee Ven began searching for a way for her favorite music to ignite a fun night of artistic philanthropy.
And so Give Into the Groove was born. The idea was, in essence, a benefit without strings. No admission was to be charged. Instead, selected organizations would send representatives, distribute information about their community work, gain a few friends and volunteers, and perhaps raise some money. The backbone of the event, though, was music — an entire evening's worth.
"Producing something like this is a lot easier than it seems," said Ven, a Los Angeles native who works most of the year on the West Coast, developing her recording and performance career while maintaining a home in Lexington. "After all, people want to do good for their community. That's always the promise. People enjoy being purposeful."
Ven's first three Give Into the Groove projects were staged in Los Angeles and benefited organizations including the local chapter of the American Red Cross and the Los Angeles Free Clinic.
The inaugural Lexington Groove-fest was staged last fall at The Red Mile's Round Barn. The event moves downtown Friday to the Atomic Cafe
"We had a few hundred people, a respectable turnout, last year," Ven said. "But the Round Barn is a destination venue. You have to know that something is happening out there, whereas with the Atomic Café, people are already going to be there. Some people may even happen upon the event that haven't even heard about it."
That's highly likely given that downtown will be hosting a Gallery Hop at the same time.
If people stumble in, they will have performances to take in by Lexington favorites Big Fresh and Otto Helmuth, plus an appearance by Isabella Begley, winner of the Little Miss Bluegrass Area pageant. Ven also will showcase some of the pop electronica from her new album, Dangerous Diversion, with help from West Coast rapper Prodeje.
Among the local and regional organizations that Give Into the Groove is designed to help this year: Local First Lexington, Hope Center, Actors Guild of Lexington, Lexington Humane Society, Isaac Murphy Memorial Art Garden, and Louisville's Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft.
"The thing that's crazy is that people are more apt to be generous to organizations at events like this than when you say, 'Admission is $50.' That's when you have people going, 'Oh, I didn't get enough crumpets' or 'It was too crowded to get to the champagne line.'
"What's fun about this event is that the vibrations are always so great. That just seems to be a catalyst for other fun things where people get inspired to help their community."
For Ven, though, Give Into the Groove isn't just an opportunity to help the community. It's a chance to get to know it better. Aside from last year's Groove event and shows at venues like Al's Bar, Ven hasn't performed much locally. So how is it that an artist versed in the fast-lane music frenzy of Los Angeles found her way to Lexington?
The connection goes back to Ven's college days at Pepperdine University. She made friends with several students from Central Kentucky and began making regular visits here in the mid-'90s.
"I'm from Los Angeles, my family is from Los Angeles and there is an endless access to musicians and production resources in Los Angeles," Ven said. "But there is also so much competition there. Even if there are a million things you're doing well, there are always people around to tell you everything that you're doing wrong. It's just a different sort of climate there.
"Since I had some flexibility in my life and met people in Lexington from college, I began going back and forth between the two cities. I always said if a house came up that I could get my hands on, I would grab it. And one did. And I love it here.
"So now I'm just happy to be able to share my fun times with the community that I'm totally growing to love."
Not Just a Number
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Not just a number Changing her name to ellee ven -- after the number 11 -- leads to subtle tr...Not just a number
Changing her name to ellee ven
-- after the number 11 -- leads to
subtle transformation for
the rising singing star
By John Berger
Where: Wave Waikiki, 1877 Kalakaua Ave.
When: 10 p.m. today and tomorrow
Admission: $10, 18 and over (21 and over tomorrow)
A rose, by any other name, still smells sweet, but a change of name can give an aspiring entertainer a new identity with no strings attached. And so it is that a former teacher with a graduate degree in education is playing the Wave Waikiki tonight and tomorrow in her seductive persona of ellee ven.
"It gave me the freedom to create something," ellee ven (born Jessica Kunin) explained.
"When people ask 'Who are you like?,' and you've only written two songs, what are you like? It's too early to make any sort of decision, and felt with the whole 'ellee ven' thing, I would create this theme and everything I created would support the theme (and) there'd be no expectations. Nobody can go back and change things. I couldn't change back that I got married... but I could change my future."
Kunin's stage name is a play on the number 11, which she describes as "representing two equals in perfect union" and, thus far, it's been a winning formula. Songs from her 2001 debut album, "The Eleventh Hour," have already been heard on the TV drama "Judging Amy" and several MTV shows. Two songs from her second album, "Mind Control," put her on the now-defunct mp3.com and mainstream Adult Contemporary charts in 2003.
Now she's embarking on a bigger project. "eleven by ellee ven," a double-disc CD/DVD release, will be released next month. It's going to be marketed as a DVD with a bonus CD.
"At this point, it's more the established artists who are putting out DVDs as a reflection of their catalog of work, and a lot of newer artists don't have that yet. So I'll be one of few newer artists on those shelves (in the DVD section)."
BUT HOW DID Jessica Kunin, who graduated from Pepperdine University with a Masters in education, make the transformation to a post-modern chanteuse specializing in a musical blend she calls "groovetonics"?
A quote from Henry David Thoreau -- "Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you imagined," -- is part of the story behind her metamorphosis.
"I came across that about four years ago, and it really seemed to renew my focus and my commitment to my artistic world. It's difficult to remain committed sometimes to something that isn't really profitable financially, even if it is (fulfilling) in other ways. I was at a standstill, doing a lot of temping, and a lot of other work that just really wasn't satisfying, and it reminded me about the commitment to my goal."
Kunin also credits her father, a businessman who "won a lot and lost a lot," with teaching her that success is often a matter of making an informed commitment to a project and then seeing it through. She first became involved with the music business by helping friends promote their bands -- handing out flyers, organizing events, doing simple video projects -- but after looking at the probable start-up costs for her own indie label, she decided to that she'd be better off teaching. She also got married, a decision she describes as "a personal disaster."
"All of a sudden, I felt like I was just settling in so many areas of my life, and nine months later, I decided, 'Nope, I'm doing an about-face and I am going to do what I really want to do.
"One of the most important things to communicate is that everything is a process and, again, it's my stick-to-it-tiveness thing. I had no idea if I could write a song but I knew that I loved music ... and I knew I wanted my own label and I liked promoting people, but the ellee ven thing didn't come about until after I knew that it was a business where I would constantly be interested and stimulated in."
The term "groovetonics" is also intended to catch the ear as well as soothe the soul.
"It makes you move and it makes you feel better. It can be a slower song, it can be a faster song, it's just meant to affect you, and that's the other thing about the creation of the ellee ven name. You cannot limit yourself before you begin, and the one thing that is totally thought out in the theme of my writing and in my project is that I do want to make people feel better, and I do want to move people."
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December 4, 2008 SOUND BITES ~ little ni... December 4, 2008
SOUND BITES ~ little nibbles of recent releases
By Rob Swick
Dangerous Diversion ~ by: ellee ven
ellee ven stares starkly from the cover, with the assured gaze of an ice queen, a prima donna, and perhaps even a potential Madonna. She's a woman with good times, bad times, and street-beat rhymes on her mind, and she wrote and produced all eleven tracks herself (hmm, eleven – perhaps a significant number to Ms. ven?), working on this disk with veteran rapper Prodéje. The album is a study in contrasts, as ellee melds her own airy, melodious vocals with Prodéje's down-and-dirty, rapid-fire rappin', for a blend that's bold in its insistence on making those two divergent threads come together and play nice. “Here” is a guitar-driven cut of she-rock, “Sorry's Not Enough” alternates ellee's pop-phrased admonitions with Prodéje's manly efforts to restore a damaged relationship, and so it goes. “Hold On To Me” is a gangsta love song, much like the title track that follows, while “Just Another Thing” and “Uncover You Remix” are more misty pop. “Further Away” has a synth-based texture, and a wistful, lingering melody with entrancing appeal, showing off ellee's voice to best effect. Overall, ellee ven delivers a blend that will reach those who appreciate both competent rap and polished pop music. elleeven.com
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Dance Music / Electronica Ellee Ven - Funky Bohemia From Jimi Bruce Elleeven-th Floor I of...Dance Music / Electronica
Ellee Ven - Funky Bohemia
From Jimi Bruce
I often review music as I discover America on long road trips. So it was on a recent one when I auditioned "Funky Bohemia" from new artist (at least to my ears) ellee ven [Hot Sauce Records HSR 0511]. According to her military-sounding "Communications Director" (how bout "publicist"?) Josie Mora, the name is pronounced "el-eeh-ven rhymes with ten." Did ya get that? Me neither.
So on the road while listening to it, the first mental note I made was that she reminded me of Lisa Stansfield vocally. Why was I not surprised when I read elleeven's bio that Lisa was listed as one of her influences? Hey, this is a good thing! Every artist needs an inspirational focal point. Stansfield was one of my and late good friend Frankie Crocker's faves back in the day as the eighties turned into the nineties! I know he'd be playing this CD if he were alive (and probably programming a satellite radio station) today.
"Funky Bohemia" starts out creeping at'cha with a bassy jam called "Pushing Me." Next it is onto the iron maiden with the strident "Proved My Power," laced by 'Ven's silky vocalizations. The mood is euro-deep here, so it is no wonder that soon the music sends us "Spiraling" (cut three, boys and girls) into the disc's first eardrum-pounding funky beat.
Just try to "Silently/Scream" (track four), and if you don't catch a hernia, surely we will have been around the world, not finding our baby. There is plenty of hit material here, especially on "Labyrinth of Love", the title of which blows me away as a wordsmith. It is a ballad again worthy of another of her shapers, Sade and even more so on track ten, "I Realize" which again, is Stansfield-ish likewise utilizing only a drum beat against her lyrical gangsta â€“ a groovy combination of successful sounds that need to be perpetuated, in my opinion.
But why "Bohemia"? Is she from the Czech Republic? Not at all, according to Josie, who apparently speaks on her behalf, "ellee ven is Spanish, Greek, Italian, Russian, and German [all of the Romance languages, I guess] and she wanted to purposely combine all of her influences to express what she thinks is reflective of her experiences." 'Works for me.
The album should have been called "Under My Skin" though. With the many remixes of the "elleeventh" track, it is obvious to this reporter that it is the stalwart of the sessions. They all have the potential to be pop/rock fusion hits in their own right, but mainly serve to extend the disc's life. Potentially the Tabasco of the dance floor and airwaves, her haunting delivery soothes as she croons the groovetronics. Now that's coining a phrase or terminology for ya, which exposes a fun side to all this headiness in song.
Not only do they have a promotional contest to entice purchase of the CD â€“ a Hollywood vacation - but this former school teacher promotes sexy education on tour. As Josie relates it, "we have ellee ven condoms, people always get a kick out of [them]; while on tour in Reno, the [hotel] bell guy told me that he got lucky that night and was grateful that he had received one of them." Geez, when is she coming to my hometown? (Smiles)
DJs will want to have this one in their CD cases as well as club-minded party goers. Finally, since there is already a Lisa S., I pray that ellee will continue to develop her own identity and performance persona with ensuing projects so that she can take us with her as she steps up to the next landing. This I believe she is already on the road to actualizing when she says her motto is "to be the best self and living the life that you imagined; nobody can change yesterday, but everybody can start today and change tomorrow." That is a theme concurrent with many conversations I have with friends and strangers as we attempt to settle the world these days. The website, www.elleeven.com has neat info not covered here, by the way. So on those funky Bohemic notes, I am empowered to bless this CD with four stars.
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Artist: ELLEE VEN Album: Mind Control The Scoop: Pop music has sunk to such a low that it se...
Artist: ELLEE VEN
Album: Mind Control
The Scoop: Pop music has sunk to such a low that it seems remarkable when one of its practitioners had a life before joining the ranks of the music business. We’ve become so accustomed to teenybopper stars and Mickey Mouse Club grooming that writers have tended to latch on to the fact that ellee ven was once a Pepperdine graduate (and, later, a teacher) named Jessica Kunin. Like the potty-mouthed sensation Peaches, Ms. Kunin abandoned the classroom in favor of the studio (after teaching credentials, the parallels between the two artists screech to a halt). She changed her name and focused her energies into Hot Sauce Records, the label she began in college. In a world of endless Britneys and (gag) Pinks, the most recognizable shoes on Mind Control are Sade’s; the stuff of midnight martinis and massage tables. ven has a breathy, sultry voice that lends itself well to gentle grooves and floating choruses. “Feels Like Somethin New” is the best example of this, an end-of-the-day jam with a great hook and lots of easy soul. But what kept me returning to the album – and I should here confess that I typically don’t enjoy this genre of music – were the collaborations with DJ Swamp, who stirs up some frantic jams easily on par with the bulk of material currently bumpin’ in your club and on your radio dial.
Highlight Tracks: “Feels Like Somethin New” and “Wasted”
For More Info: Check out http://www.elleven.com
Project 11 Volume 3
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Ellee Ven - Project 11 Volume 3 "Underneath My Pillow" and "Pushin Me" are the featured singles o...Ellee Ven - Project 11 Volume 3
"Underneath My Pillow" and "Pushin Me" are the featured singles on this CD. There are five remixes of "Underneath…" and four mixes of "Pushin Me". There are a couple of remixes from Chris Brophy, aka Infect'ive (both "Underneath..." and "Pushin Me"). I enjoy his remixes on this CD the most. His work is a blend of Full Intention meets David Morales. I've been a fan of his work for many years now and am always on the lookout for anything with his name on it. There are additional remixes from Trypsin, whose mixes (both songs) have an electro-trance feel to them. Steven Seidita's remix of "Underneath…" has a slightly harder sound to it with a continuous driving beat. The DJ Scotty Boy remix of "Underneath…" is a dub that has an electro-progressive sound to it. Both songs are very melodic and trance sounding in nature. I say this often, but it amazes me how remixers take a vocal and can make a song sound completely different.
My favorite on this CD is the Infect'ive remix of "Pushin Me." I just love the production and sounds he used in this one. I think that they compliment the vocals perfectly.
Ellee ven puts the heat in Hot Sauce
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Despite what people may think, writing for an up and coming music magazine is not all glamour and jo...Despite what people may think, writing for an up and coming music magazine is not all glamour and joy. Plenty of times the hours suck and our editor/publisher has the nickname “Slave Master” for a very good reason... But the totally coolest perk is that I get to meet cool ass people all the time. And I don’t want to lead you wrong; not every musician or vocalist is cool just because they happened to be musically talented. But the ones that are cool, are very, very cool, with their shit together in a way that makes you buzz with energy and leaves you wanting to go out and conquer the world yourself.That’s the closest I can come to explaining my experience interviewing ellee ven. ellee ven, artist and owner of Hot Sauce Records, has a style of music that’s hard to place. A quote from her website, www.elleeven.com, compares her music to “indulgences such as martinis and massage tables, and artists like Bjork, Lenny Kravitz, Lisa Stansfield, and Sade.” The sound combines elements from rock, pop, electronica, and dance to create something totally sensual, original, and provocative. And then there’s ellee herself— well, I guess you have to read the interview to see what I mean.
I have to tell you, I started off by reading your bio online and there was that part that compared your music to “indulgences such as martinis and massage tables” and I thought, oh my God, how friggin’ pretentious... And then I listened to your newest CD, Funky Bohemia, and I was just blown away, especially by the song Under My Skin. We have that video on the UNSIGNED website and I really love it. Your music has this real sensual feel; it’s definitely an indulgence.
Thank you! (laughing) You’ve just made my whole day. I mean really, that’s the pay off, to hear that someone really enjoys it!
One of the things I really like about your music is that it’s very original; you mix all these different elements, but you can’t really be labeled as one thing—I mean, I don’t consider you to fit the definition of electronica or dance music or even pop. I suppose that’s why you coined the phrase “groovetonics?”
I didn’t want to be a particular genre. I just want my music to be affective—to affect you. Groovetonics is supposed to make you move and to make you feel better. It’s that simple.
So tell me, how did you go from getting a Master’s Degree in Education at Pepperdine to owning your own label?
I sorta tiptoed in it at the beginning of my college career because I became friends with this band called Black Dread. They were friends of mine and I loved their band and started promoting them for fun. I’d do all the flyers, promote them, and do the door and deal with the bookers and that kind of stuff. This is when indie studios were starting to get prominent and my friends were like, if anyone could do it, you could do it. So I tried for a minute, but ultimately you see there’s this financial investment to it and these guys were cool, but not like—let me invest my entire life into them... so I closed the doors at that time, then I finished my masters, became married and divorced really fast and then I decided—I love music. You know, you read all these books that say where do you feel your happiest, where do 20 hours become one? And for me, it’s definitely in production and in music. I’m at my office all day long if I’m not recording or writing and I love it. I love it probably more than anything in the whole world, every part of it. So I decided to re-open the doors again to Hot Sauce Records. And then I met this person and we had this conversation and I said, I want to be in music. I did a little bit of musical theater and I have this record label experience and I want to try to write, but I live in Los Angeles and what if I suck? He hooked me up with these people in Minneapolis. He says to me, “they’re totally nice and you can stay there and there’s no need to be fearful.” So I went there and then five days later, I had three new songs. Like right away—it was so great, a totally out of this world experience and that’s how I did my first album For Your Love.
And that’s how it started.
And how did you come up with your name?
Well, we had this lunch and we were brainstorming names for me because my real name is Jessica and basically my whole name is conservative and not very theatrical. When I left my husband, I moved into this apartment eleven-eleven and that’s where the whole ellee ven came from. It was like this magical thing, this new beginning. I sorta saw the idea that the eleven is like hanging out with people who are equal. You know, if you’re a number one and you’re your best, strong and tall, then stand next to someone who’s also strong and tall and together you’ll be indivisible. That whole visual we thought was cool and nobody had it. We made it sort of French by doubling the L’s and the E’s.
And it’s pronounced?
People always ask that (laughing), but it’s really pronounced phonetically the way it’s spelled. Ven rhymes with ten and Ellee... L makes the “el” sound and two E’s make the long E sound.
So let’s go back—growing up, where you musically inclined?
No, not really. I had piano classes and stuff like that. In junior high, I was at this small school and the teacher’s would say, we need someone for the tennis team or whatever and this teacher came up to me and says you definitely should be in theater and I’m like, oh NO. But he says, well, let’s just see if you can sing these songs. So he sings and I copy him and then he puts me in this thing called vocal jazz ensemble and it was really fun. He was totally into music and he made it really fun. That was the first time I really got into it. I did all the musical theater in school, but I live in Los Angeles. Who admits they want to be an actor or a performer here?
Do you play any instruments?
I kinda play the keyboard, but I wouldn’t do it in front of anybody (laughing). I’m lucky that the people who produce me are very talented and I feel like I want to be a better songwriter and a better singer and a better businessperson and that’s plenty to fill a 24 hour day!
How do you write your songs? Is there a standard process or...
Sometimes they’re inspired by tracks I get. I work with people I like, they offer me a bunch of tracks and I select from the ones they send me. Then I get involved in the arrangements of the song. Sometimes it happens from a poem and sometimes it happens spontaneously. And sometimes I even make up stories—like one song I called Feels Like Something New I pretended I lived in New York and I was a dancer by day and I was going to hook up with my guy and then Prodigy rapped on it. It’s great to make up stories so that you don’t get stuck—you know, like you’re going through a break up and you write five songs about disillusionment. It’s nice to make up a story that gets you away from that. It’s just fun—I totally love what I do!!
You’re one of the first of our feature artists to also have a wide selection of music videos featured on the UNSIGNED website—tell me about the process of creating them...
Each is definitely a different process. For instance, the first one on the Internet, Under My Skin happened in a round about way. You know some people didn’t want to air that because they felt it was a little bit about domestic violence?
Really? I guess it’s how you take it. I didn’t feel like it was encouraging domestic violence...
Yeah, that’s how I felt... I mean, the guy did scare me; he was into method acting and was really, really into it... but frankly, that was about a friend that was really trying to sort of pull me down. They were really trying to take advantage—we moved into this space and they didn’t pay their rent. They were using my resources—for instance, they would use up all my tape; that’s why I have all this clear tape that says Hot Sauce Records, cause I was so pissed about him using up my tape, I was like—okay, use my tape, but you’ll be advertising my company. So that’s basically what that song was about—going through the experience and then getting back to my center. That’s kind of the symbol of the box by the tree. But every process is definitely different – it’s all so much fun though and I really, really enjoy it!
Yeah, that definitely comes across; (laughing) so tell me about your average day?
I have this great super space that I get to come in to... it’s huge and just really fun with great art on the walls and my sister has a purse shop downstairs and there’s a person with a Pilates space... it’s just really great. So I’ll come in and I’ll have coffee and then do my e-mail for a couple of hours and then we’ll have lunch with the other girls that work here in promotions and radio and a plethora of other things. Then I’ll go on with my day—either a writing session or I’ll go to rehearse or I’ll go get beautified for something... maybe I’ll style a video... it just depends...
Okay (laughing), I’m totally jealous! Can we switch?!?!
You know, one of my biggest things is that “You create your thoughts, your thoughts create your life; do you like what you’ve created?” I really believe that. The whole divorce sequence was really ridiculous... Sometimes we do this thing in relationships; because we want to agree with them we start to take on what they think life should be—we don’t really remain authentic and stick to what we really want in our lives. Recently I went through another breakup because I LOVE MY MUSIC—I love my music—I LOVE my music! There’s a definite choice; in order to have created all of this, I haven’t done other things. I’ve chosen to prioritize and make this the thing I’m obsessed with. Some people think I’m obsessed with it and they’re probably right but I don’t regret it. I really enjoy it and it’s what makes me get up in the morning. It’s never lied to me, it’s never disappointed me—well, that’s not true, I’ve definitely been disappointed, I’ve been duped and promised tours and all kinds of things but ultimately I feel very fulfilled in my day and that’s what you have to listen to...
What’s your greatest challenge right now?
My greatest challenge is making the push into what’s traditional success—you know, getting paid tens of thousands of dollars to perform and get to travel and get to do those things. It’s not being about those things, but that is part of the dream. I can’t wait to go shopping like a mad woman or to go to Tokyo or to Russia. I can’t!
So what’s our plan? You definitely sound like a person with a plan...
I do have a plan. I even have a back-up plan for the plan, believe it or not! We’re kind of developing an animation about Hot Sauce Records—it’s all girls and believe me, we’re all characters and could be animated quite easily—we’re trying to develop the whole thing about the experiences we go through, you know, trying to make business arrangements and it falls through. Dealing with cons and all that... almost like a wonder twins kind of thing with sisters coming together and activating the ellee ven mojo and it saves the day. I’ll break into a song and we can use my catalog of music. Content development, content development, content development, that’s the key cause at the end of the day, that’s what someone can buy.
And would you be willing to go from being an independent to being more mainstream? Is there someone you’d like to be signed with?
I’ve thought about it and it can either happen one of two ways. Either I’m going to go to a seminar where Clive Davis is speaking and I’ll talk to Clive and ask for a promotion-distribution sort of thing... that’s my dream, to get some sort of limited distribution situation, where somebody like him or Warner Brothers – somebody that can put me on the right bill on the right tour. That’s really what I feel I need. Cause we have a product line, we have t-shirts, we have stress balls, we have key chains, we have merchandise. If we were put into play all these things are developed. I feel it would be a dream for some company to come and say, “hey this person has put all this time and effort in developing merchandise and they have a fan base here and here and here...they just need to be put as an opener with the right act.” If I got that one time, I’d be totally happy. No matter what, I’ll do something with music and with production, no matter what I’ll continue on my artistic path, but in order to be totally successful in just music, if I don’t have the opportunity to tour in front of mass amounts of people, I’m not gonna be able to pay the bills totally from music. Thankfully now we’re starting to get some publishing—which is Whoo! a miracle!
What about “Give into the Groove”? What’s that all about?
Oh, that’s this event... I do this event every year for a different charity—well, we’ve done like two years for L.A. free charity and now we’ll do two years for the American Red Cross. This is where the “you create your life” sort of thing happens. One of the things I’ve learned to adjust to as a performer is when you get booked and you really don’t belong there, you’re in a place that really isn’t showcasing your sound; you may or may not be getting a fan out of it and meanwhile you’ve traveled so far and done so much for these—you know—thirty wasted minutes. Give into the Groove was definitely inspired out of that. It was like, I wanna make my own night, I want to make my own event that will totally make everyone understand why Groovetonics is fun and help them understand why my music is the way it is—so I can book people around me. And that’s what we do. We basically do this whole night where I book different bands and DJ’s and my sister does this big fashion show and we’re up to now about 400 people and we’ve raised a few thousand dollars for the charities. We actually got a lot of great donations. The whole thing is like give in to the groove, you don’t have to give money, you can give your time or your services, there are tons of spa services and fun things... and that’s ultimately the goal of the whole thing. Artists of today, grooving for a brighter tomorrow. And the idea that no gift is too big or too small. We need each other, we’re in the community together and we need to help each other.
So ellee, what would you like our readers to take away from your interview?
I want them to know that I’m just like them... that’s the thing, we’re all so similar. It’s just about choices and prioritizing, not being afraid. People who are jerks will be pissed when you’re at your best, but people who love you will be so happy that you are shining and totally rocking it and you just have to remember that and try not to listen to negativity. There’s no reason to listen to negativity—negativity is just negativity, it’s just a thought, it can be easily replaced with another thought and at the end of the day, you want to sleep well and live well and if you honor your instincts and strive to be your best self then you’ll always do the right thing for you and everything will work out for the best.
You know, maybe I won’t end up being a solo artist that people will know in a million households around the world, but maybe I’ll develop a children’s cartoon that’ll be really great and provide something really inspirational for younger kids and then when I’m 60, little ten year olds will think I’m the greatest thing in the whole world. The thing is, you don’t know what’s going to happen tomorrow, that’s why you have to be your best self today.
To learn more about ellee ven, find out where she’s playing next, buy her music, or show your support by grabbing one of her many cute t-shirts, visit her website at http://www.elleeven.com. You can also view several of her independent music videos, including Under My Skin, Wasted, and Lift Me Up, on the Unsigned Music Magazine website at http://www.unsignedmusicmag.com/videos.html.
ellee ven & the Campus Circle Love Doc Give You Love Advice
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I recently met someone through the Internet. She’s funny, smart, and I really enjoy talking to her. ...I recently met someone through the Internet. She’s funny, smart, and I really enjoy talking to her. The problem is I suspect she’s a stalker. I saw her parked across the street from my house late one night. Am I getting in over my head?
—Karl, Los Angeles
ellee ven: I say, RUN LIKE THE WIND. If you suspect it, it’s probably true. If you didn’t invite her over, there’s no reason for her to be across the street. Boundaries are healthy and so is “real-life” dating. Get off the computer and shake it down in your neighborhood because there is no substitute for the real thing.
Love Doc: Hmm … parked across the street late at night? Yeah, I’d say that’s pretty creepy. Especially if you’ve been friendly with her and she knows she can easily make a date to see you. Sounds like she’s one of those “late night drive-by-ers” – constantly checking up on you, what you’re doing and who you’re doing it with. She obviously has major trust issues, so my advice is to stay away. Way away. And don’t forget to take her off your buddy list and block her SN!
A couple years ago, I stopped trusting guys. Someone very close to me just walked out one day without even saying goodbye (my older brother). My family also has extremely bad luck with people walking out on each other. I’m afraid to let people get close to me, but I don’t want to be alone. What should I do?
—Andrea, Van Nuys
ellee ven: My advice is to focus on the brilliance of your own mission. There are many uncertainties in life. The fact is, people change; people fall off bridges. You can not prevent certain things from happening but you can stop yourself from being negative. You can decide to surround yourself with healthy, positive people who encourage you to be your best – and then, do your best. Do not be scared in life. If you think everything is doomed, then it will be. Believe in the perfect moment and it will be!
Love Doc: Well Andrea, there is no guarantee in life that says if you’ve been walked out on before, it won’t happen again. It’s just like my high school algebra teacher used to say, “Life is unfair.” It’s true. Once you realize that, you’ll feel a lot better. But for some real advice as opposed to Zen philosophies, I’d say, put your fears aside, remember that each person is different, and keep open communication with everyone in your life. That way, if someone wants to walk out on you, they’ll at least have the decency to tell it to your face.
I’ve been with my girlfriend for five months now. She has a pretty good job and doesn’t seem to worry about money. I lost my job about two months ago and am really strapped for cash. The problem is, whenever we go out, she still expects me to pay for her. How can I tell her I can’t afford to pay for her without feeling like a big loser?
elle ven: It’s 2004 already! What’s important is that you are in a relationship where you can be honest during your ups and your downs. If she can’t understand that without a job you have less money, I’m not sure what to say. If she loves you she may not care where you eat. Why not go for a picnic or make Top Ramen? Mac & Cheese even (if you don’t have a dairy intolerance). Show her you can be creative without spending money; that’s sexy. If that doesn’t work, find yourself another stripper.
Love Doc: Just say, “Since I lost my job, I’ve been really low on cash. Can you be my sugar mama? I’ll be your love slave in return.”Who knows? If it works, you’d be a winner all around.
TURN LIFE UP!: 10 Not Enough for Ellee Ven
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A couple of years ago, ellee ven was a special guest contributor to Campus Circle’s Love Doc column,...A couple of years ago, ellee ven was a special guest contributor to Campus Circle’s Love Doc column, a forum wherein the romantically challenged seek guidance. The singer doled out advice to a guy who was being stalked by his girlfriend, a woman who had trust issues with all men and an unemployed dude who couldn’t afford to take his lady on a date.
Surprisingly, rather than telling these people to dump her, get a clue and get a job respectively, Ven offered each of the lovelorn real encouragement as an alternative to hopelessness. And that’s not a putting on of airs– it’s the way she lives and it has helped her through some bumps in her own life.
“One of the things that I’ve spiritually learned in my life is that you really do have to be responsible for your path. Along the line sometimes people will is communicate and it’s your job to make sense of it or call them on it,” she says. “You can’t be nice to me one minute then mean to me the other minute and expect me to have a clear vision of what this relationship is about.”
As she further explains her philosophy her voice cracks slightly and she hesitates a bit as she chooses her words carefully; it seems that she is reliving a particularly nasty scene from the past as she speaks. She might be thinking of her marriage that ended badly, an event that in a way was the catalyst that launched her music career.
“Music is so therapeutic. It’s a great outlet for me to express things in a healthy way instead of being angry. It’s somehow very healing.”
When Ven made her decision to step around the obstacles and live life to the fullest she had to do a little jiggling of the handle. First, she renamed herself. Born Jessica Kunin, Ven chose her stage name, often spelled without capital letters and run together as “elleeven” because of its affinity with the word eleven.
“I named myself elleeven because my favorite number is 11 based on the visuals of 11 – like aligning yourself with individuals who are equal in height and girth or just as motivated as you, just as intelligent as you, just as sincere as you, or whatever your qualities are so you can move forward together next to each other. Not bumping into each other, but walking the path together. And that’s what the whole ‘elleeven’ thing is supposed to mean.”
The attitude carries over into Ven’s music; she warns of "mismatched signals” where “we both get burned” in “Signals” where her vocals are beguilingly vulnerable against a rasher of stinging guitar. But the advice is stirred in delicately, like the beats and buoyant synth sounds that accentuate Ven’s sensual, often breathy work on her pop/dance/chill music. On “When” from her Mind Control album she duets with rapper Prodeje while “Heaven You Are In” from The Eleventh Hour finds her pretty voice enhanced by the beauty of fluent Spanish.
Ven releases all of her music (including five mixes of “You Can Own Me” on 12” vinyl) on her own label, Hot Sauce Records. The Hot Sauce logo will soon be gracing an intimate clothing line and Ven also is the driving force behind the annual charity event called Give into the Groove. It seems that if you just give her a minute, she’ll be involved in another good thing or two. Most of us are lucky just to enjoy her music, but if you ever meet elleeven and need some good advice, feel free to ask.
You Can Buy Me will be available April 10.
Women Who Rock!
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This Spanish, Greek, Russian, Italian and German DIY artist, Ellee Ven (born Jessica Lazaro Kunin) i...This Spanish, Greek, Russian, Italian and German DIY artist, Ellee Ven (born Jessica Lazaro Kunin) is known for her dance jams and ballads and her new music-spread mostly through word of mouth and adoring DJ's-never dissapoints fans.
Check out ellee ven on pg 63 in Curve Magazine this month
Generally we do an hour. We prefer to do all originals, but can do some Carole King, Lisa Stansfield and Lenny Kravitz:)
Under My Skin
Underneath My Pillow
Stop The Rain
You Can Buy Me
Roll The Dice
Approximately 45 minutes
PDF RiderStage Plot
There are no upcoming dates at this time.