Living in Los Angeles is not for everyone. It’s fast paced, expensive and you never really know who’s on your side – at least that’s what I’d say about it and why I think of packing up and heading east every other week. For Ellee Ven though, she decided it wasn’t for her and decided after having to get behind the wheel for every little errand, that she needed something new. So when she stumbled upon a new place out east, she went for it, “I could afford to be there but it was exhausting. And then I discovered Lexington! Which is beautiful and wild and crazy enough with some elbow room. The arts community is great here too,” saying that she’ll visit LA again from time to time but this self-proclaimed dreamer has other travels on her agenda first, “I am just back from India and on my way to Spain and Morocco and France and Bali this year!” And when she’s not boarding a plane, she’s working on her own music as well as spreading creativity in a multitude of other ways.
Having been called the “Deborah Harry for the New Millennium,” could be pressure building for some — Ven doesn’t let it go to her head, saying, “I think I will definitely take that as a mind blowing compliment and frolic right back to work.” Like Harry though, who’s career is rooted in hip hop (yup!), Ven has had a rapper by the name of Prodéje by her side for over a decade now. They’ve worked together in front and behind the mic, and have teamed up for her latest, “You Me Us Oui.” The song is stellar and the video is even more so. Ven believes in being very visual with her craft “because it’s fun,” but notes she let director David Donihue take the reins when it came time to shoot the video, “I just knew I didn’t want to be in it very much . . . the song was kitschy and light so I wanted the video to be fun. I saw David Donihue’s reel and he pitched me the treatment. I filmed here on my iPhone. He filmed in LA.”
On top of being an artist, Ven also has her own label and decided to do so when she realized it was the only way she could have complete control over her own fate. Owning your own company though comes with its highs and lows, and Ven isn’t blind to them, “The ups and downs of being an artist seem natural in that it’s just life you’re singing about. There are ups there are down . . . there are moments of GREATNESS. And moments of weakness. It’s natural. Running a business is much much harder. You have to be a machine. Always on top … amaaaazing. Turns out I am not. I’ve made so many mistakes but with a handful of trusted cohorts I manage to stay afloat. Just writing and having the privilege of performing keeps me interested.”
Creating your own music and running a label, what more could Ven have under her belt? Oh you know, her annual “Give Into The Groove” benefit – a live music event, as well as The Virtual Quilt, which helps raise funds for kids’ schools. She’s very proud of it and says, “I am hoping that 2016 really gets us on the map. I love this idea because it empowers children to use their talent to support something other than themselves. The leaderboards and map are fun new components that create lessons for the teachers and connect the child’s effort to something tangible!”
When you call her an ambitious person, Ven would disagree. Noting, “I’m a dreamer. Very in love with the best case scenario. I can be careless and not very results oriented which is a confusing quality. But I love music because it is very free form and it’s done when I say it’s done. Unless someone wants to take another stab at it . . . and in that case it’s called a remix! Buuut, I do wish I were more ambitious. I don’t feel that I’ve given every song in my catalog the attention or “life” that it deserves.” With that, Ven is traveling this year as a gift to herself, making music and spending a good chunk of March dedicated to launching The Virtual Quilt’s site.