Cardiff female pop duo, The Debutantes are taking the airwaves by storm with their latest single, Heartache, which featured on the BBC Radio Wales playlist this week.
Heartache is the The Debutantes, Victoria and Lavinia George Veale’s third release, following previous singles (If Paradise Is ) Half As Nice, a cover of The Amen Corners 1969 No 1 hit, and My Precious Love, which is one of many original songs from their forthcoming album Symphonic Pop.
Andy Howells recently put questions to Victoria and Lavinia about their new release and life during lockdown.
Do you come from a musical family background?
Yes, we both grew up in a musical environment with both our parents being professional musicians so naturally we developed a love for music. We used to attend many concerts that our Dad played in with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales at the St.Davids Hall and enjoyed listening to classical music. Our Mum would always bring the old record player out to play us 60’s music like the Bee Gees, The Monkees, The Crystals, The Ronettes, Dusty Springfield, the list goes on!
When did you both realise you could sing together?
We always would sing together from a very young age both for enjoyment, performing at events and also entering competitions. So, singing together has always been there and it’s so great that we can continue when we both have separate jobs as well!
So, prior to The Debutantes what were you both doing?
Lavinia has just finished her degree in Musical Theatre in London, so she has been studying for five years, she’s very happy to have completed her degree! Victoria is an actress and presenter who also runs her own school of performing arts, so she was (and still is!) very busy with teaching and presenting events such as International film festivals and fashion shows – of course only once safe after the pandemic.
Was it always your intention to be a female pop duo?
We always have sung together as sisters and still would be even if we didn’t have The Debutantes, but now we have a pop duo together it’s an absolute dream to sing in one of our favourite styles of music with Alan Jones’ original songs!
The story goes you met Alan Jones in a Cardiff coffee shop and gave him an A Capella audition in your living room. What do you remember about that?
Yes! So we met in a coffee shop to introduce ourselves to Alan and to talk about his project and his songs which was very exciting for us as we knew we were meeting a member from The Amen Corner about an exciting project. We then all thought it would be a great idea if Alan could listen to us singing live so we invited him back to our living room to sing a few songs A cappella for him!
Where did the 1960s influence (which also filters through into your style) come in?
Yes all of our songs are 60’s Symphonic Pop, Alan Jones is the writer of all of the songs we record and are suited to the style of the 60’s but with a modern twist to them to make them feel 60’s but current! We do love 60’s clothing as well, most of our fashion, especially in our music videos has been influenced through our mothers wardrobe as she had saved all items of clothing from when she was growing up in the 60’s and has always given us really helpful advice and direction on our fashion! We have also used clothing garments from Boohoo and a few other shops with items with a 60’s twist to them!
Where did the name The Debutantes come from?
We went through quite a few different names for the band actually! Originally we always named ourselves ‘The G-V’s’ because George-Veale is our double barrelled surname and we thought it sounded slightly like ‘The Bee Gees’ who we love but also thought we needed to change it as it sounded quite cheesy and dated! So, we thought of names such as The Brunettes but found that band name already existed and a few others and in the end Alan came up with the name ‘The Debutantes’ and it just suited us as a due very well!
Your first release was a cover of The Amen Corner’s If Paradise Is Half As Nice of which you shared the vocal with original Amen front man Andy Fairweather Low – how did that come about?
When we heard we were going to record a cover of ‘If Paradise Is Half As Nice’ and release it as our first single we were over the moon! Alan suggested it would be really great if we could record this but also have the original singer from The Amen Corner – Andy Fairweather Low record vocals with us. It was such a privilege to be able to sing with him on the same song, we couldn’t have been more grateful!
Evidently, recent months have been difficult in the world of live performance. How have you both handled life in lockdown?
Yes, the world of performing is struggling massively, the arts community we have is definitely supporting each other more than ever but it is definitely challenging for all performers right now!
Lavinia has been completing her Musical Theatre Degree in London which has been quite challenging completing a practical course from home, but she has also been taking the time to do things she hasn’t had the time for such as painting, drawing, writing music, recording and baking!
Victoria has actually become more busy during lockdown!! She still teaches performing arts but safely online and has created a Worldwide pageant called Miss Regal World which is open to all females across the Globe! This online pageant was created by Victoria to create a sense of unity and to spread joy to others during this very difficult time. She has very recently just been chosen after many interview phone calls, to be the Face of WOHA 2020 (Woman of Heart Awards). This is a platform celebrating the diversity of women around the World and Victoria is excited to raise awareness of mental health and to spread kindness and joy to others.
Tell us about your latest single, Heartache?
During lockdown we decided it would be a great time to release a single and find a way to keep things going without having our production team at hand! So, we chose to release ‘Heartache’ as a single and created a home-made music video in lockdown produced by yours truly…The Debutantes!
The story behind our ‘Heartache’ music video is that we were both dating the same guy (but we weren’t aware of this!) and he strung us along until one day he ended the relationship by writing to us with the same letter! Even though we were heartbroken and disgusted at the same time, we eventually realise that we didn’t need him in the end.
You have been working on your album; can you tell us about that?
Yes, we do have an album ready to be released hopefully towards the beginning of 2021 which we are all really excited about. There are 14 songs on the album, and all are within the 60’s symphonic pop genre but each song has a different essence to it!
So, when you are chilling out, what do you both enjoy listening to?
We both love 60’s music, we have grown up listening to artists like The Bee Gees, The Monkees, The Ronettes, The Crystals, Dusty Springfield, Petula Clark, again the list goes on! But we also like listening to other genres of music, Lavinia has a big passion for musical theatre so listens to a lot of musical singers especially Sierra Boggess and she also loves listening to Lady Gaga, Ed Sheeran, ABBA, Green Day and any song that is uplifting or has a true meaning to it. Her playlist is very varied! Victoria loves listening to many genres of music as well but particularly likes classical, especially Tchaikovsky and Rachmaninov.
And beyond lockdown what are you both looking forward to doing next?
We are both super excited to (hopefully) be performing as The Debutantes in Madeira Fashion Week later this year! Of course, this event may or may not take place due to the pandemic, however we are keeping our fingers crossed as it would be wonderful to sing at such a fantastic event in Madeira where Cristiano Ronaldo’s family will be attending!
- Heartache is available to listen and download via digital platforms and you can keep up to date on further details on The Debutantes by visiting their official website.