Havana Brown is embracing the girl power thing.
When she's not galavanting across the globe DJing for thousands of music lovers, Havana Brown is exploring her own sound. Brown has surrounded herself with some of music's greatest and most influential, touring with Britney Spears, Rihanna, Bruno Mars, Chris Brown, Enrique Iglesias and enjoyed insurmountable success in the process with songs like the Pitbull-assisted "We Run the Night." Now, the insightful 30-year-old readies a musical resurgence outside the club and aims to top the charts with her dark pop release for "Battle Cry" featuring Bebe Rexha and Savi. BreatheHeavy caught up with the stunning Australian DJ to chat about her latest single, her expanding sets, living in the moment, why she loves the hectic life in music and the newly premiered Squared Division-directed visual for "Battle Cry."
You recently said the song is different than other records you've released in the past because there are other things that are inspiring for you right now. What are they?
I find that I'm listening to different sounds, different sorts of music, artists and getting inspired by different things - not just music that I play in the clubs. I still love my EDM, and I still love club music and I go out and I DJ every weekend, playing EDM, but slowly, gradually, I've been adding all sorts of music in my set and not just EDM. I'm playing a little more hip-hop than I usually do. Maybe being a bit more of an open format. I think that's just naturally happening. So when I start working on my own music, I go into it with different expressions. Even when it comes to Jack Ü, I love their sound. They're still club orientated, it's definitely got a different feel to it then the dancing thing I've done in the past. All different sorts of stuff.
Who are some of the hip-hop artists you're playing in your sets?
I'm playing a lot of Jack Ü, I've played some Kygo, I'm not saying everything is hip-hop (laughs) and the latest Beyonce or Rihanna. I'm just loving it so much more, and I feel like the crowd is wanting to hear it, too. EDM has had a long time in the spotlight of being very popular. I think now people are ready for a change.
Have there been any changes in your day-to-day life that have inspired your new music?
Every day I am learning something new. I definitely feel like in the last year my mentality has changed a lot. I'm having a lot more fun and enjoying myself and enjoying every moment. I realized you get really stressed. When you do something creative and entertaining, you want people to have fun, but you worry about it, you stress about bettering yourself all the time. Then I thought, 'hold on, I'm entertaining people.' I get to do music, what I love doing as a job - which I wouldn't really even call a job. Why am I stressed? I'm not doing heart surgery. I should be enjoying every single second that I'm able to do this.
Is there any inherent pressure to continually make hits and reach No. 1?
Maybe in the beginning, I probably thought that. I feel like now music is so fast, and people are ingesting it, loving it and then moving on very quickly because it's so accessible. For me, it's about making good music. Obviously if it does very well I'll be extremely happy, but I am working on music all the time. I just keep going, keep putting out music. We're really fortunate as musicians - there's so many platforms where you can expose your music and get it out there. There's no point in being too sensitive about it. I think you just gotta move onto the next track.
Why did you decide to run with a Western femme fatale theme for the "Battle Cry" music video?
There's a couple of reasons. I think in the song, there's a lot of metaphors that relate to the Western [theme], the bangs, and the gun, talking about rifles, it's a very tough song. It's a song about not allowing people to walk all over you and demanding some sort of respect. Demanding respect you deserve. So with the Western... if you're into Westerns at all, you'll find that people are always killing people! You could be wrong - that's it you're gone. There's some bit of comedy to that as well, which I find hilarious - it's just so easy-going. With the Western, I just imagined it being out in the desert, being dressed as a cowgirl and it felt right for the song. I'm loving a lot of the Western cowgirl-type influence in fashion (laughs). There's a lot of flares, hats, I'm really loving that fashion. I'm pretty lucky to have both of those things together to do it for the song.
Would you say this is one of your favorite videos you've shot?
Yeah! It was amazing. We really were able to achieve a lot in a day. The styling is my favorite I have ever had, I love every single outfit that I wore. I just think it's fun, it's adventurous, it's kind of a little dark comedy. It's to be taken lightly. There's so much I love about the video. It also shows a lot of my personality - that I really appreciate. Sometimes I feel like when it's edited, you can lose your personality - if the director doesn't know you that well, but I am really good friends with The Squared Division, the guys who directed the video, and they know exactly how I am. They know I don't take myself too seriously. I'm always running around doing stupid stuff. Just having fun. I feel like they captured that in the video as well.
How was working with the song's feature Bebe Rexha?
Ahhh! She is such a great writer. I feel like she's got a twisted mind, and I love that. I've always loved with my music - I always like a little bit of darkness to the pop and light. She has that. She to me is such a great writer, artist, everything, very inspiring. And she's written some amazing tracks like "Monster" for Eminem with Rihanna, and she's on the "Hey Mama" track with David Guetta and Nicki Minaj. I'm in love with her right now.
Was she a first choice to have as a feature on the song?
Yeah! Oh absolutely. Well you know what? At first I was thinking maybe a male, but I'm kind of loving this whole girl power thing right now and embracing other females and trying to support each other. I'm just loving that right now, and Bebe Rexha is going to be huge.
Is there someone in music you'd like to work with but haven't yet?
I'd love to work with Diplo. I've really liked him for a long time, even before he's written with Skrillex. I just love how wild his production is. It's kind of aggressive and fun - I always wanna dance when I hear his music.
I saw you just played in Vegas!
Vegas is insane. That's what I love about it, it's one of my favorite places to play. Everyone goes there and loses all their inhibition. That's the best crowd for a DJ to play.
What's something you live by?
Something that I'm still working on is to live in the moment. Not in the future, not in the past. That is really truly how you can be truly happy. In the moment, not thinking about what you're going to do in the future, what's going to happen in the future and in the moment. Mistakes you might have done in the past and regrets that you might have - living in the moment tends to be the best way to live.