Sounds: Vanessa Van Ness // “True True Shot”

Channeling Patti Smith and Laurie Anderson, Vanessa Van Ness hits you straight in the gut lyrically with the tune “True True Shot.” Her dark, soothing vocals, up tempo yet simplistic instrumentals, and true-to-form storytelling, Vanessa Van Ness isn’t a run-of-the-mill indie rock/pop artist. She has a story to tell and the vocals to belt it out; and then you get to the Lou Reed-esque guitar interlude, and all hell breaks out.

Using field recordings of jungle cicadas, hurricanes, and storms alongside drum machines, bluesy, psychedelic guitar riffs, bongos, and descriptive lyrics, True True Shot takes you into a world of storm riders (drug dealers), natural disasters, and ‘90s icons.

The tune “True True Shot” is gritty New York in the late 70’s, early 80’s but Vanessa Van Ness isn’t hanging out at Hotel Chelsea or on St. Marks. She’s a Melbourne-based guitarist, singer, songwriter, and producer from Venice Beach, Los Angeles. Before pursuing music, she worked in film & television and would often volunteer as a disaster responder between film shoots—which might be where the dark, despondent vocals come from.

True True Shot is about a storm that destroys a small city in 1994. The storm is a metaphor for a heroin epidemic. The song is partly based on my experience as a disaster responder in the 2015 Nepal Earthquake, as well as my time on various hurricane response projects in the US.

Vanessa Van Ness

“True True Shot,” was written while she was living in Nepal as a disaster responder after the 2015 Nepal Earthquake. Listen to the tune below.