Havana Brown's New Single 'Forever Young' to Light Up the Gold Coast 500

As the excitement builds for this weekend's Gold Coast 500, we had the honour of catching up with the dynamic and influential Havana Brown.
Havana Brown's New Single 'Forever Young' to Light Up the Gold Coast 500

As anticipation builds before the upcoming Gold Coast 500, we had the privilege of catching up with boss babe and unstoppable force in the world of music, Havana Brown.

The DJ, singer and record label owner has graced some of the world’s biggest stages alongside pop royalty, like Britney Spears. In this exciting and wide-ranging interview, Havana takes us on a journey through her incredible career so far, sharing some unique experiences, the feline inspiration for her name, and what we can expect from her upcoming performance at the Gold Coast 500, where she will share her latest single ‘Forever Young’ with Queensland audiences for the first time. So buckle up as we delve into the world of Havana Brown.

Could you give us some insights into what’s in store for your performance at the Gold Coast 500?

I am so excited for it! I did it a long time ago, but I’ve heard that it’s grown so much and everyone has just been raving about it. The Gold Coast knows how to have a good time, and the weather’s going to be perfect. I know the vibes will be high.

It’s going to be one of the very first shows that I’m going to perform in Australia where I’ll be performing my new single, ‘Forever Young’. So I’m really excited for that. I played it for the very first time in Malaysia just last week, and the crowd went insane! I just can’t wait for the Australian audiences to hear it, especially on the Gold Coast, because I know they recognise a good song when they hear it, right?

‘Forever Young’ is such a feel-good anthem, what was your inspiration behind the track and lyrics?

I know that it was a little while ago now, but COVID was a pretty hard time. I thought that we would never get back to normal, and that i would never be able to do the things that i had been doing for the past 10 years.
It felt like the clubs would never be the same, the crowds would never be the same. I was in shock and kept thinking to myself, Oh my gosh, I took it all for granted. I’m from Melbourne, so we were experiencing some intense lockdowns there. I did think that I might never get the chance to do it again.
I thought that if things go back to normal, I’m never going to take it for granted. I’m going to enjoy every second.

I feel like now everyone’s kind of feeling that appreciation for the freedom of enjoying themselves and being able to go out and dance. in fact, i reckon some people are having even more fun than they did before.
From all of that, I’m in the mode of wanting to write things that remind us to be in the moment, to show appreciation, show love to each other, and for what we have, and to not continuously live in fear and doubt.
But rather try to capture those moments where everything is perfect around you and appreciate that, and live in the moment and feel, in some way, ‘forever young’.
When you’re a kid, you go into life thinking you can achieve anything, be anything. I never want to lose that, and I guess this song is trying to capture that and trying to never lose that feeling of being young, hopeful and excited about life.

‘Forever Young’ is the first song you’ve released under your new label, Havana Brown Entertainment. What motivated you to start your own label?

It’s always been my dream to be able to have something like this. It was definitely time for me as an artist to have a more hands-on approach in the sense of when and what I’m releasing, and also to have more ownership over the music that I’m making as well. It’s a lot of work; I won’t lie. At the same time, I’m up for it! I’ve been with Universal for over 10 years, and we had great success, and I appreciate them so much. But it’s just time to progress in my career and in my business as well.

In terms of having more creative freedom, can you tell us about any upcoming projects or new directions you might be taking with your music?

I’ve got quite a few songs in the bag! I’m aiming to release an album next year too. Everything that I’ve been working on is definitely in the dance world, that’s for sure. I’ve been trying to get out as much lyrically, but I am also working on more club tracks as well to mix in with my more commercial tracks.
So yeah, it’s definitely more diverse— it’s dance, dance, pop, techno. But ultimately I would like all of it to be played out in the club and, of course, for all of it to make people dance and feel good!

Speaking of making people feel good – what’s your favourite song to perform and why?

You know what? I like to play ‘Big Banana,’ and I also love to play ‘Warrior.’ Both for different reasons. ‘Big Banana’ is a little bit cheeky and it’s a little bit fun, and the crowd always goes off and everyone knows the lyrics, and I love to call out the boys as well! But I think the strongest one I love is ‘Warrior’ because everyone sings every single lyric with me, and it’s a very powerful song. I love the lyrical content of it, and I love what it’s saying; it’s about dancing to your own beat and doing what you feel like doing, regardless of what anyone else is saying. And I love that message.

What are your favourite go-to spots when you’re visiting the Gold Coast?

Every time I have a show on the Gold Coast, I always stay a couple of days after my show because I just enjoy it so much. The weather is obviously incredible, and I have some favourite restaurants I always visit.
One that I go to all the time because I love the steaks is Moo Moo at Broadbeach. I just love the Gold Coast, to be honest. Many times I’ve contemplated buying a place there because I need somewhere to get away from the Melbourne winter. So you never know; I could be your neighbour soon!

What about clubs; what’s your go-to venue on the Gold Coast?

I regularly play at Asylum, which I think is one of the greatest clubs, and I always do Schoolies there — it’s such a vibe!

You’ve played with huge names like Britney, Rihanna, and Lady Gaga, to name a few. Has there been a standout experience for you over the years?

I still can’t believe I’ve been able to do these tours with these big acts! I’ve had so much fun doing every single one of them, to be honest. I love touring with Pitbull. He’s so much fun and knows how to have a good time after the show. There’s always a party in the hallways backstage with Latino music blasting. It’s like a family as well. So, I really enjoy that.

That said, I’ll never ever forget the first show I did with Britney Spears in Paris in 2009. I was doing the show on the day that I flew in; I’d flown around 24 hours. I tried to get a couple of hours of sleep, but it didn’t matter because I couldn’t sleep due to nerves. I couldn’t even eat!

Before I went on, Britney Spears’ father came into my dressing room and said, “Look, I just want to say that there are 35,000 people out in the arena, and it’s silent; no one is even talking, there’s no chatter. They’re all completely silent. So when you get up there, I need you to pump them up, right?” And that was basically how we were introduced. So he’s telling me that I need to pump them up, and I’m thinking, That’s what I’m hoping I’m going to do!

It was silent out there; you could hear a pin drop. I remember just feeling so sick inside, freaking out. Then there’s all the doubt that comes into your mind: What am I going to do? What if I fail? What if I fall off the stage? I thought, How do I get out of this? Because that fear, when you’re that nervous, you’re trying to find an escape.
Next thing, he’s counting down, “10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1.” I went up, and all I remember is as soon as I started playing, the crowd just roared. I don’t remember anything after that! I was in this intense zone, with all that nervous energy; I was in another world, basically.

After that show, they asked me if I could do the rest of the tour. I’ve never felt such intense fear and then intense happiness afterwards. Even as I talk about it, I can feel all the emotions going through me.
I learned that those nerves are good to have, and it’s scary, but it’s the best thing when you conquer it and you do a good job. The confidence it builds within you is amazing. No one can do it for you. Conquering those stepping stones inside of you, that’s what gives you the confidence to do even bigger and better things and take more risks.

That’s great advice, and it leads perfectly to my next question: What advice do you have for women interested in pursuing a music career?

You’ve got to be obsessed; it’s got to be an absolute passion. I’ve had so many failures and to start all over again, sometimes I look back and think, “How did I keep getting back up?” I believe the perseverance and the obsession with music and performing are the reasons I was able to get back up.
It does hurt the ego, and it affects your confidence whenever things don’t work out the way you expect. That’s why I think it needs to be an obsession because you’re going to have a lot of times where it doesn’t work out. A lot of it for me is that I don’t want to be on my deathbed one day and regret not giving it my best or thinking I could have tried harder. Entertainment and music are the best jobs in the world. I feel lucky that I get to do this and that this is my career. So, if you can persevere and keep going despite the setbacks, and eventually make it your career, you’re going to be extremely happy — and that’s what we are all ultimately seeking: happiness in our lives!

Can you tell us the inspiration behind adopting the name Havana Brown?

Absolutely. My real name is Angelique Meunier, which is a French name. It’s a long name. I love the name, but as a DJ and on stage, I just didn’t feel like it suited me. So I kind of wanted an alias name that better suited the person I am on stage. I was looking at breeds of cats because I do love cats. I admire their personalities in the sense that they are independent and know what they want. I came across the Havana Brown, a rare breed of cat with a brown coat and green eyes. At the time when I first started DJing, there weren’t many female DJs. So it kind of fit in a lot of ways. And I loved that. It sounded like a name, too; it could be my name. It essentially is my name now; I’ve adopted it!
Anyone who has met me after I became Havana Brown calls me Havana Brown, Havana H, or HB.

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Ky Mi
Ky Mi

Ky Mi is a Radio show host and music blogger at Electronic Music Australia as well as an independent record label owner with a passion for all things music, but particularly electronic music.

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