DIY Spotlight: Vanessa Silberman

Two decades in the music business and the artist referred to as the “DIY Queen” is showing no signs of slowing down. 2020 saw Vanessa Silberman release a string of monthly singles, and she’s dropping more in the new year.

Silberman grew up between Northern California and Hawaii, but it was a move to Los Angeles in 2001 that saw her start taking music seriously. She’s now based out of Brooklyn, but that focussed mindset remains.

“I lived on the road for about four years between 2015 and 2019,” she says. “I played over 800 shows. I also had a band for a really long time that I used as a moniker, Diamonds Under Fire. I had some really exciting tours that I did with that. I’m also a recording engineer and a producer, and I used to be the in-house assistant at Studio 606, which is the Foo Fighters’ studio. Those are some of my more exciting accomplishments that I feel really proud of.”

That DIY Queen tag makes Silberman perfect for this column. We ask where it came from, and what it means to her.

“DIY is really just doing it yourself,” she says. “I think the ethics behind it is not waiting around for someone to make stuff happen, but making it happen yourself. I looked at touring that way. I had already been in the business for a long time, toured, and worked for a lot of different people in the music business. I had moved to L.A. to just tour and make music.”

Silberman says that her sound has evolved a lot in two decades, and it continues to do so. Some of that is organic, some is by design.

“Initially, a lot of the inspiration came from punk and rock, and the grunge era,” she says. “Classic songwriters like Patti Smith and Tom Petty. But I went from the punk raw energy to this whole year developing working on the production and getting more into pop rock. Next year it’ll be completely different. The sounds I put out next year will be a lot of dance and pop, mixed with some acoustic stuff.”