At eighteen, Toronto singer-songwriter Veronica Sabah—known in the music world as Vroni—is looking to make waves with her debut EP, Illusions. Elected as a Youth Day ambassador, the focus on mental illness and bullying shines through in both her lyrics and her personal life. We caught up with her to ask what kind of reactions these topics have been eliciting from audiences, her music career so far, and what the future holds.
First of all, congratulations on the release of Illusions. What sort of reception would you say the EP has gotten so far?
Thank you very much. I would say that my EP has gratefully gotten nothing but positive feedback. People seem to really love it, especially the song “Parasite.” I am guessing that Parasite is most people’s fave! Overall I am glad that the work my team and I put into the EP was worth it.
The five-track EP has a heavy focus on bullying and mental illness awareness. What sparked the inspiration for those topics to be the driving force behind your songs?
What inspired bullying and mental illness to be the driving force behind my songs is several things that I am going to be open about. Growing up I’ve experienced some very though times. I was bullied at the age of six, while everyone would have bffs and fun days at school, I would have miserable days in school and out of school. One day this girl kicked me in the face with her winter boot, leaving my face with red marks. It was hurtful towards me because all I wanted was to be like everyone else but never seemed to fit in. Out of school, I was cyber bullied almost every day on msn by girls I thought were my friends. Getting bullied for most of my school years caused me to struggle with anxiety and depression. From there more struggles affected my teenage years. Having these issues made me live life in darkness. While struggling, I was always helping people with similar issues as me. From there I got inspired to help people with something that most teenagers struggle with- a mental illness. I thought that since I love to sing, I can use my voice to help people through my music.
What is the overriding message you want your listeners to take away from Illusions?
The overriding message I want my listeners to take away from Illusions is to be aware of what bullying can really do to somebody’s life. I want them to know that it’s not an easy thing and I want people not assume they know, especially if they haven’t experienced it. I am hoping that the newer generation’s bullying will decrease a significant amount and less people will develop a mental illness from life struggles. I also want my listeners to see that there is always a light at the end of the tunnel- when they are struggling in life and that if not now, they will surely overcome it afterwards.
Which of the tracks on Illusions was the most difficult for you to write, and why?
Reflections was the most difficult for me to write. When I sat in the studio with my producers… all I could feel is tears wanting to come down from my eyes while speaking about my experiences. I closed my eyes and thought of everything that had happened to me and how it really made me feel and that is when the words started to come out and a song was created-Reflections.
Which of the songs did you end up being the most proud of, would you say?
I honestly ended up being proud of the outcome of all my songs on the EP. I am definitely proud of Reflections because of the deep message it portrays and since my goal is to inspire people and hopefully make a difference, Reflections truly shows that.
And which is the most enjoyable for you to play live?
The most enjoyable, fun song for me to play live is Parasite because of the production and the sick high notes that I love to hit. It is a challenging song, but I enjoy it because of that reason.
Now, the topics of mental illness and bullying are ones that have been covered expansively by musicians, authors, directors, and artists, and both are popular topics as of late. As a songwriter, do you feel that you succeeded in making these topics fresh and original for your audience?
In full honesty, yes I do feel like I have succeeded in making these topics fresh and original because not only do they send a message but they are very modern beats. The whole EP is created from my life experiences and everyone has their very own life story. That is what makes mine original… because it is a different type of story that I get to tell.
Moving forward, are these topics likely to be a driving force behind your upcoming songs, or has inspiration started to come from other causes?
In the future, as I create more music, I always want to focus on situations similar to these that can relate to many people. The inspiration to start creating music about struggles, specifically bullying and mental illnesses is personal experiences as I started to look up to artists who I was able to relate to. From there I got the confidence to be the support to others when they needed it.
Speaking of the future, what have you got lined up for 2017 performance-wise?
For 2017, I have lots of great things coming up. I am the ambassador of this summers Youth Day, so I will be speaking on the big stage about Bullying along with the song Reflections- from my EP, Illusions. I did a lot of shows in the beginning of 2017 and will be doing more in the coming months. As well, I will be collaborating with a significant amount of talented artists on projects, which is up lifting.
And lastly, do you have any hints of another upcoming album or EP on the horizon?
No specific hints yet, but definitely new music coming and hopefully a music video!
My name is Emma Sloan. I am a Canadian content writer, columnist, and published poet. As of 2018, I have five writing credits to my name including Beatroute Magazine, This Side of West, The Martlet, and BALDHIP Magazine, but that list continuously being added to. Follow me on Instagram at @emmacsloan for writing updates and news.