Photo Credit: Zedpro Media
Recently I had the pleasure to listen to Toronto based artist Veronica’s debut release, V1 Mixtape, filled with club-souled, groove-laden, mature-pop tracks, and ask her about the album, her music, and life in general. Veronica was gracious enough to answer the lengthy list of questions sent her way giving us insight into her processes, tastes, and outlooks.
Without further ado, let’s get into it!
First off, congratulations on your debut album, V1 Mixtape, a strong collection of mature, catchy club tunes with well-placed vocals, hook-filled melodies, and arrangements that are open and spacious while intertwining creative sounds, beats, and effects.
Thank you so much! So happy with how it turned out.
VI Mixtape has a groovy, cool, consistent sound and vibe to the record. Were the thematic, sound, and arrangement choices decided or planned before going into the studio, or was it created in tandem as part of the recording/production process? How collaborative is your song arranging, sound choices and overall production process?
All of V1 was worked on in my studio with my producer. Every song on the album we started without the intention of being our favourites – it just happened naturally with every song. We knew as we began to complete them that they all had a special quality to them. All the concrete ideas came from experiences in life and my producer was able to help me apply them to each song!
Lyrically, where do you find your inspiration? Are your lyrics personally reflective, observational, or experiential? Are there any lyrists/songwriters/authors you look up to or emulate?
Mostly experiential, lots of crazy stuff is continuously happening in my life so there is always something to write about. I appreciate any songwriter’s ability to create beautiful music. One of my biggest idols is Rick Rubin – he didn’t know how to produce music but had an ear for what makes music great. That takes a lot of skill.
At times you add a creative edge to your vocal delivery, which is predominately very clean and clear, with a natural sounding ease. Vocally, who are your main influences or artistic inspirations?
Frank Sinatra, Gwen Stefani, Missy Elliot to name a few. Frank has an incredible ability to deliver music with feeling which to me is the most important! It’s all about the feeling. At the end of the day trills and hitting high notes is very pretty but as an artist, my favourite musicians have the ability to make me feel their pain, happiness, whatever it might be through their ease and natural sounding style.
Creatively, where do draw your songwriting influences? How has your songwriting, or creative approached, changed over your professional career?
Songwriting is similar to math because there are many different formulas and theories you apply to write a great song. Over my career, I have seen how my personal formulas change through listening to other styles of music and other writing patterns. Writing music can be one of the most effortless experiences if you trust yourself in your abilities and are confident you can structure a masterpiece!
What was the most satisfying aspect of this project, what part of the album are you the most proud?
I’m proud of every single piece of this album. It’s been my dream to release a project and it’s been 4 years of finding myself as a musician to confidently introduce the world to my new sound.
V1 Mixtape has a club feel with a laid back, casual feel, and deep groove. What type of audience are you hoping to reach with your new project?
I feel like it hits the high school market (rebellious teenagers) to 35-year-olds.
As a professional musician, I am sure they have been times when you have heard a song of yours played somewhere unexpectedly. Do you have any favourite memories of hearing your music played back to you unexpectedly, such as at a specific club or radio program?
One of my close friends works at Door Three, a club in Toronto. One night I told him I was going to swing through after the studio, and I walked in and they started playing “Tell Me” featuring Dallas! Dallas was there for her birthday so it was a very special moment for us.
“Rari” has a well-placed, nicely done rap style section. Who are your main rap/hip hop influences and how much does hip hop style and culture influence your artistic choices?
Thank you! I’ve loved rap music since I was a kid. Notorious B.I.G., Mase, Snoop Dogg, Kanye and 50 Cent have always been my favourites! They all have unique tones that made me fall in love. Rap and Hip-hop have influenced almost all my artistic choices and it feels like it’s just something that I have been surrounded with my whole life, no other genre really compares. I was the kid listening to crazy hip-hop while all my friends were jamming to the Spice Girls.
When you are not in the studio, what are your favourite non-musical activities?
I am the biggest foodie!! I love discovering new places in Toronto when I have time off to eat delicious food. I also just enjoy trying out new things with my friends like fun activities and vacation spots. It can be really hard to enjoy the non-music related events and have fun especially when I’m working on a big release but taking the time to appreciate my family and friends is very important.
Besides your original music, what other genre of music or style would you like to experiment with or record on an album?
Latin music and some Indie Rock… both very different but I think with my unique style of singing something awesome can happen 🙂
If you were going to plan and book your own festival, say Veronica Fest, (I am sure you can think of a better name) and could include your favourite bands or recording artists, who would you book to perform and why?
Any type of festival I would create would be for independent artists only. There are so many signed artists I would want to include, but I would rather create a massive festival that is driven only by creativity and independence. Artists like Chance the Rapper, Russ, Daniel Ceasar, and many other independent artists would play!
What was the inspiration behind the title V1 Mixtape?
Everyone calls me V. This is the first mixtape I’ve ever released so V1 is like a self-titled project. The next one will be V2. I think the simplicity is awesome!
Passing the 3 million streaming mark on Spotify, and nearing 1 million views on your YouTube channel, there is a huge fan base finding and enjoying your music. What are you hoping new, and established fans alike, will take away from V1 Mixtape?
I hope that my fans have seen my authentic side through V1. All me. 100%. All my blood sweat and tears. Everything that I wanted in my first mixtape release!
If you had a time traveling DeLorean, a la Back to the Future style, would you have any advice to your younger self concerning life, the universe, and everything?
A: I would tell my younger self to stop listening to the big scary labels saying I needed to lose weight and wear more makeup. I would have told myself to NEVER listen to those people and everything I needed to do and needed to create was for ME and no one else.
Thanks for your time and thoughts, Veronica! I am positive your audience and fans can’t wait to hear about your future endeavors and adventures!
The Riz is a prolific multi-genre songwriter, lyricist, writer and bassist for “Demolition Rock” sensation Ultimate Power Duo. A staple of the Saskatoon music scene, he has toured extensively across Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. The Riz is also the composer and saxophone player for R. Muttering, an avant-garde soundscape improvisational electro-acoustic performance art and recording group. Besides his Bachelor of Music in Music Education (B. Mus. (Mus. Ed.) / B. Ed. (Mus.)) from the University of Saskatchewan, he has amazing comic and vinyl collections.