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Interview with Victoria Boland
By Kenny Love
(more articles from this author)
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"I think it's so great that a "voice" won, not an image, because for years, the music industry has been run on image, and that drives me nuts. I want to hear talent, not see beauty queens winning because their teeth are perfect. Hopefully, the industry will open their eyes a bit more now, and search for a different league of talent to come on the scene." - Victoria Boland, on Kelly Clarkson's "American Idol" win

Victoria Boland is a Canadian artist who transcends genres on any given recording as easily as any. I recently interviewed Ms. Boland regarding her career and where she sees the industry headed.

[Kenny Love] First of all, let me apologize for my tardiness...I completely messed up the time frame.

Victoria Boland That's quite gave me time to grab a bite to eat...

[Kenny Love] Which release is this for you?

Victoria Boland The "All Woman Girl" CD? That was my first "official," so to speak, release. All my other recordings or CDs that I've got going are just demos for other people or compilations of my songs, or songs that I've covered. I haven't released anything else...yet!

[Kenny Love] I was listening to "Paradise For Two," which has a very nice island influence, and your voice is, pardon the reference, amazingly akin to Karen Carpenter's.

Victoria Boland Wow, thank you! A comparison to Karen Carpenter's voice will keep ya in the good books...ha ha! Actually, “Paradise For Two” is one song that seems to really get a lot of attention from listeners. I'm constantly getting mail from people commenting on that tune...slightly reminiscent of the '40's, isn't it? It was a demo for a wonderful older songwriter I work with.

[Kenny Love] I also noticed that you explore multiple genres. Since you have such an eclectic repertoire, do you also have a favorite style?

Victoria Boland I can't just sing one style...all my life I've listened to all types of music, and I guess that's influenced me. I love to try new things, especially when it comes to music, because music doesn't belong in a "box," as it's so typically referred to. I don't have a favourite style, although I do tend to bend towards bluesy, feeling songs and songs that are gripping, whether it be through their musical composition, or through their words. I have to "feel" my music, or I won't sing it.

[Kenny Love] I know exactly what you mean, both as an artist and as a former record promoter. I also grew up listening to a variety of styles, of which I consider to be a strong advantage in my composing, as I am able to draw from a myriad of influences.

Victoria Boland I totally agree that having a wide range of music around as I was (and always will be) growing has given me "an edge" to my composing. You can "hear" so many more things and I'm also open to many other ideas, because it could work.

[Kenny Love] On any of the work, are you playing instruments at any point as well?

Victoria Boland The only instrument I play is my voice. I dittle around on the keyboard and when I write, I know how to put the song together through its chord structure, but I would never, at this point anyway, say that I can play another instrument.

[Kenny Love] I read that you were also the opening act for Shania Twain and her approximately 17,000 fans. What was that experience like?

Victoria Boland Alright, this one again...ha ha. I didn't "open" for her. What it was is this: during her 1999 tour, every stop she made, a contest was held in that city leading up to her arrival where you had to send in a demo of you singing "What Made You Say That" from her first album. The radio stations went through all the auditions, and picked 3 finalists...I was one of them, and a face off competition was held, of which I was the winner. This win gave me the opportunity to perform that song half way through Shania's all that? The experience was absolutely eye opening and awesome! 17,500 screaming fans giving you a standing is incredible.

[Kenny Love] I'll, let's talk "shop" for a sec...the inevitable question here...what is your perspective on the current state of the music industry, and where do you see it ending up?

Victoria Boland Scary, scary... the music industry right now is going totally downhill, in my opinion, in every genre. Honestly, it's due to the same stuff constantly being released onto radio, and the more money the label can put behind an artist, the more we hear of, well, not the greatest music, shall we say. I think the concept of American Idol was great, and sure at first, I thought, alright this is just going to result in another "cookie cutter" situation. However, I think it's so great that a "voice" won, not an image, because for years, the music industry has been run on image, and that drives me nuts. I want to hear talent, not see beauty queens winning because their teeth are perfect. Hopefully, the industry will open their eyes a bit more now, and search for a different league of talent to come on to the scene.

[Kenny Love] Yep, I totally agree...and, with the state of it, has it caused you to alter any promotional aspects of your own work, such as at the radio level?

Victoria Boland Hmm, good question...I have to think about this one. I've always been very headset on the way I'd like things to go, but there also has to be some give and take involved. I believe in giving the truest offering of myself I can give. I'm not going to change who I am or what I believe in to be successful, and that makes it hard, because that concept doesn't always please everyone. As for radio, I can barely get any play over here in Canada because of money matters. The Canadian industry is, quite frankly, too chicken to risk any $ on talent. So they stick with promoting Top 40, and really don't give artists like myself a chance because we can't afford to pay for radio play. As for play elsewhere, I get a fair bit of it, because the DJ's play what they like and not what they're told to play. So...we'll see how things go...

[Kenny Love] Well, believe it, or not, that's pretty much how it goes back in the states as well, particularly with commercial radio. Thank goodness, College radio is far more flexible, with non-commercial radio following a close second.

Victoria Boland Yeah, I believe it, but I am at least getting some play in the States, and, yes, a fair bit of College play.

[Kenny Love] One of the things that I'm attempting to get independent artists to consider is the idea of getting a low-budget video produced by area colleges to be aired on local, regional and national independently produced music video shows. It costs virtually nothing to have the college film departments produce them but, at the same time, the videos are shot on state-of-the-art equipment. This is one area that is rarely explored among indies, but one that I believe can begin to make an incredible difference all around.

Victoria Boland Yes, and we've considered doing this...I personally have a contact that could arrange this for me. However, the problem still arises when it comes time to get the actual thing aired. If the money isn't available, I won't get the video on TV.

[Kenny Love] Au Contraire! With independently produced local shows, this hurdle is eliminated because these local music shows are *hurting* and begging for music product to be aired on their shows. Your biggest expense will, most likely, be getting your master duplicated, then getting it out to the shows. Actually and overall, the process will be a lot cheaper than your CD promotion campaign because there are not nearly as many video shows as there are radio stations to contact.

Victoria Boland Well, hey, if you can help me out...? In Canada, they aren't many local music video shows, we pretty much only have the majors: MuchMusic and CMT.

[Kenny Love] Oh, my goodness! Though there aren't 10,000 indie music video shows here, I can tell you that the number is still a plentiful one...enough to make a dramatic difference in your overall campaign.

Victoria Boland Wow, that I didn't know!

[Kenny Love] Well, I probably have some inside info on it because previously, I was in the midst of producing my own music video show, and researched it. In fact, believe it or not, I had the attention of the New York and Los Angeles independent cable stations' attention. Very surprising, but it let me know the degree of the necessity, if you will.

Victoria Boland I haven't considered the option enough to give you an answer on that, and besides, right now I'm just working on some things in the studio that involve a "new style" for me, and music right now the video idea's not in play. Also, currently I'm working with a NY manager, who with a connection here in Canada, plan on doing certain things with and for me.

[Kenny Love] Which brings me to my final question...what are some of those certain things, and what is next in your immediate future?

Victoria Boland Working on my "new" music and building a strong foundation for myself to balance on. With every upheaval in the industry, new concepts have to be considered, and hopefully with the help of the wonderful people I'm currently working with, I may get a shot at this thing called "the industry." I'm considering doing another English tour, as I just returned a month ago from one and it was very beneficial, and the offer is pretty much there for a second one in the near future. Also, I'm working on some jingles over here and actually one for an American company,, we'll see where that all takes me.

[Kenny Love] I wish you much success in the near future with your work. And, be sure to keep me apprised of any new developments. This has been a pleasure.

Victoria Boland Thank you very much, and I appreciate your interest in my career. Yes, it's been a pleasure and we'll stay in touch.

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