Canada has given us musical genius like Celine Dion, Michael Buble, & Avril Lavigne, and the latest maple leaf to drop into the States is the sublime Avery Raquel, who along with the incomparable Stonebridge, dropped the killer single “Pieces” early in 2020. As the world takes a momentary pause, I caught up with Avery to talk about what it’s like giving dance music a shot, her musical influences, and what she thinks could be coming up for her later this year.
Michael Cook: You have become one of the most buzzed about names on the dance charts recently with your single “Pieces” and the accompanying remixes. Can we expect new music to possibly be emerging from this quarantine?
Avery Raquel: Hopefully yes, I am writing from personal experiences and right now there is not much life going on unfortunately. I hear people say that it is a great time to write and to create music. That is true, I have lots of time to do so, but it is difficult to find the inspiration to do so.
MC: Where did your music career truly start to flourish?
AR: I put out my first record when I was thirteen, but I started singing when I was four and getting introduced to music then. We started my very first project at thirteen, and then after that I started writing. I released two more records after that which were were comprised of almost all originals. It was really the past few months when one of my songs peaked at #30 on the Billboard Dance/Club chart, which was really cool. That was probably my highest point In my career. It just keeps going up and up, and that is so exciting,
MC: Working with Stonebridge must be pretty incredible. When you hear the name, it is immediately known as one of the biggest names in dance music.
AR: Yes, absolutely. The thing is, since he is located where he is located, it as actually all through email. He asked for the stems, and he is so sweet and was more than willing to do the remix. I think it was very exciting for both of us and I think we both had a lot of fun releasing the song, and him remixing it and making it something different. The whole process was great.
MC: When you started music did you ever think that you music would be played on dance floors worldwide and the boys would be living for it?
AR: (Laughs) definitely not, it’s not where my brain was at. I started out singing jazz, and then transitioned to old school R&B/soul which it still is. We had this idea to broaden my audience and see who it would reach and how it would do in that environment. Obviously from the results it is doing incredibly well (laughs). I did not expect it to even be an option. I am all for it though, I respect that genre of music. I don’t know that I will continue, although I am going to release a few more remixes in the future. My main genre is going to remain R&B/soul.
MC: Who did you find to be the kind of artist you wanted to hear to get out there and perform that really inspires you?
AR: When I was coming up, my musical inspiration would have been Amy Winehouse. I really enjoyed her style of writing and the kind of music that she put out. Of course, the jazz greats, I listened to a whole lot of that and still do. Now, Alan Stone, Norah Jones, Carole King is a big inspiration for me. A lot of old school Motown artists, todays more blue eyed soul type for sure.
MC: Carole King and Norah Jones have recorded the music of other Adult Contemporary artists, and done so successfully. Do you want to continue writing your own music or do you want to do some covers?
AR: I would not mind doing covers, but I feel like when I write my own music, it is easier to connect to it when performing it. I also would not mind writing for other people as well. There is always going to be a need for that. I like singing the songs that I write, although I love singing some covers because there are some really incredible songs out there and it is fun to create my own little arrangement of other people’s songs to make them my own. There is always going to be something different though, about singing the songs that I write myself.
MC: How is Canadian fandom different as opposed to Canadian fans?
AR: It’s very different. It is harder to be known in Canada. There is a very specific sound here that people gravitate towards, it’s that folky “I am Canadian” sound (laughs). In the States, it is a lot of commercial sounds and it is more available to become a commercial artist, because there are more resources around people. There is a larger market; kids my age are going to listen to what the kids in the states listen to. There are obviously some great Canadian artists, Daniel Caesar for example, who I enjoy very much and have been able to make a name for themselves in the states. It is definitely harder to break into the music scene in Canada.
MC: What do you see your career trajectory to be now?
AR: I am currently in school, I am going to Humber College in Toronto for my honors degree in music. I have been doing that and it’s a four year program. As much as I would love to finish it, I don’t know where I will be in four years. I definitely want to do what I am doing now, performing a lot and getting myself out there. Writing and getting my music to different audiences, really doing the same thing but on a grander scale. Come 2021, I am going to be doing more doing more theaters in Ontario right now, but we never know what is in the future. I was supposed to perform in California at a club pre-quarantine, but I want to perform as many places as I can in the future and keep getting my music out there.
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