Interview with Avery Raquel

Written by Divine Magazine

From recording artist to radio co-host, busy Canadian singer/songwriter, and Billboard charting artist Avery Raquel has been entertaining audiences professionally for over 10 years. She’s released 3 solo albums to critical acclaim and airplay across the country and is now prepping for her self-titled fourth release in 2022.

Beyond a passion for music, Avery is also passionate about giving back and supporting causes close to her heart such as anti-bullying (going into schools talking and performing for students), mental health awareness, and music education. To that extent, Avery is a featured artist and co-host of the weekly broadcast ‘ The Memphis Show’, on the Internet radio station Heart of Indie Radio. The station is a huge supporter of children’s hospitals, music education and mental health awareness for youth.

Whether singing, playing the piano, guitar, or even her Ukulele, Avery is having the time of her life, doing what she always hoped to do, putting smiles on people’s faces through the language of music.

What do you enjoy most about being an artist?

It’s hard to pick just one thing that I enjoy the most. But I think one of the best things to me, is making an impact. If my songs make the listener feel something then I’ve done my job as an artist. Seeing their faces during a live performance, or getting feedback from people who have enjoyed my music. That could be by making a difference at a time where they just needed a good vibe or the sense someone can relate to what they’re going through. Music is a universal language that everyone knows how to speak in some capacity, and I think it’s wonderful that some people have decided to communicate with me through MY music and hear what I have to say.                    

How would you describe your music?

I feel I’ve had a tough time placing a “genre” around my music. So lately I’ve been referring to it as “Alternative Soul.” It has a lot of old school influences in the RnB/Soul/Funk realm, with many modern production styles and can cross over quite a few sub-genres. I’ve written music in the last 5 years that could be classified as Jazz, Blues, RnB, Soul, and even pop. I even recently submitted a song in the Blues genre to the John Lennon Songwriting Contest where it became a finalist in the country song category.

What would you be doing right now if it weren’t for your music career?

If performing and writing music wasn’t an option for me I think I would still try to be involved in some form. I have always been interested in psychology and how music connects with the brain. Many studies have shown how one’s mental health improves through music, not to mention those with Alzheimer’s and Dementia. My grandmother has Dementia, and most days she doesn’t know who I am, but when I sing she can sing along and begins to associate and remember. There’s also the aspect of Synesthesia when select people like myself can see/associate colors when listening to music. I, like so many other artists, have Synesthesia.  When I hear chords and notes, I associate them with clour and vice versa. I love writing and performing, but I would definitely venture into Music Psychology if I couldn’t do the former.

Have you got a ritual of sorts when writing and thinking about your music?

When I sit down to write a song I find that my process is a little different every time. Sometimes I start with music other times just lyrics, or maybe just a title or even a melody. There is definitely not one way to create music. In May of 2020, I did a songwriting challenge for myself and wrote 3-4 songs a week for the whole month, using different writing styles. Now I have a new album coming in the spring of 2022! It’s good to challenge yourself every now and again. Not every song is a hit, but it only takes one!

Who are your main musical influences?

I have always been influenced by music from the ’60s and ’70s. Artists like Carole King, BeeGee’s, Stevie Wonder. More recent influences include Amy Winehouse, Allen Stone, Eloise, Silk Sonic. A lot of my writing is also influenced by jazz/blues and vocally people like Chet Baker, Nancy Wilson, Etta James, and Ella Fitzgerald!

What kind of recording facilities do you have at home?

When I’m simply writing, and need to get something down as a reference, I have a grand piano, with a simple mic setup for vocals and piano, into my computer. Sometimes, I’ll even just record into my phone, in the moment of inspiration. However, for recording the album, we usually record in a proper studio. That being said, during the pandemic, with no access to public spaces, my producer recorded the album remotely, and in-home.  On the most recent releases “Helpless” “Please” and “All up To You” and the rest of the upcoming album, the majority of the instruments were recorded remotely, and my vocals were recorded literally in a closet.  I spent some days over 8 hours sitting inside a closet with clothes and blankets around me to muffle the sound, a vocal microphone and headphones. It was certainly a different experience, but you’d never know it was recorded that way by listening to the songs  . The magic of technology. 

You are a new addition to a crayon box.  What color would you be and why?

Green. No doubt about it. But the preferred shade would be Sage Green. I think it’s the most calming color in my opinion and I feel is one of the colors that represents me best! Perhaps it’s cause my eyes are green, and to me, it seems to be quite a useful color.  

What was the last TV series you watched on TV?

I am pretty sure I have re-watched ‘Friends’ and ‘How I Met Your Mother’ about 20 times through each. I am currently re-watching Friends again! But if I had to say a new series I love all of the ‘Harlan Coben’ mini series on Netflix. I highly recommend it!

What do you think the greatest invention has been?

That’s hard. There are so many fascinating inventions in our lifetimes. However, if I relate it back to music, I would say Vinyl records. I know how they work, but honestly, to me, that is way more impressive than listening to music on your phone. Who thought that putting lines on a flat circle and poking it with a needle would make a sound. Wild, and on the proper sound system, a better quality of sound than digital.

Do you have any superstitions?

 I am SO superstitious. I’ll never walk under a ladder, if salt falls on a table I shake it into my hand and throw it behind my shoulder, no shoes on the table, I put my hand on the window when going over train tracks, I’ve grown accustomed to black cats but I still don’t trust them, and absolutely NO umbrellas being opened inside.

If you were talking to a younger version of you, what advice would you give yourself?

I would tell myself to slow down. Everything has been moving so fast lately and It feels that I am always trying to keep up. I am officially in my 20’s and I don’t know how that happened. So I would love to have told myself to just slow down, be less anxious, and take it all in.

© 2022 – 2023, Divine Magazine. All rights reserved.

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