It’s impossible to pinpoint the exact moment when adolescence turns into adulthood. Maybe it’s a convergence of emotions and experiences, a meeting place for infatuation, pain, intrepidity and the loss of innocence. Whatever it is, it’s this ineffable combination of nostalgia and epiphany that 17-year-old songwriter Victoria Canal has attempted to capture on her debut EP, Into the Pull. Over five tracks of the purist soulful pop she explores what it is like to be sucked inside the whirring chaos of emotion and experience that is life.
Rather than run from this chaos, Canal has grabbed hold of the magical maelstrom. Even her writing style embraces this uncertainty. Each song is born from experimenting with an unfamiliar sound or instrument. Rather than sticking with the piano that she has grown up playing, she will pick up a guitar, bass, ukulele or even a loop station and through experimentation and discovery a flash of inspiration will strike.
Now based between Amsterdam and London. Canal has also lived in Munich, Shanghai, Tokyo, Barcelona and Dubai. The influence of travelling has shaped her music as well as her personality, allowing her to see the world’s cultural melting pot in all its rich glory. She was also born without her right forearm due to amniotic band syndrome and this has allowed her to give a voice to people who might not traditionally become performers and has added an additional layer of empathy to her emotional spectrum.
Canal regularly stages benefit concerts for the causes she believes in such as SERV, AIS and t- oigo. She is also an active supporter of the LGBTQ community as well as representing victims of oppression and abuse. As someone who tries to find a reason to be happy in every situation she wants everyone to enjoy the beauty of life in a fair world.
It is these experiences which inspire Into the Pull. Recorded in Jan Smith Studios with Grammy nominated producer “Mama” Jan Smith and her team, Jesse Owen Astin and Demond Mickens (additional programming from LA-based producer Emile Ghantous), the EP is the perfect marriage between the pages of Canal’s notebooks and the experienced studio talents guiding her debut release. Her nostalgic sound teases glimpses of influences like John Mayer, Alicia Keys, Sam Smith and Al Green whilst always remaining unique to its creator.
There are mature themes running through the music which belie Canal’s years. Little Girl confronts human trafficking and domestic abuse, giving a voice to those who have no option but to grow up too fast. Wolves is for all the people who are ridiculed just because they’re unembarrassed about being true to themselves, those who struggle to fit in with the prescribed definitions of what it is to be “normal” or “cool”. Even City Shoes, the opening track about a pair of shoes that accompanied her through a relationship, has a melancholy undertone that will resonate with anyone who has lost the one that almost was.
This is music that should be turned up loud and enjoyed in its entirety. There’s poetry in the melody and depth in the lyrics, and lovers of classic pop music will want to hear what this gifted young talent has to say.