According to her press release, Toronto’s Vaness Alegacy is “a raucous and energetic fireball whose delicate, soulful vocals and raw punk attitude is a major catalyst to her overall presence.” This is kind of a standard, adjective laden sentence that publicists will send to you in order to make their artist sound exciting, so I typically take these proclamations with a hint of salt. I make up my own mind once I’ve heard the music myself, or even spoken to the lady Behind the Bop™.
Well, after chatting with Vaness about her single “Hoping & Waiting” I can confirm that… it’s true. Read her answers in this interview (one of my favorites ever, btw) to see for yourself! Vaness is a woman with an honest soul who, alongside supporting her female peers, is genuinely passionate about mastering her craft and making her music stand for something. Looking forward to more from this lovely lady!
Please explain your new single “Hoping & Waiting.”
The song speaks to the impact addiction has on one’s family and friends and paints a picture of what it’s like to watch someone struggle with something so deep and painful and destructive. Knowing in the end, you can’t help them if they themselves don’t think they need it. Letting go isn’t the same as giving up. It’s just sometimes the only option.
What inspired the story behind “Hoping & Waiting”?
I was in the studio working on another song with producer and friend, Giordan Postorino. We were working on background vocals which I had written and the line “hoping and waiting” was one of them. He stopped me dead in my tracks and told me we had another song here. He opened a new session and we recorded the hook right then and there. The concept for the song didn’t come until a bit later after we both sat with the freshly made hook and, after some back and forth conversation, Giordan came up with the idea of writing about addiction. Coincidentally, I had just read an article in Toronto Life magazine that was written by a girl who I went to high school with. The article was about her struggles with addiction and how it affected her relationships with her family and friends. The part that struck me most was when she told of how her parents tried everything in their power to get her help, until they ran out of options. They feared her lifestyle would affect their other child and had no other choice but to put some distance between them and her. As hard as that might have been for them they knew the only way their daughter was going to get clean, was if she did it herself.
Who do you hope “Hoping & Waiting” will inspire?
I hope it inspires anyone who is struggling with addiction to see that they are not hopeless. That they can defeat the disease. I also hope it reaches those loved ones who are watching their sons, daughters, brothers, sisters, or friend struggle. Letting them know they are not horrible people for letting go after they’ve done all they can. I just hope it helps someone, anyone.
Is “Hoping & Waiting” appearing on an upcoming EP or album?
That’s definitely the plan. I haven’t yet decided on EP or album but I definitely want to put out a collection of my work sometime in the near future.
“Hoping & Waiting” comes two years after your previous single, “Change of Heart.” What took so long?
“Change of Heart” was released in October of 2016, but it’s a fair question lol. What did take so long??? I ask myself this all the time. I had originally planned on releasing something top of this year but couldn’t decide on which song. I guess I wanted to make sure the follow up to “Change of Heart” was the right song. It took me a while because I wanted to let people know I wasn’t just some broken-hearted girl who can only sing about her despairs and hopelessness where love is concerned… lol. I guess I wanted the world to know there is another side to me as a writer and artist. Although still quite emo, I think there’s a message in “Hoping & Waiting” that was worth the time it took to plan its unveiling.
What’s your creative process like?
My creative process is different with every song. Sometimes the songs are written when I’m singing in the shower, or sitting at my piano, or when Giordan has an instrumental he thinks would suit me. Sometimes I’ll even write and (very poorly) produce something and bring it to the studio where it’s very politely dismantled and turned into something extraordinary.
What made you want to go solo from your rock band six years ago?
The band was definitely a lot of fun. The guys and I are still all friends and gig together every now and then. I loved being in a band, knowing we were all in it together, writing and sharing so many memories together. I will say being in the band made me a far better musician. I’ll always owe those guys for helping to shape me into the singer and entertainer I am today. The reason for going solo is simple. Life just changed for some of us, and our paths lead us in different directions. I also think I needed to truly find my sound, which looking back may not have been rock. I feel way more comfortable now in my music then I did then, and I know I’ve only just skimmed the surface.
What do you think distinguishes you from other female artists?
There are a lot of incredible singers out there, but one thing I’ve noticed is that there’s not a ton of singing happening. With the exception of a few, most of the female artists out right now have such beautiful voices, soft and angelic. I’m the exact opposite with raw, belting type vocals.
Which female artists have inspired you in your life?
This is a question that I could spend hours answering. So many have inspired me for so many reasons. A big one for me growing up was Mariah Carey, I really wanted to sing like her. I think most little girls who wanted to sing in the 90s did…. But girrrllll did I try, and with one cleared room after the other, I realized that it was never going to happen… but I then felt inspired to dig deep to find my own voice. So thanks Mariah! Lol
Are there any female artists you’re particularly into at the moment?
Oh God YES! Again, I could go on and on. There are so many talented females out there that are all so inspiring. A big one for me right now is Jessie Reyez. She’s from Toronto too, her stuff is so RAW! I love how she’s not afraid to say what’s on her mind and in her heart. Her delivery is unparalleled and reminds me that there are unicorns out there! Beautiful and powerful ones!!!
Is there anything about the representation of women in the music industry that bothers you, or that you’d like to change?
Since I was a little girl I have always felt uncomfortable with the sexualisation of women in music. I was told at a young age that if I took my clothes off and sang about sex it would help me become successful quicker. I resented that idea so much that I almost never wrote a song about sex. I wanted to make it on the merit of my talent. I don’t pay much attention to all that anymore, maybe it’s changed over the years. I don’t like the idea that a woman has to look a certain way to be noticeable, to be heard or to be taken seriously in any industry. But there are women who are defying these man made standards of beauty and taking the world by storm. So I know there’s hope!
What’s the music scene in Toronto like? Are there any up and coming female musicians from Toronto you have your eye on?
Toronto is honestly one of the best places on earth for live music. I know, I’m a bit biased but I love my city to death! There are some incredibly talented women out here doing their thing, who I am also very proud to call my friends. One making lots of noise across the pond is SATE. Honestly she’s a rock GODDESS! The epitome of powerhouse vocalist and will rock your clothes right off! Liz Lokre is another newcomer to the scene over here and she is just slaying! Her voice is unreal, it’s almost like she has a built in autotuner. PERFECTION! Another is Maya Kiltron. This girl has more funk than most could dream of, her music is exactly what you need to get any party started. She’s a DJ, a violinist and one of the funniest people I know!
What’s left to come from Vaness Alegacy in 2017?
Well there are a few things I know for sure can be expected. One of them is the music video for “Hoping & Waiting”. That should be ready and released in a few weeks. I’m stoked! But other than that get out there, stream, download and share my tune and let’s find out what’s in store together.