10th Annual Adult Contemporary Album
Vox Pop Winner
10th Annual Album Packaging Nominee
(Greg Carr & Salli Ratts / G.Carr Illustration & Design)
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Record Label: OBUS Music
Home Base: Baltimore, MD
Genre: Eclectic Ukulele Pop-Rock Folk Jazz
Categories Entered: Adult Contemporary Album, Album artwork
Work Submitted: Exact Change
Artists Featured: The Boulder Acoustic Society
Label: OBUS Music
Influences: Cyndi Lauper, Madonna, David Byrne, Feist, Laurie Anderson, Disney soundtracks, Peter Gabriel.
What’s the meaning of your band name? Victoria Vox is my stage name and was first my website, but I performed only under ‘Victoria.’ When I started touring out of state (WI, where I’m from) people started calling me Victoria Vox, thinking it was my name. I decided to go with it (rather than change my website) and I’ve been using the name in print since 2004.
Describe your nominated work: I’m very proud to have this whole album nominated as I think it’s a wonderful mix of original works on the ukulele. It touches on pop / rock, jazz, Cajun, singer/songwriter, and chanson. It’s the most serious sounding of all the albums I’ve done, but in a good way.
Did you use any unusual effects or instruments in this recording? UKULELE and squeezebox
Were there any happy accidents while in the studio, or did everything go as planned? The entire process was a happy accident! The Boulder Acoustic Society became my backing band. They are a band based out of Colorado, but who I started jamming with at ukulele festivals across the country. They offered to play on the record as my 31st birthday present. My producer, Mike Tarantino, had recently relocated from L.A. to NYC, so we did some recording in NY, but most of the record was done in Denver. He had never met or heard the band in CO, so I was a little nervous about it. Some songs were tracked, and others were complete live takes. I had a blast singing on these songs and I really enjoyed the process of Mike working with the Boulder Acoustic Society guys to get to right finished product.
Did fans help you fund this project? I was at a crossroads in my musical career in the fall of 2009 when I questioned how I could possibly put out another record… having just finished paying off the previous record, Chameleon. I decided to reach out to my fans, directly asking them for help via my newsletters and at shows. I took all orders over my website via Paypal and raised over 21K in a month. I did end up going over budget with the amazing album design by Greg Carr (making the CD into a washing machine, complete with water and a dead fish!). It was totally quirky and fun. Just my style!
Who’s sitting in your audience? When I open the curtain I see an educated group, or those who appreciate foreign things (weird instruments or a different language, as I sometimes sing in French). The age group is mostly from the late 20’s to early 60’s… but the best thing is, as my shows are primarily family friendly, these families bring their little ones as well. I often joke and say that those kids will be my retirement. But it’s true! Oh, and then there’s the whole ukulele niche. So… also out there, are a bunch of people in Hawaiian shirts holding ukuleles!
What makes your fans unique? Like I said they have an appreciation for different instruments, different languages, different song subject (whoa! It’s not all about me, nor is every song a love song!). They are an extremely loyal group and I would not trade them for the world.
Are there any songs you wish you wrote? Oh, there are many songs I wish I wrote! Just to name a few: “I Think It’s Going to Rain Today” -Randy Newman, “Man in the Mirror” -Siedah Garrett & Glen Ballard (sung by Michael Jackson), and “True Colors” -Billy Steinberg & Tom Kelly (sung by Michael Jackson)
What artists are you listening to that would surprise your fans? I honestly don’t think anything I listen to would surprise my fans. They know I have an eclectic style from jazz to hip hop to Musicals to pop. At the moment, I’ve actually been schooling myself on the some of the greats (who I honestly never listened to before)… So I’m kinda working backwards here!
What is your dream show lineup? Victoria Vox with Martin Sexton and Jason Mraz
What is your guilty pleasure on the road? Traveling to amazing places and meeting wonderful people.
Any close calls or mishaps while on tour? There’s been a bunch… After 8 years on the road, a lot has happened. Missing flights, the van not starting, gigs cancelled when I show up, flat tire, losing my voice, losing equipment, bad weather, or forgetting to organize a place to stay, but everything has ALWAYS worked out…. And it continues to. I have a very optimistic approach to life… and I certainly believe that that is a big part of my success to date.
Do you have any rituals before you go on stage? WARM UP, laugh, and have a good time. Laughing is about as ritual as I get!
Should music be free? No. It is a form of art. Art has value.
How has digital affected your career? If you’re asking about free-downloading: I feel that if someone really wants to get my music for free somewhere, they will find a way. I’ll take it as a compliment. On the other hand, digital has been awesome, because it’s immediate shopping. A listener wants to hear it now… they can get it now.
Are digital singles vs. full albums the future of music? It depends on the quality of the songs…. I’m an album person. I like to buy albums… but I am disappointed when the only good song on the album is the single. With that said, people like to pick favorite songs. I’m sorry, I’m a libra… very diplomatic… and I can see at least two sides to everything!
Finish this sentence: The music industry is… constantly changing. You can either enjoy the ride or just build your own roller coaster!