Thursday, April 15, 2010

Interview: Ann Vriend for Rave Magazine

Issue 936 

ANNA ANGEL discovers that hard-touring Canadian songstress ANN VRIEND has a few confessions to make after five years on the road.

Everyone wants to come back from Australia with proof they saw a kangaroo and cuddled a koala “bear”. Filling out those crucial tourist criteria in between her many shows, Vancouver-born Ann Vriend chats from a Victorian wildlife sanctuary, so captivated by the kangaroos she originally forgot to turn her phone on.
Vriend later admits she’s already gotten a lot closer to Skippy on a previous Australian tour, hitting a kangaroo on the way to the Port Fairy Folk Festival. “We were going really slowly, and I don’t think I killed it because we couldn’t find it on the road”, Vriend says. She is no stranger to rural Australia, and after five years spent touring internationally, she’s got some killer stories under her belt. The one involving the kangaroo incident ends with Vriend breaking into a stranger’s beach shack, and spending the night there with a comedian she’d met the day before. Following a map drawn on a series of napkins to a fellow musician’s place where they planned to camp out, Vriend lost the final napkin, relying on a sketch of the outside of the shack to try to find it. “We thought we couldn’t find the key because it was really dark, so we broke in ... a year later we figured out whose place it was, and it was actually a neighbour,” Vriend says.

Read online here, pg 12.
Vriend is beginning a relentless national tour for the launch of her live album, Closer Encounters, recorded at various gigs across the world, including six tracks live from Sydney’s Basement. The record comprises of her most widely requested tracks and covers, doubling as a ‘best of’ compilation for her fans. Her 10-week tour will take her to a number of folk festivals across the country, but she professes that the artists have to “eat and sleep” so there’s never much free time to watch other sets. The self-managed singer has “the business side of things” to attend to as well as the creative, leaving little time for anything frivolous, like reading, even for an ex-literature major.

Being independent has had a positive effect on Vriend’s musical offerings, though, helping her develop the strong, individual style that has drawn international acclaim. Her clever, and often quite literary lyrics, and powerful but delicate vocals see her compared to the likes of Joni Mitchell and Norah Jones. “I listen to a lot of lyrically strong artists ... I don’t like bubblegum pop music,” she says, instead citing Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen as inspiration.
Vriend will start work on a fifth studio release when she finally heads home in May, hoping to have it finished by September. Until then, she’ll be busy generating more tour stories for her collection, if she has any energy left to recount them. When asked about her show at The Union Hotel in Melbourne the previous night, Vriend pauses before laughing, “Was that last night? It seems so long ago, now”. It seems there’s no rest for the wicked, or for independent artists.
ANN VRIEND plays Bon Amici in Toowoomba on Friday Apr 16, Brisbane Jazz Club Saturday Apr 17, Peregian Originals (day) and The Troubadour (night) Sunday Apr 18, Ric’s Tuesday Apr 20 and Treasury Casino Premier’s Bar on Thursday Apr 22. Her live album CLOSER ENCOUNTERS is out now independently.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Anna!

    Wonderful piece about Ann! I work for her and blog about her too so I am always very pleased to see someone else blogging about her. I haven't heard the kangaroo story before so I really appreciated it. It's very true that she doesn't have much time for anything aside from music and the business of music.

    Best of luck to you with your writing career!