It’s 2:30am and I’m rubbing my red eyes. They feel square from staring at the computer screen in my home studio, doing the slow, painstaking work of editing background vocals. I’ve been up since 7am yesterday, and tomorrow will be yet another early morning over at Sony Publishing where I hold down a day job as a staff songwriter for other artists. It feels like I’ve been running on nothing but adrenaline for the past few months, and these late nights are starting to take their toll. But I’m working on my debut record, and I can’t help it – it’s a labour of love.
I’ve been a songwriter for other artists for about ten years, and I’ve been lucky enough to have some success with it. But it hasn’t been easy. I can’t complain – I love working in the music business for a living – but you get your heart broken a lot. The songs that you are most proud of are rejected, torn apart right in front of you, played over tinny speakers in record label offices and turned off in the middle of the first verse. “Not good enough.” “My artist would never say that.” “I can’t do anything with this.” “We don’t need a ballad.” “No sad songs please – uptempo, positive only.”
Life is not glamorous for songwriters. You live below the poverty level for years, and when you’re lucky enough to have a hit, you’re even luckier if you can pay your debts. There are no red carpets or couture gowns for most of us. Most people never know our names. But we do this because we love it. We do it because no matter what it costs us, we can’t imagine doing anything else.
I don’t know how it happened, but somehow I have stumbled onto people in this industry who really believe in me. I’ve had the chance to hear great artists singing my songs on the radio, and now after all these years I’m finally being given a shot at being an artist myself. So here I sit tonight, working on a record of my own. And all over this record are my little babies – the songs that I love so much. Some of them were written in the middle of the night while I was staring at the ceiling of my tiny rented apartment with the rusty air conditioner rattling in the window. Some of them were poured out with my tears on the shoulders of my co-writers when I didn’t know what else to do with my broken heart. And this record…it was paid for with macaroni and cheese dinners and rustbucket cars and bitterly cold winter nights with the heat shut off and lonely holidays spent far from the people that I love. I’m very, very proud of this record. I can’t wait for you to hear it. I hope that you will love it as much as I do.
(Victoria’s debut CD, “When You Can Fly”, will be released in April 2009 on OnRamp Records/EMI Canada. Victoria’s fan club members can order exclusive autographed pre-sale copies now. To become a fan, click on “Join the Mailing List” at the top of the page.)