Edmonton singer-songwriter Ann Vriend is quietly working her way towards global domination this year as she has not only toured across Canada from Vancouver to Quebec this past winter and appeared at the Folk Alliance Music Conference in Memphis, Tennessee in February, but is currently touring Australia where she recently made the front page of The Australian newspaper as well as Sauce magazine in Tasmania.
In addition to playing many more Canadian dates this year, Ann will also be playing the International Leonard Cohen Festival in Krakow, Poland from August 6th – 8th and she’ll begin a European tour this fall which will include dates in Germany from November 5th – 21st. More details will soon be announced.
If you have never seen or heard Ann perform before, you’re in for a real treat! She is a unique and exciting voice in the Canadian music scene and a superb storyteller as well.
Ann’s new video ‘On Your Street’ is from her live/live-off-the-floor 2009 album “Closer Encounters”.
Steve Ashworth-Director Brett Manyluk-Director of Photography David Kelso-Editor Katrina Beatty-Assistant Director Brendon Rathbone-2nd Camera Operator
Hair design by Ponytails and Horseshoes
Make up by James Kershaw
Story by Ian Cuthbertson THE AUSTRALIAN
March 15, 2010
PETITE Canadian songstress Ann Vriend says she has an affinity with Australia — even parts of the country where the pubs are not recognised for their acceptance of sensitive singer-songwriters.
“I’m from Edmonton, Alberta, which is an oil town in an oil province,” the singer, on a 10-week solo tour, said in Melbourne yesterday. “It’s pretty much the same.”
Vriend, who has been compared to everyone from Joni Mitchell to Regina Spektor and even the young Aretha Franklin, said she had developed skills to deal with trouble on the road.
“I spent enough time as a waitress while getting my career off the ground to know my way around drunks, ” she said.
But with a growing international following, independent record sales of about 15,000, and a string of reviews and accolades to her name that many more established artists would kill for, Vriend is hopeful that people who know her music will win out over potentially difficult elements.
Vriend said that after 10 years in the business she still preferred to distribute her music independently.
“When I won a songwriting competition at the beginning of my career (in 2000) I was shopped to a few majors,” she said. “But the deals they were offering were kind of anti-artistic.
“It was all `you have to be this and for the rest of your life you will write songs in this genre, and you must look like this, and be this personality’,” she said.
Vriend said that, due to contractions in the industry, it’s now worse than ever. “It’s no different now to the marketing of a brand of toilet paper, or cat food.
“That’s OK, that’s the way the world is, but I just don’t want that kind of a life. I think I would find that really depressing and in direct opposition to what I love about being a musician, which is the freedom.”
Vriend said she was now in a position where she could meet another artist and decide to record or tour together “without checking with our labels first”.
And meet people she does.
Almost an honorary Australian, Vriend stays with friends all over the country when she tours. “That’s partly because I’ve never had a huge budget, but you see so much more of a city — and a country — when you hang out with the locals, who can shepherd you to the really cool things and away from the tourist traps,” she said.
Following her extensive Australian tour, Vriend is due home in Alberta on May 4. “May the fourth be with you!” she tells friends back home, who can’t wait to hear her stories of the tour.