Award-Winning Canadian Soul/Blues Artist AV (Ann Vriend) Announces Brand New Album, “Everybody Matters” Inspired by Her Inner-City Neighbourhood.
Challenging herself to use a limited set of instruments, AV’s new album is incredibly full and more impactful than ever!
Edmonton, AB – January 24, 2022 – Award-winning Canadian artist AV (Ann Vriend) has just announced the release of her brand-new album, “Everybody Matters” set to launch on February 4, 2022.
The two-time Maple Blues Award songwriting recipient and two-time Edmonton Music Award recipient is an internationally recognized musician known for her soaring vocals, socially conscious lyrics, and outstanding musicianship. With a vintage sound reminiscent of the Roots/Blues style of Stax Records and Muscle Shoals recordings, singles from the album have already found their way onto international commercial radio charts where the empowering and truthful lyrics of social commentary are poignantly current.
AV has been hailed by NOW Magazine as a musician who “turns soul on its head, belting out delicate introspection in the form of fire”. She is one of the only independent artists in recent history to break into the Top 100 Pop Charts of commercial radio in Germany, the world’s 4th largest music market, even taking the #1 spot on one of their largest stations, Bayern 1. AV’s music consistently receives spins on radio across Canada, and her last tour before the pandemic was a six-night opening slot for UK star Lisa Stansfield. Often invited to represent Canada at numerous diplomatic and economic events on behalf of the Canadian Government, AV has also played coveted stages such as SXSW and the Reeperbahn Festival.
During the pandemic, AV launched what came to be a weekly event called “Porch Concerts”, where for nearly 60 Sundays she and other musical guests performed free concerts on her porch with people coming from all over Edmonton. The shows saw participation both musically and logistically by the often-ignored members of her difficult and notorious inner-city neighborhood of McCauley, which has suffered increasingly during the opioid crisis and the pandemic.
With six full-length albums and two EP’s to her name, “Everybody Matters” marks AV’s seventh album as an artist and showcases a new side of her remarkable talents as a musician. Self-produced alongside esteemed engineer and producer Chris Birkett (Sinead O’Connor, Buffy Sainte Marie) the album is almost completely self-written and features AV as one of only four musicians who appear on the project. Wanting to answer to her live audience’s demands for the stripped-down sound she had been touring with prior to the pandemic, AV sought to challenge herself to utilize less to create more, and so, the whole album’s instrumentation is only keyboards, vocals, and drums, yet the rhythms are driving and groove-heavy, the songs are warm and full, and the energizing melodies and harmonies pack a powerful punch.
Both melancholy and uplifting, with “Everybody Matters” AV flawlessly weaves the sad realities of poverty, homelessness, and addiction through her music, often in contrast with the rhythm and tempo of each song. With her personal motto of “Rock Whatcha Got” the construction of “Everybody Matters” is reflective of the communities AV often advocates for, inspired by their constant innovation and adaptability, empowered by making the most of what they have, and relying on creativity and imagination rather than ample materialistic availability. AV’s goal with the album is to pay homage to this and to celebrate empowerment.
The title track and first single from the album, “Everybody Matters”, is a Gospel-meets-Blues inspired song written in 2019, and draws comparisons between what society says versus what it does when it comes to valuing human rights, with lyrics that read “Everybody Matters; some a little more”. Followed by “Mine, All Mine”, the second single off of the project is an uplifting, catchy, and retro-sounding song about coming to terms with the concept of hoarding and capitalism, and how it’s normalized in society. Set to a Motown-inspired, mid-tempo melody, the song intentionally feels happy and warm with darker lyrics that are focused on greed and colonialism.
The lead track from the album, “If You Were Here”, is a lonely, haunting duet based on a wordless chorus sung in harmony about longing, wandering, and what keeps people in relationships. Co-written with Matt Epp while at a Folk Alliance conference in Memphis, the song was penned in dedication to Jeff Buckley, who drowned in a river nearby and was originally released in 2012. The harmonies for the track were crafted in the hotel stairwell where the natural reverb and constant stream of vocalists chiming in as they went past was the initial musical inspiration for the song’s vocal hook. The newly redone version of the song features the rich and rough-edged voice and bass playing of well-known Calgary artist Jory Kinjo.
Three years in the making, “Everybody Matters” poignantly showcases AV’s growth as an artist and care for her community. AV shares, “creativity is making something out of nothing. The whole album reflects the neighborhood of people who are disenfranchised and experiencing hardships. You see how people innovate all the time.” With her astounding talent and ability to meet any musical challenge, AV’s “Everybody Matters” flawlessly proves that there are no limitations – in creativity and beyond.
The album is available for purchase & Canadian/International tour dates to be announced in 2022
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