I first meet Victoria Canal in the ladies’ restroom. The Atlanta teen singer-songwriter is sitting on the carpeted floor, humming and strumming a ukulele while resting her head against the wall. Her ukulele case is under the sink, along with a bright red pick. Although we’re just three feet away from each other, she does not notice me. Her full attention is on the melody she’s humming. After a few seconds, she realizes I’m in the room and I quickly apologize for walking in on her practice. “No it’s OK,” she explains. “I’m sorry. I just wanted to go somewhere to practice before I have to perform.”
A fusion of acoustic, soul, pop, and R&B, Victoria Canal is destined to be heard across every niche of popular music. She combines infectious rhythms with compelling melodies and then adds incredibly poetic lyrics that any teen can relate to because we are all going through similar struggles. The result — well, it’s all up to your own personal interpretation. For example, in her song “Little Girl,” Canal speaks of being in the wrong place: “Little girl what are you doing here? It’s not a place for you to play. I’ve seen people die here.”
The John Mayer enthusiast first got her start in music as a toddler. “I remember figuring out how to play Michael Jackson’s ‘Man In The Mirror’ and trying to harmonize with it,” says Canal during her VOX press conference at VOX Media Cafe this summer. She began vocal, piano and trumpet lessons at age six and has since learned the ukulele.
Victoria received two scholarships to the world-renowned University of Berkley School of Music Program, though she barely grazed the minimum age of 14. Now 16, she explains, ”It helped create a lot of confidence for me. To be surrounded by people who love music just as much as I do was a beautiful thing.”
Throughout her 16 years, the singer has lived a nomadic lifestyle. Born in Munich, Germany, Victoria has lived in Dubai, Spain, China, and Japan. She currently resides in Smyrna, Georgia. Canal works with Jan Smith, a vocal coach, and manager. Smith is best known for coaching singing superstars like Usher and Justin Bieber. Canal recently ended her Open Mic Tour and is working on her debut album. You can find her music on SoundCloud and YouTube.
What makes Victoria different as a singer-songwriter is that she is one of us, a teenager, but more importantly, a person. But because she writes, records and performs her own material, more people can hear her thoughts. She is not consumed by the superficial factors of fame. She does not conform to the social norms around her. Her identity does not rest in the fact that she’s met Justin Bieber or that she works with one of the most famous vocal coaches in America. She is a musician with concrete morals that cannot be manipulated, which is something we all long for.
Since she is so easy to converse with, I ask her if she’s afraid of being victimized by the music industry. Victoria tells me confidently, “No, if it ever came to that, I’d fight back.” Just a few minutes into the conversation, and I can tell that she truly believes in music and in the healing powers it can have on the listener as well as the performer. She is completely invested in her music. Victoria Canal is a true musician worth listening to.