Canadian singer-songwriter AV (Ann Vriend) has twice been the recipient of the "Cobalt Music Prize" at the Maple Blues Awards, and has also taken home the "R&B/Soul Recording of the Year" Award at the Edmonton Music Awards.
She has played some of the world's most coveted music festivals, including SXSW and Reeperbhan, along with having her music featured in Elle Magazine and on numerous television shows.
Well known for her dedication to social issues, AV is gearing up to release "Mine, All Mine", on Friday, June 18th. A song about coming to terms with the concept of hoarding, capitalism and how it's normalized in our society, "Mine, All Mine" has an uplifting, catchy, retro sound, with lyrics that express the hard truths we must face as a society.
AV's sound is a combination of her musical influences, among them Aretha Franklin and Amy Winehouse, and her thought provoking lyrics are reminiscent of the socially conscious music of Curtis Mayfield and Paul Simon, to name a few.
AV is a resident of McCauley Edmonton, an area considered to be an inner city neighbourhood where residents face numerous societal challenges. From addiction issue to prostitution and crime, McCauley is a neighbourhood that many claim to care about, yet do absolutely nothing to help. AV's daily life constantly reveals the inequality her neighbours face, and uses "Mine, All Mine" to share from her lived experiences how we are taught one thing - to share, be inclusive, helpful, and respectful, while in reality, that isn't what we do. Written almost two years ago and now more relevant than ever, AV's "Mine, All Mine" has a Doo-Wop, Motown style, cheery melody, that is almost in direct opposition of its lyrics.
"Mine, All Mine" is an old school song you can't help but tap your feet to, while delivering an important message to us all. "Mine, All Mine" emphasizes the possessiveness of what’s normalized. We teach our kids to share their toys and be nice to people, but the way we have to operate in the economy is to do well seems to be the exact opposite. So much doesn't line up.
AV is known most for her virtuosic, soaringly powerful vocals, and not far behind that for her multi award-winning abilities as a songwriter -- and she ain’t too bad at the piano, either. She has been delivering her undeniably unique brand of old-school, inner-city soul to audiences around Europe, Oceana, Asia, and North America throughout her under-the-radar but consistently award-winning, critically acclaimed career.
Growing up in a household that encouraged critical thinking and challenged the status quo, AV has always written songs about confusion, searching, and questioning -- of herself, and the culture around her. The outcome is what she half seriously, half jokingly calls “existentialist gospel" : drawing musically from the emotionally intense and rhythmic gospel and soul styles of African American culture, as well as from her parents’ vinyl ‘70s folk/pop collection.
It is with a huge, respectful nod to her influences that AV addresses the social issues that face her and her community of her somewhat notorious inner-city Edmonton neighbourhood of McCauley; in which there is a high concentration of people suffering from extreme forms of trauma and abuse; often resulting in addiction, mental illness, stigmatization, neglect, and further abuse. AV's own self-examination in response to this is the subject matter of her newest album and its title track, "Everybody Matters."