AV (Ann Vriend)
Canadian artist AV (Ann Vriend) 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 challenging 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 neighborhood 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.”