Home Culture Arts & Entertainment The voice of Nora Jones and the vibe of Lana Del Rey

The voice of Nora Jones and the vibe of Lana Del Rey

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Avery Florence J(eff Cheong photo)

Avery Florence is a Toronto musician who released her first album, called January, at the beginning of the year. Her soft soul songs have gotten a fair amount of play on the radio, earning her a fan base of admirers. The 27-year-old self-taught singer, songwriter, guitarist and pianist has performed in front of sold-out crowds in Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, New York, Philadelphia and elsewhere. Her performances are sensual, contemplative and moving, and she thrives when performing live.

“Live concerts are raw and real. On tour, I had a ton of friends in each city and found a band to play with for each show. Every show had a different vibe. Music is my passion and my songs are my babies,” said Florence.

Driven by a connection with her audience, Florence creates intimacy through her music and performance.

“My inspiration comes from different perspectives, travelling and learning through life and by generating my emotions into something. That’s why I started playing music,” she said.

Florence’s musical journey began seven years ago, when she was a business student at Dalhousie University.

“I started playing guitar when I was about 20, as a hobby. My first concert was to my roommates. I made them close their eyes. The first songs I wrote in university were based on things that had happened years before, and it was very therapeutic,” she said.

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Florence’s has been described as having the voice of Nora Jones, the vibe of Lana Del Rey and the style of Stevie Nicks.

“As a self-taught musician, the way I have been able to learn is by so many musicians taking the time to jam with me. As much as I taught myself, I couldn’t have done it without them,” said Florence.

Beneath her gentle, good-humoured exterior lies a melancholy darkness that emerges from her lyrics and tone. Florence’s descriptive songs captivate audiences as she paints a picture so vivid, one can’t help but see oneself within it.

“I named my album January because I’m a January baby, and this time represents both reflecting and looking forward. For me, the album was a leap into the start of my life as an artist,” said Florence.

One of the most popular songs on the album is Heavenly, which portrays the excitement of first love. Another popular track, Breaking Free, is a feel-good, windows-down sort of song.

“I describe it as happy, but also a break-up song. Everybody has something they have to break free of. My favourite song on the album is Fly, because it’s close to my heart, it’s the most relatable and the most timeless song. It’s about coming from low points and the realization that you just want to make it,” explained Florence.

The song, Dear Friend, was inspired by Florence’s Birthright trip to Israel two years ago.

“It was my last night in Israel and I was on a kibbutz overlooking the Sea of Galilee. In such a beautiful country, and in such a beautiful moment, there is still the heartbreaking reality of the struggle by people all over the land. The friend who invited me to the kibbutz was in India for two years, and when he got back, he had to go to the Gaza border – a clash of worlds. It made me feel this pain in my heart,” said Florence.

Dear Friend is about those less fortunate and struggling, but at the end of the song, the narrator comes to the conclusion that hope in itself is the only thing that can help the world and help other people. I like to think of myself as a person without borders, and music is a language that everybody can feel.”

She will be releasing a new song, Faded into Light, at two summer music festivals: Canadian Music Week, which runs from May 7-13 in Toronto, and the Santa Teresa Festival in Quebec on May 20. An accompanying music video is also  in the works.

Faded into Light’s music video is half filmed in Kingston, and half in Cambodia, following the children of the island, specifically boys who fire-spin as a group. The video represents that we are all connected, under the same sky, looking out onto the same horizon and encouraging people to aim for their highest potential. Music is a means to hope and a means to love,” concluded Florence.


 

Avery Florence’s music is available on all streaming platforms. www.averyflorence.com