To celebrate the release of her debut album Real Life — which officially hit music streaming services on October 23 — 15-year-old rising singer Victoria Anthony caught up exclusively with J-14 and opened up about what it was like creating her seriously personal tracks.
The Canadian songstress dished on her writing process, what inspired the album’s title and even shared some behind-the-scene secrets about the music video to go along with the record’s title track, “Real Life.” But that’s not all! Victoria even revealed which song from the album is her favorite and what fans can expect from her next.
J-14: Tell us about your debut album Real Life. What can fans expect to hear?
Victoria: My debut album Real Life is full of a variety of tracks. There are a few songs you’ll want to dance to, some that will make you cry and, hopefully, all will make you smile at one point. It’s a pop record that shows my perspective on life and carries a lot of meaning.
J-14: The lead single from your album is also titled “Real Life.” Can you tell us about that song?
Victoria: I wrote “Real Life” after I read this little thing I wrote to my cowriters. Within this text, I articulated a realization I had about life. It hit me. It’s so crazy that we are alive! Life is precious and short and perspective can change everything. Appreciate every part of it, especially when you’re young, otherwise some of the most incredible experiences you get will pass you by. I realized I want to focus on being present and enjoying the ride. We turned this idea into a song because I wanted to share with the world something that I desperately needed to hear myself.
J-14: What was it like releasing such a personal track?
Victoria: I really love the song “Real Life” and all the meaning it holds. The journey of creating this song is special to me, because at first, I really didn’t like it and was thinking it might not even be on the album. Then, I changed a lot of the production, the writing in the bridge, some ad libs, and I fell in love with it. That’s the journey of life and of song writing and production. I played the unfinished tracks on the album for a few of my friends’ months before the release, and everyone really liked it. I still wasn’t totally sure of the song at the time as my thoughts about it were evolving. It was almost like they helped me realize the potential for the record and made me see how special this song was and how much the meaning of it tied in my entire body of work for the album.
J-14: What’s your favorite line of lyrics from the single “Real Life?” What about from the entire album?
Victoria: I love the lyric, “Got a dream? / Chase it,” in the “Real Life” bridge. This lyric basically just means if you want something, as long as it’s for the right reasons, just go for it. Don’t waste time being practical. Dream big and go for what you want. You regret the things you don’t do.
There are so many lyrics that I love on the album, but if I had to choose, I would say the entire pre-chorus in my lead single “Sleep,” specifically the line, “queen of my kingdom.” There are many deeper and more personal lines on the album I love, but there’s just something about that little moment!
J-14: You co-wrote these songs. What’s your writing process like?
Victoria: My writing process is all over the place! I started writing “Fake Friends” while I was at school, I wrote some melodies for what became “Like You” for a school project about the battle of Passchendaele, and I recorded a voice memo of my idea for the “Smile Again” bridge at two in the morning when I was trying to sleep. When inspiration strikes, I write. Most of the time, I begin with an idea for the meaning. Some include resilience (“Breathe Underwater” and “Gotta Get Up”), living in the moment (“Sleep” and “Real Life”), and friendship (“Like You” and “Where We Started From”). Then, I start with a hook or chorus. I often go into sessions with some reference tracks that I’m loving at the time. I’ll choose something that really works in the song, then extrapolate from there.
J-14: Tell us about the “Real Life” music video. Where did the idea for the visual come from?
Victoria: The “Real Life” music video tells a story that directly relates to the song. I came up with the concept of me, a woman who works in the city, living a normal day, but because of my mindset and perspective, it becomes something special. I am in bright yellow, orange, and blue power suits and take on the world. After work, I go shopping, I see my friends, I have a party. I take a random Tuesday and turn it into a clip from a movie. That’s what “Real Life” is about. It’s about experiencing everything life throws at you and glorifying everyday things to make your day a little more special!
J-14: Do you have any behind-the-scenes secrets or funny memories from the music video’s set?
Victoria: The “Real Life” music video was a huge production which we filmed in only two days. Anything that happened, we really had to roll with it! My makeup and hair artist and I have the funniest stories on set. The first day of filming, it was pouring rain. My hair has a very tough time holding curls, so we had to keep recurling my hair between every take. We did it in some weird places including using a public electrical outlet on a tree under an umbrella. Right at the beginning of the video you can see her! She made a little cameo after touching up my makeup between takes because we needed an extra! Another thing that I bet no one knows is the scene during the bridge when I’m on a bed was actually filmed in my mom and dad’s room. The street where you see me and my amazing dancers dancing was actually right near my aunt’s house, so my cousin and aunt came by. When we filmed in the office, there was a really cute dog that we all became friends with!
J-14: Why did you decide to name your entire album after the song “Real Life?”
Victoria: I started writing this album without knowing what I was creating. I was just trying to grow as a writer, seeing where it would take me. I had written I think 8 out of the 10 songs on the album, then I wrote “Real Life.” It wasn’t until then that I knew what I was creating was my album. It embodied everything I had been trying to say throughout this whole experience. The line “it’s the journey that makes it beautiful” is exactly what this album represents. I chose “Real Life” as the title and to be a single because it represents me and this album very well.
J-14: Do you have a favorite track from the album?
Victoria: The song I love to listen the most is “Like You.” This song is really special to me because I wrote it about one of my best friends. She is so strong, but she has to deal with so much in her life, that sometimes she forgets how special she is. I wrote this to remind her and anyone who hears it that the world is a better place because you are in it. It’s nice to listen to and interpret in different ways. On a bad day, I even like to pretend that I’m talking to myself.
J-14: What was it like to create your debut album?
Victoria: Before this album, I had never created a body of work before. Everything was new territory and I learned quickly. I wanted the album to be cohesive in sound and meaning. I started incorporating certain things with the vocals that could create a link between tracks, like “You Don’t Get to Control Me” and “Fake Friends.” In the bridge for both of those songs there are some choir-like “oh” vocals which act like an instrument. There are tons of other links such as string samples and structure within the album to look out for. In regard to meaning, I really aimed to tell every story through an optimistic lens. Even more painful songs like “Breather Underwater,” “You Don’t Get to Control Me,” and “Like You,” have a positive meaning. Those songs make me cry, yet also inspire me and remind me that going through something awful isn’t always a bad thing. It shapes you into who you become. I really tried to write each track without any pressure. I go into it with a lighthearted mindset. I allow myself to be present in the creation of something that may one day be heard by the world. I think it might have worked, because I am actually releasing every song I wrote for this album. There is no song ready to go that I am holding back. You get to hear everything; the whole journey.
J-14: Your songs are known for their positivity. Do you have any advice for fans who may be struggling during this current time?
Victoria: Perspective can change everything. Take a boring day at home in quarantine and turn it into a party. Turn on some fun music, and dance. Romanticize your life. It makes everything so much more fun. Life truly is priceless, so make the most of it.
J-14: Now that your debut album is finally released, what can fans expect next?
Victoria: I would love to tour once I can! In the meantime, I am doing some online live performances. I have also started writing again and have plans for my next album. I have ideas for a new era, and a new sound. I really want to hear from everyone, where they want to see me perform and what they want to see in my new stuff. Talk to me on Instagram @VicAnthonyMusic!
Victoria’s debut album Real Life is out now!
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