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Jazz star Avery Raquel continues music odyssey overseas

Arts and EntertainmentJazz star Avery Raquel continues music odyssey overseas

Avery Raquel has carved a name for herself as one of the most gifted voices in the Canadian music scene over the last several years.

With four albums under her belt, as well as, doing countless performances throughout the country, Raquel looks to continue to further her knowledge of music in Spain this coming fall.

“I’m going to the Berklee College of Music in Spain. They have a campus in Valencia and that’s where I’m taking my Master’s,” Raquel said.

Raquel, who released her latest album in 2022, continued, “I’m very excited…I am going to do my thesis based on songwriting, and Chromesthesia, which is something that I have…it is where I associate and I see colors when I hear certain aspects of music [and] so that’s another resource that I use when I’m writing [songs.]”

Raquel explained the genesis of her thesis.

“I didn’t find out about Chromesthesia until my first year of university… and my teacher had asked me if there’s anything that helps me with my music and I said that sometimes I see colors when hearing sounds or listening to music. Also, I found out that there are a lot of musicians that have Chromesthesia like Billy Joel, Lady Gaga, and Joni Mitchell,” said Raquel.

Avery Raquel released her self-titled fourth record in 2022. It debuted to strong reviews as well as being on the Canadian iTunes Top 200 RnB/Soul album chart at #5. Photo courtesy averyraquel.com.

However, along with a desire to pursue a deeper understanding of music through academia, Raquel has rapidly built a reputation as a talented musician in the last decade. Raquel explains the diversity of genres she continues to infuse in her music.

“[For] the first couple records I was switching to a Memphis soul or a Motown-kind of soul vibe, which was really great for a while,” she said. “And then there’s the most recent record [and] why I think it is the most authentically me as it is more alternative soul.”

Raquel continued, “But I would love to just mix as many styles in with what I’m currently doing…I think it’s that the nice thing about music is that it’s such a universal language, that no matter who I collaborate with, it’s going to be beneficial for everybody to just try new things.”

With Raquel ultimately finding her passion in singing, she originally started in other facets of entertainment.

“I actually started out in acting, before I took singing seriously. I did a lot of musical theater and then I got to the age of 13, where I was too big to play the little kid or too little to play the big kid. And so, I thought maybe I should try giving music a go and taking it more seriously,” Raquel explained. “Then I put out that first record [and] I loved how easily embraced I was into the Toronto jazz community…Everybody was so thrilled to just have me around…there weren’t actually too many difficulties…at that age, it was mostly just like trying to figure out who I am as an artist.”

Avery Raquel has worked with award-winning producer/musician Greg Kavanagh and shared the studio or the stage with respected artists including Sean Jones, Molly Johnson, Holly Cole and Matt Dusk among others. Photo courtesy Josh Gibson.

Raquel started playing the violin as well as the piano, however, as she grew up in Brantford, she started to make a name for herself in the local scene.

“It’s a really small world…I’ll be talking to someone who I’ve never met before, but then we have a lot of mutual friends. It’s just a really nice community,” Raquel said. “[In] respect to the music scene here, it was really sweet. I would be asked to sing anthems at different places [like] at the Red Sox games, and I sang at them at the citizenship awards on Canada Day.”

As well, Raquel’s family has been supportive and has been an essential factor in her success.

“I don’t think I would be where I am without them. I’ve been really lucky to have a dad who is a graphic designer and he does [the] marketing…And my mom’s just always backing me up and just so supportive. They’re just ready for whatever I want to do with my life, they have always been there for me,” she said.

Avery Raquel has noted that some key influences have been such contemporary artists including Amy Winehouse, as well as, revered artists like Carole King and Etta James. Photo courtesy averyraquel.com.

In her last several records, Raquel has taken a bigger role in songwriting and explained her approach.

“When it comes to writing music, it depends on my mental state, a lot of the time, and how much life is going on around me. During COVID, it was really hard to write. So, for that time, I kind of forced myself to write because there was nothing going on,” explained Raquel. “I took that month [May 2020], and I wrote three or four songs a week for the whole month just to kind of give myself some inspiration and something to do. I would kind of make up stories, or I would think about my past situations and write about them.”

Along with her next big step in moving to Spain, Raquel looks forward to continuing on some projects.

“I’m going to be releasing some tunes in the New Year. I was able to record an EP. It’s a four-track EP, and so I’m hoping to release some of that stuff in the fall, which I’m really excited about. It is more original work [and] then I’m definitely hoping to record while I’m abroad and release some of that music in the following years,” Raquel said.

Raquel Avery has also been passionate about giving back and supporting causes, such as anti-bullying (going into schools talking and performing for students), mental health awareness, and music education. Photo courtesy averyraquel.com.

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