Victoria Reed Talks New “Chariot” Album, Rockwood Show on Mar. 3 and More

by | Feb 26, 2016 | Coming Up, Culture, Music

4+copyA Brooklyn-based singer/songwriter by way of Detroit (and later Chicago), Victoria Reed has earned rave reviews from outlets as diverse as AM New York, Paste, and Hello Giggles. Her debut album, Chariot, was helmed with producer Jeff Hill and is a pleasant mix of folk-pop, Americana and ballads. In support of Chariot, which was released on Feb. 26, Victoria has a gig scheduled for Stage 3 of Rockwood Music Hall on Mar. 3.

Victoria – the daughter of Bob Seger’s saxophonist Alto Reed, the man behind the famous sax riffs in “Old Time Rock And Rock” and “Turn The Page – spoke to Downtown about what’s ahead for her beyond Chariot. Plenty more can be seen and heard from her on her official website:

How would you describe Chariot to someone who hasn’t yet heard it?

Victoria Reed: It’s always a little hard for me to describe, because the songs themselves are so close to me, and we didn’t really set out to make the record to sound like anything in particular so it’s difficult for me to pin down. But I like to think of it as a 2016 take on 90’s alt-rock, which makes sense because that’s a lot of what I grew up on. It’s light, hopeful and hopefully uplifting to listen to even if some of the subject matter is pretty heavy. It’s honest.

You recorded Chariot in Brooklyn after living in Chicago. What is it that brought you to New York?

V: My now-manager [Gary Waldman of Morebarn Music] discovered some of my GarageBand bedroom demos on Facebook. I had met him years before at a [Citizen Cope] show in Chicago, but was too embarrassed to mention anything about my songwriting to him. When he heard the demos, he wrote me and said, “Why didn’t you tell me you write songs?” He invited me out to New York to record what we thought at the time were just going to be a couple of nice demos. It went really well and we were all pretty excited about what we got down, so we decided I should move to New York and make a whole record instead! It didn’t take much convincing.

Beyond your artistry, what does New York offer to you that Chicago doesn’t?

V: There’s just more of everything. Both cities are wonderful and have so much to offer, but New York is unique in that it just never runs out and that alone absolutely thrills me.

Is there anything that you miss about Chicago?

V: My friends! My favorite Thai restaurant, Cozy Noodles, that I would eat at several times per week. Big Star! Rainbo Club! Open mic night at The Gallery Cabaret is pretty special. So many awesome restaurants and bars. Also, being able to get tickets to amazing shows because they weren’t, as a rule, sold-out immediately like they always are in New York.

rockwood3When it comes to getting creative, do you have a particular routine? Or do you prefer to write only when inspiration comes?

V: I generally only write when I’m feeling something so intensely that I feel like I’m just going to blow until I remember that I can write songs and they make me feel better. Nothing can make me feel so instantly better like writing a song. I’ll be so sad or so something that I just can’t even believe it, and then I’ll write a song and it’s like I’ve been Men In Black memory erased and I’m ready to party.

If you weren’t pursuing a career in music, what do you think you would be doing instead?

V: I was a Philosophy major [at DePaul University] and I was pretty obsessed with all that until I became too obsessed and decided that music was a much healthier pursuit for me. So maybe some kind of philosophical writing. Although, I also used to write a comedic blog called I Feel Like I’m Taking Crazy Pills that my friends and family seemed to really like and were pretty supportive of me pursuing, but that might have just been because they like me. Either way, I’m sure I’d be writing in some capacity.

For Chariot to be a success in your eyes, what needs to happen?

V: Honestly, so much has already happened as a result of this record that I could never have even imagined when I was first writing these songs, so I already consider it to be a tremendous success. People already seem to be listening and responding, and I’ve already been able to tour pretty extensively and play music all over the world, which is a dream come true in the most literal sense possible. Yet at the same time, I’ve been told by a lot of pretty wise people in the music industry that the goal of your first record is to get to your fourth, and then your sixth. In other words, you should hope it’s successful enough that you’ll be able to keep doing it, and I definitely feel that. Big time. I can’t wait to – hopefully — be able to keep making records. It’s so incredibly gratifying.

Once the album comes out in February, what’s ahead for you? Extensive touring plans?

V: There’s definitely going to be a lot of touring in my future and I really can’t wait. Stay tuned!

When you’re not busy with your career, how do you like to spend your free time?

V: If I’m not traveling, I cook, I nap – a lot – I drink wine and eat salami, I meditate, I write songs and do my workout tape. And I never get tired of exploring the city. My fiancé is a jazz pianist, but he also plays in about a hundred different bands when he’s not playing in mine, so I go out to see him play at all sorts of different places at least a few times a week when we’re in town. I see a lot of live jazz.

Did you have a favorite album of 2015?

V: I love Kurt Vile’s latest release [b’lieve i’m going down…].

Finally, Victoria, any last words for the kids?

V: If you don’t like watching violent movies or TV shows because you find them upsetting, you don’t have to watch them and you don’t have to feel bad about not watching them. That’s my new thing!

-by Darren Paltrowitz

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