Official website of
award-winning soul artist
AV Ann Vriend

BIOGRAPHY

“Holy wow! What a voice, what a performance... She had a commanding stage presence and a control of dynamics that actually made my jaw drop, making me grin like an idiot... if you have not heard of her, get on that, because she was absolutely phenomenal!”

— The AU Review, Top 15 of 150 acts to see at Big Sound.

 

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 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.  A “musician’s musician” and equally compelling solo as with a full band AV has sold more than 20,000 albums off the stage, independently, and can somehow turn even the most difficult rooms to her attention, which she attributes from having cut her teeth playing bars — solo, and with exclusively original music— in small towns in Alberta, Canada.

 

Growing up in a household that was on the one hand counter-culture and hippie but on the other hand fundamentally religious and sheltering, 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 from emotionally intense and rhythmic gospel and soul styles of African American culture, as well as from her parents’ vinyl ‘70s folk/pop collection, from artists such as Paul Simon, Cat Stevens, and Leonard Cohen.

 

Often compared to her vocal hero, Aretha Franklin, AV’s most recent song, “Hurt People Hurt People”, which has been released only in Germany to date, peaked at #55 in the Main Pop Charts in Germany, reaching the top 10 on some stations, and reaching #1 on Bayern1, which has a listenership of approximately 3.3 million.  Well-known and beloved radio host Werner Reinke from Germany’s HR1 station presented an hr-long live recording and interview with AV this past February and actually cried during AV’s performance.

 

Coming from a humble background on Edmonton’s east side, and for the past decade calling Edmonton’s troubled and somewhat notorious ghetto neighborhood of McCauley home, AV does not shy away from addressing serious social issues that face her and her community.  This setting is the microcosm from which she writes, weaving the issues facing people in this scene into her own life struggles— and yet, specific as they both are, her songs appeal to her audience worldwide.  She draws from the rich tradition of classic soul artists who have delivered stunning recordings that are both contagiously fun AND socially thought provoking, such as Curtis Mayfield, Ray Charles, Bill Withers, Sly Stone, Marvin Gaye, Aretha Franklin, and all the way up the line to Sharon Jones, Charles Barkley, Amy Winehouse, and Alicia Keys.

 

AV spent much of 2018 working with inner-city kids in 2 different schools in her hometown, the result of which moved a philanthropist to fund AV to take both groups into the studio to record 2 songs with her, which won and were nominated for several awards, and received recognition from international audiences.

 

AV’s most recent awards include the 2019 and 2017 Cobalt Music Prize at the Maple Blues Awards, the “R&B/Soul Recording of the Year” at the 2018 Edmonton Music Awards, and 2018 semi-finalist in the Canadian Songwriting Competition, pop category.

 

In Canada AV has also been a guest on such esteemed shows as CBC’s Vinyl Cafe with the late Stuart McLean, as well as Holger Petersen’s “All Natch’ll Blues”; in Germany AV has performed on the popular ZDF “Morgenmagazin” and the Pierre M Krause Show, as well as Arte TV; and in Australia she was a guest on ABC’s comedy show, “Spicks and Specks.”

 

 

“Edmonton vocalist turns soul on its head, belting out delicate introspection in the form of fire.”

 -- Now Magazine

 

“Don’t miss her!”

 -- Toronto Star

 

 

©2019 Ann Vriend. All rights reserved.

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