Victoria Contreras is a wonder woman; not only is she a soulful, dramatic vocalist, but also Director of Sales at STG and a mentor to aspiring female musicians at several arts organizations. STACKEDD previously talked to her about the Patsy Cline show; now she’s back with her own night at the Triple Door, singing her own music, accompanied by the Seattle Rock Orchestra. Her debut self-titled album is full of lush, swelling strings–the music is full and rich, and adding a full orchestra to the mix could only enhance that effect.
How did you get into music?
I just always loved the way that singing made me feel. That was my first love. I was maybe 4 years old when I started to sing. There is something extremely calming when your vocal cords modulate air to create sound. Singing is like Yoga to me. My Mother is a beautiful opera singer and my Father is also very musical so I grew up in a house seeping with music. For several years, beginning when I was 12, I had the opportunity to sing with a 25 piece jazz band and that is when I started to think about music in a different way. Words, phrasing and the way that instruments, including the voice, spoke to one another, became paramount to me. During this time, I also started writing short stories and poems and eventually, I combined my love for writing words and using my voice to begin creating songs.
Andrew Joslyn wrote such amazing string and horn arrangements for my self-titled album and we had talked about expanding those arrangements to include woodwinds and more horns for quite some time. After doing several shows with Seattle Rock Orchestra over the past few years, this just felt like a very natural and organic progression.
I’ve heard you mentor girls pursuing a career in music. What inspired you to start doing it? what have been some of your best experiences watching those girls grow?
One of the greatest influences in my life was my first vocal coach, Maestro David Kyle. He had a positive and exuberant spirit and he was an extraordinary teacher who taught me how to belt, which can be really uncommon He also was a source of inspiration to me, helping me to navigate my goals and dreams. I still do his vocal exercises and decided many years ago to honor his memory by teaching the techniques and the positive motivation that he gifted me with. I have been a vocal coach off and on for some time and for whatever reason, young girls tend to gravitate to me teaching style. I try to be a source of sanity in terms of giving advice in this crazy industry. I really feel like I’ve seen it all through my experiences in Seattle, New York, Nashville and particularly after living in LA for 5 years. Unfortunately, like many artists, I have dealt with a lot of loaded promises and have been put in many compromising positions where I’ve needed to choose career advancement or my dignity; Being able to look myself in the mirror has always won in those situations. A career in music doesn’t have to be like that. I have no regrets for the deals I’ve turned down in those situations. I want to do what I can to make sure the talented young ladies that I work with also stay true to themselves while achieving their goals.