It’s not enough to say Avery Raquel has toured North America, with a long line of concert performances. Add to it, nationwide airplay of her songs, a loyal following, and top-charting albums. If you haven’t heard of this young Canadian performer yet, chances are, in time you will.
The Toronto Star and Globe and Mail have taken notice of this rising star and her powerful vocal performances.
Though she is influenced by artists as Etta James, Carole King, Amy Winehouse, Lauryn Hill, and others, hers is a voice all its own, a back drop to a signature sound that moulds R&B, Soul and jazz.
At age 22, she is already a much in-demand performer, and back in April 2023, launched her latest album, Avery Raquel, of all original compositions. It is a mix of RnB, blues, funk and soul, that debuted at #5 on the RnB/Soul Top 200 Canadian iTunes chart.
At age 13, she released her first album, 2016’s Life Lessons, comprising of cover songs rearranged from the 60s, 70s and 80s, into jazz tunes. Two years later, she released Without a Little Rain. After that, an EP of remixes created by DJ Stonebridge, that peaked at number 30 on the Billboard dance chart.
“Which was crazy, because it’s the farthest from my style of music. But that was really cool,” she remarked. In 2020 she released My Heart Away, with original songs written by her and co-writer Greg Kavanaugh.
Though no one knew it at the time, her musical journey began at age four, when she demonstrated her love of singing.
“My parents happened to discover that after taking me to see Annie [the musical] in Toronto, and I performed the whole show for them in my bedroom. And they were like, ‘oh, maybe she wants to do this.’ And then I started playing violin around the same age. And then I picked the piano when I was seven. But singing throughout all of that, and then I started acting when I was seven.”
Her acting career started quite young, and with a bang: hired in the first Canadian production of Mary Poppins, and a Steven Spielberg television pilot called Fallen Skies.
The latter, “was more of a highlight for my parents, because they got to meet Spielberg. I did, too,” she said.
In terms of her musical study, she is classically trained, already earning her Grade 8 Royal Conservatory Music, and is now finished at Humber, graduating with a B.A Music (Hon) degree, as of June 2023. She is currently in Valencia, Spain, at Berklee College of Music, acquiring her Masters degree in Performance and Production.
As for how she picked up, and developed an appreciation for, varying musical styles, she explained that it had been simply by being exposed to endless hours of listening to music of different genres from the ‘70s and ‘80s in her parents’ car. “All these different things really piqued my ear,” she said. “Whenever I listen to music, I find myself analyzing it. These older songs are just super special, and allow me to explore my own ideas.”
Now that she is more and more in the spotlight, it was only a matter of course that people would chime in about what she should, or shouldn’t do, to attract even more fans. She’s heard criticism that she should wear more make-up, sing pop music, and even wear straight hair. But she was determined to forge her own path with her own style, and learned to turn her focus away from the naysayers, while following the path that’s right for her.
“No matter what direction people tell you to go in, stay true to yourself first. Know you’re making people happy and yourself happy. And then if you feel that the time is right to make a change, then you do that on your own terms,” she says.
“That’s the only job that you need to do.”
Keep a watchful eye, as Avery Raquel is surely on a trajectory upwards to “household name” status in no time at all.
Dave Gordon | Contributing Writer