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Sad music is not synonymous with a sad soul.

Singer-songwriter Victoria Canal leans into the melancholy of her songs to process, emote, and heal. For two years, she hunkered down in the basement of her Amsterdam family home, shared with her two siblings and parents, to write and sing about a close relative diagnosed with an incurable cancer. Those songs became her cathartic 2022 EP, Elegy, which explored grief.

People think I’m sad because my music is sad, but really that’s just where I let it out. I’m actually a pretty joyful human being.”

Her new EP WELL WELL tackles self-analysis. Canal, 25, believes this to be her most vulnerable and courageous work. She knew she wanted to speak to the young adult experience. Watching the TV show Parenthood during quarantine became an unlikely inspiration, and the idea of WELL WELL was born.

The EP’s heart-wrenching opener, “Shape,” explores body acceptance, specifically being tired of criticizing one’s own body and embracing it — flaws and all. The song is particularly personal for the Spanish-American singer-songwriter/producer: Canal has a limb difference due to being born without her right forearm.

“She Walks In” continues with the theme of body exploration, but this time she’s singing from a personal space. It’s her story. “Sometimes I get fooled for a second, but they’re staring because my body’s different,” she sings. The third single, “Company,” is a wholesome gay love song. “It’s an anthem for queer young women my age,” she says. WELL WELL also explores comparison, perfectionism, and love.

Born in Munich, Germany, Canal has lived a nomadic life, residing in Shanghai, Tokyo, Barcelona, Madrid, Dubai, Atlanta, Amsterdam, and now London, which she calls home. Her first exposure to music was through her grandmother, a piano teacher and choir leader at church. Around three years old, she began listening for hours as her grandmother gave piano lessons. She never took the lessons herself but went on to study music.

“There’s definitely something new about WELL WELL that I haven’t experienced before [because] I’m touching on themes like body image and body dysmorphia, disability, the disabled experience,” she said. “But I’m going about it in a light way, and I’m retaining a lot of my personality within the music in terms of bubbly and tongue-in-cheek and humor.”

Although she studied music from a young age, she still did not think anyone would hear the songs from Elegy. Not only did people hear her music, Chris Martin of Coldplay also discovered her through a shared video and hailed “Swan Song” as “one of the best songs ever written.” Martin became a mentor and introduced her to the team at her current label, Parlophone Records.

My music is what I sort of loved listening to growing up, which was in the dark, in my room, staring at the ceiling. Just kind of cathartic, mellow, emotional, just really deeply, deeply feeling my emotions, very fully on. And that’s now the music that I make after a while of trying to be something poppier and more exciting. I finally faced the fact that, yeah, I’m meant to make pretty sad songs and I’m cool with it.”

As a queer disabled woman, Canal is passionate about these issues and representation. When she’s not singing or writing songs, she is an activist.

As the person that grew up moving around a lot, one of the critical lessons I learned is that it’s really damaging to be in an environment where everyone looks and sounds and thinks exactly like you, particularly through media, because that’s how we are receiving signal of what the rest of the world is like.”

“Being exposed to people of all kinds is very important to be an empathetic, holistic, compassionate person and for people to have an understanding of what the things are that do matter and the policies that need to change,” Canal elaborated.

With two EPs under her belt, an acting credit for her role in an episode of Little America on Apple TV+, opening for Hozier on tour earlier this year, and now headlining her own tour with Sammy Rae and the Friends, Canal is busy.

“Something they never tell you about your dreams coming true is that very, very quickly they become a memory,” Canal said. “Knocking things off my bucket list has made me more nostalgic and kind of missing the naivete of being 13 and [believing] anything is possible.”

Canal’s tour starts in London on September 5.
Visit tour page for upcoming dates:

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