By Victor Ostrovsky
Transcribed By Tashia Antoine
Victoria Cheong aka New Chance is a charismatic multi-talented artist, who isn’t afraid to take charge of her musical destiny. After taking a step away from co-running her independent label Healing Power Records, New Chance is paving the way for her solo career to take flight.
Performing all over the city as a back-up singer, DJ, and as a solo artist, New Chance is sure to be Toronto’s next Electronic/Dance phenomenon.
In this interview VIBE 105 Correspondent Victor Ostrovsky discusses with New Chance her transition from running an independent label to investing in her solo career, her newly released EP, ‘It Says New Chance’, along with her views on the healing power of music, and more.
© Bedroomer | YouTube
Victor: Victoria, one of the most exciting things for me about your new release was hearing these songs I have seen you perform for years, finally on record. How long was the process of bringing this EP into the world?
Victoria: Many years actually! Some of the songs are probably three or four years old, in terms of writing them. It’s just taken me a long time to figure out how to do the technical stuff. I recorded it all myself and I mixed it all myself, so it took a long time for me to be able to get it sounding the way I wanted it to sound. Mixing was new for me, and I was mixing on my own in Ableton. I actually listen differently, I feel, now.
Victor: I know you don’t like to factor genre into the New Chance project, but on the EP, these songs generally feel more dance floor ready than your older work.
Victoria: Yeah, I think I’ve been making dancing music for a long time. But I just haven’t necessarily felt confident to release it because I want it to be sitting in the right spot in terms of recording.
Victor: Reflecting on it, now that it is out, is this sound something you’ve been building up to through the live shows with the project or is it more of a current vibe at this step in your evolution?
Victoria: Everything has been developed through the live shows. So, even if there are songs that have been in the works for a long time, through performance I’ve done remixes of them and tried different things with them. The recordings represent one option of how the songs could go in a way. But I think it’s sort of informed by over the years performing the songs, and then in a way, even the way that the tracks flow and the kind of consideration of the group of songs is informed from work that I’ve done, in DJ-ing and stuff like that.
Victor: It is also exciting to hear that these songs are not necessarily in their final form on this CD.
Victoria: Yeah, well there is no final form. But in a way I guess putting it all together and releasing it into the world feels very final for me. I like to keep it fresh for myself when I’m performing, because I get bored. I don’t want to do the same songs the same way every time. There are always multiple ways things can go with samplers and drum machines. You can kind of really play with it. I like to keep things so that they can always keep living.
Victor: Actually, my impression of the New Chance concept is the evolution and theme of self-improvement that's been running through it. Would that be accurate? Because it’s in the title. It’s in the name of the project and some of the song titles.
Victoria: Yeah, self-improvement…
Victor: Not in a Hokie, self-help kind of way…more like a holistic way that I get from naming your label Healing Power and this uplifting feeling you want to bring to an audience.
Victoria: I mean I definitely believe in the healing power of music. That is something I try to keep as my touchstone, conceptually. Even just the process of working on music for me is very much about transforming feelings and transmitting feelings. I would say, it’s all part of the journey.
Victor: I want to ask you about running Healing Power Records over the years, because it seemed like one of the DIY labels in town with the strongest foundation for a while. A really developed point of view, with great music coming out all the time. I was wondering what some of the things you learned are, from running a DIY label in this climate for so long?
Victoria: Oh, I learned a lot! I mean that was very much a big chunk of my twenties. It allowed me access to a lot of incredible music. The artists that are on that label are still my favorite artists and my friends, and people that I respect and turn to for ideas and inspiration. I think, it was kind of a lucky moment for us that we all shared ideas about what music is about. I guess the sad thing is, it was hard to sustain because it was so much work. Myself, and my partner Wolfgang, we were putting our own money into releases and also just putting in the energy and the work. Eventually, I just got to a place where I felt like I needed to work on my own music. I don’t know if I would have been able to go at it the way that I have, if I had kept running the label.
Victor: This does feed into the conversation that’s going on right now, because you are doing a lot as an artist, as an editor, in your visual work, and as a back-up singer for Jennifer Castle and Isla Craig. So you are performing all the time, and you are involved in all these different projects. How viable, in your experience, is it to even be an artist in Toronto today?
Victoria: I feel really torn about it in a way because I think that it’s not that reasonable for me to say that it’s that viable. Yet, I’ve somehow been able to do it. I think it’s hard. I think it’s hard but I also think that for myself and for a lot of the artists that I know, it’s very much what we need. I also think it’s very much needed overall, by humans. Especially with music, I feel like whenever I tell people that I work in music, they always tell me that they love music. They always get excited and want to talk about how they love music. I think it’s like a mental health thing at that point. It’s about community, bringing people together and having an outlet and stuff like that. So, I think it is a crucial and important part for our humanity and to be able to express, to have beauty in the world and to create is empowering. So I think Toronto right now feels like a very expensive, ‘consumerist’ culture in some ways. I try to be optimistic about it and I have my moments where I feel not as optimistic about it. But, I am so grateful that I get to work in the arts and even though there is not a lot of money, that’s what it is. But, it’s a lot of fun and it is inspiring. I’ve definitely committed to it but it’s not always easy.
Victor: It is actually very sweet to hear that it seems like a pretty blessed situation where you are able to have all these outlets at the same time and you’re basically leading by example.
Victoria: I mean I feel really lucky and I feel actually really happy with where things are at for me right now. Where I kind of have my outlets and it all feels manageable at this point, and I get to work different muscles when I do different things. I really love back-up singing. It’s a whole different world of learning, and just practicing singing in different ways. I feel really happy with a lot of the things I am involved with right now. It’s been a lot of work to get to that place, but I feel grateful.
Victor: Alright Victoria, thanks so much for talking with me. I am really enjoying the EP and I hope there is more to come soon.
Victoria: Oh yeah! There’s lots more! Thank you.
New Chance not only brings the fire in her music but she also brings a new perspective to the positive power of music through her magnifying sound. Clearly following her dreams, New Chance’s mantra to entertain and up-lift speaks through her soul-grabbing recordings and will lead her already successful and accomplished career to the top!