ENTERTAINMENT

With 'Drama,' Victoria Canal Could Raise Bar For Disabled Artists In Pop Music

HuffPost got a first look at the Spanish American singer-songwriter's new video, which she sees as a message to her inner critic.

The ever-evolving entertainment industry can be daunting for any young, up-and-coming artist in pursuit of creative fulfillment. For her new song and music video, however, Victoria Canal found herself looking inward to address the most formidable obstacle of all: herself. 

HuffPost got an exclusive first look at “Drama,” viewable above. In the video, Canal plays both a “light” and “dark” version of herself. Each persona, she said, “casts a different energy and puts out a different reality into the world.” 

 

“The concept came about as I was starting to enter the music industry space more and really putting myself on display more than ever before,” said the Spanish American singer-songwriter, who is based in Los Angeles. “I sat down to write a song about the inner voice in my head, the self-critic who tries to make me feel small and tries to make me feel like anything other than what I know is my highest self. I wanted to really brush off that voice.”  

Singer-songwriter Victoria Canal released her new single, "Drama," in November as part of a partnership with Nike.
Singer-songwriter Victoria Canal released her new single, "Drama," in November as part of a partnership with Nike.

Canal is hopeful that the self-empowering message of “Drama” will encourage all listeners to “embrace the best version” of themselves. The song also speaks to the 21-year-old’s personal experiences as a bisexual woman who was born without her right forearm.

The singer-songwriter ― who lived in Germany, China, Japan, Dubai and Spain before settling in the U.S. ― said her global upbringing has influenced her music as much as her disability and sexuality have. At the same time, she’s also conscious of the fact that mainstream pop has been slow to spotlight both LGBTQ artists and artists with disabilities. 

“I’ve always seen [my identity] as a unique opportunity, really,” Canal said. “I used to shy away from the word [‘disabled’] and all the things it implied. But as I’ve grown up and lived a few more years, I’ve met a community of people who embody strength. ‘Disabled,’ to me, actually has a totally different connotation. To me, it means strong or resilient, determined, hopeful.” 

Canal (left) toured extensively with Michael Franti in 2018. Earlier this year, they collaborated on "The Flower," a track on
Canal (left) toured extensively with Michael Franti in 2018. Earlier this year, they collaborated on "The Flower," a track on Franti's latest album.

“I’ve always just gone for what I love and what I wanted without much fear, hesitation or overthinking,” she added. 

“Drama” is the first single from Canal’s forthcoming five-song EP, “Victoria,” due out in spring 2020. The song was released in November as part of a new collaboration with Nike on the Jordan FlyEase, a new shoe for athletes with disabilities. 

Commercial tie-ins aside, “Drama” received early praise from Rolling Stone and other music outlets. Days after the song’s release, Canal premiered it live as part of a small tour around New York that included a livestreamed performance at Billboard magazine’s offices. 

While “Drama” may turn out to be Canal’s mainstream breakout, she first began garnering a small but loyal fan base after the release of her 2016 debut EP, “Into the Pull.” Earlier this year, she collaborated with singer-songwriter Michael Franti and his band, Spearhead, on “The Flower,” a cut from Franti’s latest album, “Stay Human Vol. 2.” As of Friday, that song’s music video had been viewed more than 1 million times on YouTube. 

"‘Disabled,’ to me, actually to me has a totally different connotation," Canal said. "To me, it means s
"‘Disabled,’ to me, actually to me has a totally different connotation," Canal said. "To me, it means strong, or resilient, determined, hopeful.” 

Following the release of “Victoria” next year, Canal plans to hit the road and performing in cities like Chicago, San Francisco and New York with the band Tall Heights. She is also developing a new, nonscripted documentary series that she hopes will capture her hustle in music.

Naming Alicia Keys, Alessia Cara and Lizzo as influences, Canal is hopeful “Drama” ― in addition to her forthcoming projects ― will remind listeners from all walks of life of the need to “forgive their inner critic.”

“Disregard what any lying voices might be telling you,” she said. “Be your best for you and nobody else.”

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