"Even though I wrote them all at different points in my life, I found that there were common themes throughout them all" We chat with Vivian Leva
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Hey Vivian, how the devil are you doing?
I’m great! Thanks so much for asking.
Where are you right now?
Right now I’m sitting at a café in Port Townsend, WA. I’m here for a couple camps called Voice Works and Fiddle Tunes.
What have you been up to today?
I spent my morning drinking coffee and listening to some of my housemates playing Danish fiddle tunes.
Tell us about yourself.
I’m a 20-year-old musician from Lexington, VA.
What can you tell us about your new album, Time Is Everything, in two sentences?
Time is Everything is my first solo album that I recorded last June with some amazing musicians and friends. It’s mostly original songs that are inspired by Traditional (Old-Time), classic country, and roots music.
If people could hear just one song from the album, what would you choose for them? And why?
I would choose the title track: ‘Time is Everything.’ I co-wrote it with my partner Riley Calcagno and our friend Sam Bailey. It’s still inspired by older music, but is the most modern of all the tracks.
How did you go about writing and choosing which songs to record?
The songs on this record were written over a long period of time. The oldest is ‘Bottom of the Glass,’ which I wrote when I was 14. Even though I wrote them all at different points in my life, I found that there were common themes throughout them all.
One of my favourite tracks is ‘Why Don’t You Introduce Me As Your Darlin’’, what can you tell us about that track?
I wrote this song after hearing a friend say, “Why don’t you call me your girlfriend?” I immediately knew that I wanted to turn that question into a song. I think a lot of people have been in those kinds of unclear relationships.
What can you tell us about Appalachian music?
Although I can’t speak for all the music that comes from Appalachia, I grew up around traditional music that came from that region. My dad learned the fiddle from people around there and my mom learned ballads.
And how does that influence your music?
I spent a large part of my childhood either at music festivals or on the road with my parents when they were touring. It was impossible to be around that type of music and not have it influence the music I make.
Obviously there’s a lot of talk about equality in the film and music industries at the moment, have you ever felt you were treated differently as a woman?
Of course. That’s just a day in the life.
When was the last time you were starstruck?
I spent last week teaching some classes at Centrum’s Voiceworks. It was amazing to be playing with and hearing concerts from other instructors who’s recordings I’ve listened to for years. It was an honor.
Can you tell us the best and the worst thing about your hometown?
Best thing: It’s in one of the most beautiful parts of the world.
Worst thing: It’s a 45-minute drive to the nearest “city.”
What are your plans for the rest of 2018?
I’ll be touring for the rest of the summer as a duo with Riley Calcagno, and with The Onlies, an Old-Time band that I recently joined. In the fall I’ll be going back to school in Portland, Oregon.
If you could recommend one song to hear this week, what would it be?
'Hills of Mexico' by The Renegades.
What’s the question we should have asked you today but haven’t?
I think you’ve covered just about everything!
Finally, how do you take your coffee?
Dark roast with a splash of half and half.
For more on Vivian, including tour dates, visit her website. You can like her on Facebook, or see what she's up to on Instagram.
Her brilliant debut, Time Is Everything, is out now and available to buy or stream anywhere decent. Tidal stream is below.