Soul Dance: An Interview with Vicci Martinez
Vicci adds a bit of spice to her sultry sound
Otra Cancion was released in January and follows a year after the release of her major self-titled debut album, Vicci, featuring her hit cover of “Come Along” after being third runner up on premiere season on The Voice.
“Otra Cancion” is a sultry celebration of life and music with a touch of Latin flavor.
You might recall that at the height of Vicci’s fame on The Voice she was compared to Melissa Etheridge because of the rawness of her voice, performance style and may be perhaps because she’s open about her own love for women. Flattered by the comparison, to Melissa, Vicci says it stops at the singers’ “deep scratchy strong voices,” describing her own style as being a “bit choppier,” and “a little bit more funky and soulful.”
Not that Melissa isn’t soulful, Vicci adds.
“We definitely come from a very passionate place and are very honest in our music. She was very honest. That was something, when I was young, it was very inspiring. I definitely emulated that and I continue to when I write,” says the singer and song writer about Melissa’s influence on her music while growing up.
Leap of Faith
Vicci, 29, was nervous about auditioning for The Voice, she says. She was well aware of the style of casting for reality TV competition shows that seek certain types of characters that create “good TV” and the terms of the contracts. She made it through the regional tryouts for the premiere season of American Idol and made an appearance on Star Search.
But as the casting agents continued calling her to audition for The Voice and she thought about how music is her life’s work, she finally took a leap of faith. Changing her attitude and letting go of her fears, she opened up her mind and her world to enjoy herself and have a “happy go lucky” experience.
“If it goes good why would that be a bad thing? That’s kind of dumb,” says Vicci, who has been performing since she was 13- or 14-years old around the Pacific Northwest and producing her own albums.
It was time, the “perfect time” as she was at a point in her life where, “I was ready for that next step the next level.”
The Voice and her experience on reality TV went well, very well. She joined CeeLo Green’s team and was the third runner-up on hit music competition show. She went on to sign on with Universal Republic Records and has been touring and producing her most recent record ever since then. That was about a year and a half ago.
“This was a great time and very evolving experience in me,” says Vicci, crediting the show with helping her boost her confidence and strengthening her ability to perform before larger live audiences.
The Voice introduced her to new audiences and opened her up to bigger markets, she says.
“I just realized if this is something I want to do with my career that I will have to shake [my nerves] right away,” says Vicci, who wasn’t one to usually be nervous before stepping out onto stage, but The Voice’s audiences were much, much larger than what she was used to.
In the end, shaking off her nerves, stepping out before the mass of unknown faces and the judges allowed her to “concentrate more with being on stage and having a good time and making the audience feel the music,” she says.
Not Far From Home
Vicci has temporarily swapped the chill Pacific Northwest for the warmth and sunshine of Los Angeles.
“I really enjoyed it. I really loved the sunshine,” says Vicci.
Don’t worry Washingtonians, she’s still a Northwest girl. Even though she’s enjoying the sunshine of Southern California, The Latina native can still be seen around her hometown, Tacoma, Wash., hanging at her house, getting her hair done at one of her three sister’s salons, and kicking it with her parents and two brothers and sisters every other month.
Vicci is the fifth in line of her siblings and is the only one out of the brood who has the passion within her to make music into her lifeblood and profession, she says.
Los Angeles is where Vicci needs to be right now.
“It’s nice to be here because there are so many people doing what you are doing. It kind of makes it uncomfortable, which means you can’t just get comfortable, which makes you keep working,” says Vicci. It’s nice to be somewhere where a lot of that energy is happening.”
“I think in Tacoma it’s a very easy way of living, very slow, very chill. That is something that is great, but it is something that I can’t be right now,” continues Vicci. “I have to be working my butt off.”
Working her butt off is what she is doing producing albums and on the road a lot performing for her fans – queer and straight.
She’s been juggling performing at different Pride events and for Olivia Travel on the luxury lesbian travel company’s cruise and resort vacations and her regular tour.
This summer Vicci’s hitting Philadelphia, Penn.; Chicago, Ill.; Puerto Vallarta, Mexico; New York, New York; Boston, Mass.; and of course the Pacific Northwest to name a few cities she’s traveling to.
“I love it. I love it so much,” says Vicci about touring and traveling. “I like going to new places.”
“I really enjoy meeting new people and just experiencing other people and the way they do things,” says Vicci, who is excited about jumping overseas to perform in the future.
She’s itching to get back to touring Europe, especially Italy, Paris basically “all of the romantic places,” she says, after performing Germany and Sweden in 2013.
A romantic at heart, that tour won’t be all work and no pleasure.
“I want to go to all of the romantic cities with someone who I‘m super, super in love with and just be lovey and enjoy each other and see beautiful places,” she says. “That’s a fantasy of mine for sure.”
Unfortunately, career is coming first over love right now. Vicci has been flying solo since the end of her time on The Voice.
That’s OK, because Europe isn’t currently on her schedule. Right now she’s hanging in the Americas touring the U.S. and Mexico where she gets to spend time with her friends and family.
She has family in Puerto Vallarta and it feels like, “I’m on vacation when I’m there,” she says.
Vicci loves going home to perform in the Pacific Northwest (so be sure to see a lot of tour dates later this year in her home state and neighboring states), such as next Friday, June 20 at Seattle Women’s Pride, and Puerto Vallarta, where she’s performing at the Hard Rock Vallarta.
To book your Hard Rock vacation, contact Heather Cassell at Girls That Roam Travel at Travel Advisors of Los Gatos at 408-354-6531at or .
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