AVIV retrofits those emotions into her songs. The 15-year-old Toronto singer, songwriter, and multi- instrumentalist pens the kind of affecting and arresting D.I.Y. pop that’s both nostalgic and prescient (You could think of it like nineties alternative pop born post-social media). After generating millions of streams independently and receiving acclaim from Atwood Magazine and more, she continues to perfect this approach on a series of singles for Photo Finish Records.
“I’m just a teenager who acts much older, still gets excited about little things, and really loves to over- analyze her emotions and put them into music,” she says. “I try to be true to myself with everything I do. The more AVIV the music is, the better.”
AVIV grew up in a big family of four siblings, including her twin brother. Every Saturday, they went record shopping together on Queen Street in Toronto, picking up classics by Fleetwood Mac, Radiohead, and more. “Most families went to the mall,” she smiles. “We went to the record store together.”
At six-years-old, she studied piano under “an old-fashioned teacher who scared me into practicing and getting good!” Around the same time, she developed her voice and eventually picked up guitar. Casual poetry transformed into songwriting as she regularly played her early compositions for friends and family. Throughout high school, she obsessed over the likes of Clairo, Lorde, and Lana Del Rey.
Tell us about the genesis of your project. How did you get to where you are now?
The formation of my project started to develop through my passion as a music listener. I was surrounded by music devotees in my family who introduced me to unique sounds. It was important to me to learn to play an instrument and I fell in love with progression creation. I learned to utilize songwriting as a form of “getting my thoughts out.” When the first lockdown hit I had a lot of time to self-reflect, and I did this through music. I began releasing my songs last year.
How would you describe the highs and lows of being an artist?
One of my highs would be releasing a song. It’s a passion you’ve worked so hard on finally getting introduced to the world. It is the best feeling. My lows mainly include self-comparison, sometimes when others around me are releasing such beautiful sounds I occasionally tend to put myself down. But I enjoy the highs and lows as they teach and keep me excited for what’s to come.
What’s a musical guilty pleasure of yours?
Not sure if it’s a guilty pleasure but I’ve been listening to Brittney Spears a bit too much recently
What are some sources of inspiration for you?
Listening. I always try to be that person people can open up to and share their unique feelings with. By learning these stories and feelings that come with I’ve become better at turning emotions into music.
Who is an artist that you look up to more than others today?
I’ve been on my first Bob Dylan wave lately… I know I’m a bit late, but I just bought his record and I’ve been dissecting it non-stop
Favorite activity to blow off some steam?
Reading hopeless love novels and watching silly sit-coms
Tell us about your latest release and how it came about
Black Coffee was the first song I ever fully created online. I wrote it amongst the sweetest soul Kristina Sarro. We met on zoom and talked for over an hour and wrote the song in around 45 minutes. Kristina and I both reflected on the world we currently lived in, and how experiences and relationships had shut down in almost an instant. Black Coffee represents moments that could’ve passed but were poured to the drain. Black Coffee was originally released in April but I got my beyond talented friend “OCTAVIO the Dweeb” to add a verse and it is now SO MUCH BETTER! Black Coffee ft. OCTAVIO the Dweeb is out now. 🙂
What are some things you do to deal with anxiety and creative blocks?
Music has always been a tool I utilize to aid with anxiety. It forces me to evaluate situations and pin down exactly what I’m feeling.
When I get creative blocks I try to step away from the project. For example, I take walks, read a book, etc. I find that a proper mindset is key in songwriting and by taking off-time I get my brain flowing.
What’s the future looking like for you?
I have a lot of music in the work that I cannot wait to show.
What inspires your visuals, videos, looks, etc?
When I was younger I wanted to be a film director and writer. I would make silly movies with my friends. I’ve always been a die-hard for strong 90s and colorful visuals. I try to incorporate these classic 90s film aesthetics in my projects. Because of my passion for film visuals have always been important to me.
What is the most embarrassing memory and the proudest moment of your career so far?
I think my most embarrassing moment would have to be falling off the stage while performing. It was just soooo awkward. I think the proudest would be signing. It has been a dream of mine for a very long time.
What is the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
The best advice I’ve ever gotten was from my mom, she told me if you aren’t enjoying yourself what’s the point. Because I’m young learning how to say “no” to people concerning my music was tough and I often was stuck working on a song I didn’t enjoy. Through time I’ve trained myself to prioritize projects which I enjoyed, as well as surround myself with supportive people who do so as well.
Where do you think the music and entertainment industry is headed after this past year?
I’ve been hearing a lot of rock and guitar aspects in pop music. I don’t know if we are heading there…. But I sure hope so