The WiMN’s Front and Center is a weekly column that showcases accomplished women who work in the music and audio industries. We spotlight successful female performers, manufacturers, retailers, educators, managers, publicists, and everyone else in between. Want to be featured? Learn how here.
Front and Center: Singer/Performer, Viktoria Tocca
With an acclaimed background in musical theater, Swedish singer/songwriter Viktoria Tocca is now taking the US pop world by storm.
Her first single released in the States, “We’re Still Young,” debuted at #10 on Billboard’s Hot Singles Sales chart, climbed quickly to #3 and remained on the chart for over two months. Tocca’s new single “Ready to Run” is already working it’s way up the charts.
After winning at the Hollywood Music in Media Awards in 2011 for the song “Dark Waltz,” she followed up with 14 Indie Music Channel Awards (IMCA) in 2012 and 2013, including “Artist of the Year,” further propelling her career in the US. In 2014 she won at the Hollywood Music in Media Awards once more, in the category of “Best Adult Contemporary.”
Clearly there’s plenty on the horizon for this gifted songwriter, and below, we discuss her upcoming Tony Coluccio-produced LP and much more.
For the latest on Viktoria Tocca, visit www.viktoriatocca.com.
WiMN: Has your transition from musical theater to pop been a challenge?
VT: Well, not really, since I’ve been singing so many styles throughout my career. Musical theater can be so many different things, you know. I don’t feel the leap for me has been that big, it’s just another way of thinking about the performance.
WiMN: What can you tell us about your upcoming album, how is it different from your previous work?
VT: My previous album was based around a string quartet. It was a much smaller, more intimate chamber-type setting. The new album is definitely very different in that perspective. This is more of band-type situation. It’s a different sound, and it’s more commercial in a way.
WiMN: What’s it been like to work with producer Tony Coluccio?
VT: Oh, it’s been a lot of fun! It’s been very different for me — he has a very different way of approaching songwriting and producing than I’ve been accustomed to. It’s nice to see things from a completely different angle. Tony comes from more of a dance/DJ background, so he likes to start with a beat or rhythm and then build the song from there. I come from more of a classic songwriting perspective, where I start with the melody of the song and the lyrics. It’s been really interesting to combine our two ways of approaching songwriting. I’ve learned a lot!
WiMN: It sounds like he’s pushed you out of your comfort zone a little.
VT: Oh, absolutely. The first song we wrote together was “Ready to Run.” I was a bit confused in the beginning because, you know, he started off with just the beat. But I’m really happy with how the song turned out. I think he enjoyed working with me as well, because I come with a very clear idea of the melodies and lyrics I want to use. So I think it’s worked out really well.
WiMN: Speaking of “Ready to Run,” what was it like to film that zombie-filled video?
VT: It was a lot of fun. You know, the song doesn’t have anything to do with zombies, but Halloween was coming up and I just saw an opportunity to do something very different. So I got to pretend I was on The Walking Dead for a couple of days, so that was brilliant!
WiMN: Can you tell us some of the artists who have have influenced you the most musically?
VT: That’s a tough question because I love so much different music. But, I would say probably Björn and Benny from ABBA, for example. They write such strong melodies. Not just with ABBA — they’ve written a lot of musical theater and folk music too. I love movie soundtracks too, just the epic feel of them. If you listen to “We Are Still Young,” it kind of has those cinematic drums. “Ready to Run” has a move soundtrack feel in parts as well.
Other than that, I listen to a lot of country crossover artists — Lady Antebellum, The Band Perry, Martina McBride, Miranda Lambert. I feel like American country music is evolving. 20 years ago, in Sweden where I come from, country music was considered really nerdy and something you wouldn’t want to listen to ever. But it’s changed a lot. I’m coming to Nashville to co-write with some people, so I’m really excited about that.
WiMN: You recently won at the Hollywood Music in Media Awards in the category of “Best Adult Contemporary.” What was that like?
VT: Yes! It was a great experience. I won in 2011 for Best Classical, so to come back three years later and win for Adult Contemporary was really cool. It was a very weird situation because I had just performed a song on stage. The curtain had come down and I was walking off thanking my musicians, and suddenly this person rushes in, grabs my arm and says, “You need to go back on stage!”
Apparently they had announced the winner of my category while I was walking off stage, so I never even heard it. I was not prepared. I think I probably had the worst acceptance speech ever! Haha.
WiMN: Is it a challenge to balance traveling between Sweden and the States? Do you plan to move here permanently?
VT: I’m still back and forth for now. I have my family in Sweden — I don’t want to uproot everyone until I know it’s going to be worth it, you know. The last three years I’ve probably been in the United States at least 50% of the time. So I feel like we’re getting closer to making that decision. But for now, I’m still the one flying all the time.
I was semi joking with my manager the other day, telling her that I’m constantly jet lagged. Two weeks ago I flew into LA, then to New York, and in few days I go back to Sweden. And after all of that, I go back to New York again. So I never really have time to settle into one timezone! After a while, you feel the fatigue a little bit. At the same time, I’m so excited and happy, so I would never complain. You just keep going. And, unfortunately, Red Bull has become my friend! Haha.
WiMN: Whatever it takes to get you through!