Canadian songwriter and artist Vittoria Vespara released two full-length albums this year – the latter of which was the recently launched Beautiful Unknown.
Despite discouragement in her early years, Vittoria’s passion and devotion to creative freedom ultimately make for an inspiring story.
We caught an interview to find out more about the music, the journey to this point, and what the plan is for 2024. Here’s the conversation in full.
* * *
Hi Vittoria – thanks for the interview, and huge congrats for the release of Beautiful Unknown. For those new to your journey, when did you first start making music?
Greetings to the digital magazine, Stereo Stickman! Thank you so much for your interest in my music and the creation of Beautiful Unknown, my 2nd full LP Album. It has been such an incredible journey for me since my career in the music industry is certainly still in its infancy, as it has started later in my life. I am flattered by whoever wishes to listen to my songs and I am humbled by the response of encouragement and positive feedback from so many! Thank you kindly!
My musical journey started from childhood, when I watched new pop and rock bands on TV on variety shows and was always so moved by the magic of stage performance. I have lived humble beginnings where I grew up in abuse, neglect, and depravity. So, I learned from a young age to be self-reliant and work hard to get what I need and what I want. My environment as a child was definitely the catalyst for my hard work ethic. I started writing poetry from 9 years old, and creating radio plays and organizing live performance dance numbers with my brothers and cousins to popular music at the time. We would perform to the adults who were around to get the applause I craved.
I started a job when I was 11 to give myself a little pocket money to spend on blank cassettes where I would record music off the radio as I did not have enough to buy actual albums. I would listen to the radio and to my mixed tapes for hours in my bedroom, imagining what a music video would look like to that song. I studied music in school from grade 4, where I picked up my first instrument; the recorder. From there, I begged to learn to play the drums, but sadly my “old school” male music teacher denied me because he believed girls did not play drums, therefore I was assigned a clarinet. I studied clarinet for the rest of my school career right up to Grade 12, where I was an “A” student. This was only the beginning to my lifetime love and creation of music.
Tell me about Beautiful Unknown – what does this album represent, and what do you hope listeners take away from it?
Beautiful Unknown was written because I wanted to write a love album. Throughout my life I have experienced such varied degrees of it, and my deep thoughts and feelings needed a place to go, so I used this album for a place I could have an expression of those moments, thus Beautiful Unknown was born.
The themes and ideas surrounding this album are all very personal to me and I hope whoever listens can leave feeling validated in their own feelings of heartbreak, disappointment, excitement, betrayal, and mostly hope in pure love’s existence.
What was the process like creating two separate albums this year – how do they differ, and was this intentional or just the result of habitual songwriting?
Freedom Fly was my healing album I created in 2021-2022, and was finally released in February of 2023. This album was my healing album from my challenging childhood, and my journey to full recovery from a high anxiety condition through an Anxiety Recovery Program based in the UK and run by Charles Linden.
The pandemic was a difficult time for so many, and as for me, it was the beginning to my mental wellness and full recovery after I had a severe breakdown of CPTSD. I do not mind sharing these intimate moments of my life with the world, as I know many can relate to my story. And I want to spread hope, kindness and the knowledge that you can fully recover, as I did. I dedicate my album Freedom Fly to all high anxiety sufferers, to know that you are not alone. All my music that I create is very intentional, coming from my experiences and soul in intention to move, help, and heal others.
What’s your musical background like, and what has been the best experience for you in perfecting your craft?
You had asked about my musical background, and the best experience in perfecting my craft. My answer has to be that I have always been involved in music in some way, even when I wasn’t writing my own album! I sang in a church choir for a while, performed on stage in town musicals, was head of hair and makeup design for all plays/shows over a 17-year span during those plays, as well as managed a musical festival running during summer months in my hometown square.
I have always felt the most comfortable around other artists and have always done my best to support musicians during that 16-year volunteer position every summer. My relationships with all the bands and solo artists that played in that venue are precious to me, and were one of the best ways to develop one’s musical identity. I always knew inside me that I wanted to create and publish songs, as my style and musical expression was bursting to get out! I am so grateful for the people who inspire me and are such great cheer leaders when I feel like I can’t. To those people, I send you a mention and a heartfelt thank you.
Given your early difficulties as a creative – what advice could you give to aspiring artists who are facing discouragement?
My advice to any artists out there that are facing self-doubt and discouragement is to find your tribe of people who love you and believe in you and surround yourself with them. Know and trust that you are an artist, for real. You are enough, and you can. Believe in yourself and ignore those people and voices in your own head that say otherwise. Express yourself and be true in your art.
You’ve quoted Yoda in relation to inspiration – ‘Do or do not, there is no try’ – Does this influential mindset feed into your lyrics or the intended effect of your music, or do you just let creativity guide the way?
Growing up at a time when Star Wars was just entering our culture, the movies were a huge comfort to me, filled with love, friendship, and wise mentorship. I just fell in love with the character, Yoda. He is my favorite to this day along with my fandom of the series. His quote “do or do not, there is no try” was a moment of clarity for me within my early life. I realized the action of the attitude of “trying” something is an action with the intention of possible failure by means of not fully engaging. Almost like a self-sabotage mindset!
We are all blessed with free will to either choose to do something, or not. I want to live with the full effort when I choose to do something and feel pride knowing I’ve done my best. In all my endeavors, including my creativity, I strive for doing with full intention.
Which song from the new album would you recommend for new listeners first, and why?
You are asking me to pick a favorite of the album. This is an impossible task for me as each and every song represents a part of my heart. My only hope is that people can receive my songs in the intent they were written and leave carrying something special in their hearts. That is all I could ever want as an artist.
What do you have planned for 2024?
2024 will bring more music, with the grace of the universe. I am currently expanding my knowledge of sound and learning new current music production platforms and tools. I hope to expand my skillset even further so my song writing can evolve further. I hope that I will be able to offer more live performance soon and share in my style of musical expression.
Thank you once again for your interest in my album, and I wish everyone at your magazine a blessed winter season!