“Pieces” is a new song by Avery Raquel, a teenaged Canadian singer-songwriter. She specializes in contemporary soul but is finding pop music success on the electronic dance music charts. Earlier this month, the DJ StoneBridge remix of “Pieces” landed at #30 on the Billboard Club chart!
Avery may be new to mainstream pop audiences, but she has been performing on television and the musical theatre stage since she was a young child. Now 18, and wise beyond her years, much of her musical inspiration derives from the joys and tragedies of romantic relationships.
Avery recently discussed her career and more via an exclusive interview.
Meagan Meehan (MM): You started out in television, so how did you get into show business when you were only seven?
Avery Raquel (AR): My first notable work was a walk-on role in the pilot episode of a television series by Steven Spielberg. I continued acting for commercials, radio, and even a Disney animated television series, voicing one of the lead characters. Of course, I was singing all the time, and I eventually took my acting and singing to the stage as Jane Banks in the first Canadian production of Mary Poppins. I love musical theatre and was able to reprise my role in two other Canadian productions, as well as perform in other musicals.
MM: How did you discover your love for singing and why did you initially focus on soul music?
AR: I started singing when I was 4 after watching a stage musical. I fell in love with the art, even from that early age. My parents put me in singing lessons and I was told I had nearly perfect pitch. From that point on I don’t think I could live without singing, as it has been such a massive part of my life. I was always told that I had a very soulful tone to my voice. People would tell me I was an old soul, or I was channeling some of the great RnB/Soul artists from the past. From Jazz to Blues to RnB/Soul, I was drawn to the various styles. I was inspired when I would listen to soul artists from the 60’s and 70’s, and now, my inspiration for songwriting and vocal inspiration, comes from that same soulful place. My last album is reminiscent of the old Stax or Motown recordings. It is the realest form of music in my mind, and I would really love to bring it back to younger audiences.
MM: What prompted you to write “Pieces”?
AR: I song write based on personal experiences. The entire My Heart Away album is the evolution of a relationship, from first glance to breakup. ‘Pieces’ was written at a time in my life when I was going through the break up stage, and emotions were running deep. The main message of the song is that sometimes the pieces aren’t meant to fit. Two people, though maybe still in love, may not be right for each other, and the realization of that is okay. Even though the situation may be sad, I feel the message of the song is uplifting. I also think a lot people can relate to it.
MM: How did you end up working with StoneBridge?
AR: My producer, Greg (Kavanagh), had the initial idea about doing a club remix. I like to think I’m open to trying new things, but at the time, I don’t think I was ready to hear my music presented so differently. Cut to today, after noticing a lot of mainstream artists creating remixes to further build their fan base and expose their music to a wider audience, I thought why not? Now’s the time. I am very happy with how all the mixes turned out and how well they’re doing with DJ’s, both in clubs and on radio. Of course, charting on Billboard has been exciting too.
MM: How different is the remix from the original?
AR: The original version has that old-school 70s sound to it, with a 7-piece band, horns and all-natural instruments, so I honestly didn’t know what to expect from these remixes. I was also not aware of all the different styles of EDM music, so we ended up with a lot of very different versions of the song. I really enjoy how most of the versions stayed true to the tune, yet they were able to make it their own. The StoneBridge mix uses a lot of the original elements, like the horns, yet is still so vastly different than the original. The use of electronic instruments certainly modernizes the vibe of the tune quite a bit.
MM: Have you heard the song played in a club?
AR: I know that the song is being played in clubs all around the world because we have received incredible feedback from DJ’s. I’ve even been asked to perform at a club Palm Springs! I am actually not old enough to go into most clubs yet, but I turn 19 in August, so I may be able to hear it then!