We had the good fortune of connecting with VIA and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi VIA, how do you think about risk?
The best advice I have to someone looking to embark on any type of creative journey lies around taking risks. Expressing yourself and your art can have a lot of fear behind it, but I have found that taking that risk is 100% the best thing you can do to guarantee your own growth. My music career started in an odd way but was the direct result of taking a risk. I started freestyling at parties with my friends and people started telling me I was pretty good at it. I did it for fun while I was finishing film school, but it was never my main focus. I didn’t have any producers yet or even have any beats that I owned. One night I was in an Uber, and the driver and I were chatting about music and our favorite artists. I mentioned that I liked to rap, and he chuckled and told me to spit something right then and there. I almost said no, but then I thought to myself, you know what, I’ll never see him again, what’s the harm? So I rapped something I had written recently, and there was this moment after I finished. I was so embarrassed, I thought he thought it was bad, but he actually loved it. He then revealed to me that he was a promoter and was going to book me a show. I had never rapped for more than a few friends, so I was unsure of what to do. As I said before, I didn’t even have any beats that I owned, and I had never even recorded anything! I texted some incredibly talented producer friends of mine, and they sent me over some beats I could use for the show. I practiced over and over and eventually, the day of the show came. There were way more people there than I expected, so I was terribly nervous. The feeling in my stomach is something I will never forget. I got up on stage and started performing, and only a few lines in, the DJ cut the music. I was shocked, was I that bad? Turns out he stopped it because I was better than he thought I was going to be and was so surprised he had to take a second. I eventually got on with the performance and it went well! I am so grateful that I just went for it. Especially considering many of my future shows were booked through people who saw me perform at that first show. I ended up performing pretty regularly for the next year! During covid, I have been writing, recording, and doing virtual performances. I am so grateful to still have a way to share music with others in this crazy time. Now, rapping and music are the things that make me happiest, and the fact that it started from taking a crazy leap is mind-blowing to me. Taking risks is the only way you can truly become an artist, and I’m learning this more and more every day. The fear is still there, but if you wait for the fear to go away you’ll be waiting forever. I was petrified before getting up on stage that day, but I am proud to say that it was truly worth it.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
My goal as an artist is to remain as authentic as possible and to represent what my name VIA stands for, “vulnerably inspired artist”. I have a lot of fear around creating and showing people my inner thoughts in the forms of my songs, but letting go and allowing myself to be vulnerable is something I am most proud of. Additionally, it has been an incredibly healing and significant learning experience. It was not easy to get to this point, and I still have fear often, but the more leaps I take the easier it becomes. It has been hard to be taken seriously as an artist but the more people see who I am and what I am about, the more respect I have gotten from other artists, which has opened up more collaborative opportunities. I also use my platform to make music about anxiety, inner doubts, and standing back up at the end of it all. I am particularly proud of a special moment I had at one of my shows. I have this song called “Red” which I call my “diss-track on anxiety,” and after my performance, someone came up to me and thanked me for that song because she said it helped me make sense of her anxiety and feel less alone. That really meant a lot to me, to feel like I helped someone with something I struggle with. We are all so connected by our emotions and I think that is one of the most significant things music can bring. So if I can do that for at least one person, that is something I can definitely take pride in. I know there is still a long journey ahead, but I am grateful for where I have gone and where I am continuing to go.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
My go-to spots in LA are Tatsu Ramen, (vegan hippy ramen, of course), Monty’s Good Burger, and there is the cutest coffee spot called Bourgeois Pig that I am obsessed with. I love hiking and going to places like Griffith Observatory and the Wisdom Tree Trail as well.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I am immensely grateful for the support I have had in my music career so far. I’ll start by shouting out JayDZA, an incredible producer who made the beat for my latest single “AMAZING,” and has been there when I have been experiencing doubts or insecurity about what I am creating. He has made most of the beats that will be on my upcoming EP as well, so stay tuned for that! My latest music video for my single “Rocketship,” was shot by an LA-based filmmaker Jeremy Patsy who was not only a joy to work with but was committed to creating a socially-distanced production, all while bringing my vision to life! You can watch the full video on my IGTV on my Instagram @helloiamvia. In the video, I am wearing a shirt from my favorite artist, Evan Kasle, who creates incredible mind-bending paintings and sculptures that you can check out on www.entertheframe.com. There’s also an amazing up-and-coming artist, Melody Goldin who has been engineering my latest projects! She not only has an amazing voice herself (check out her new single “Virtues” on all platforms) but she has an incredible ear and overall knowledge of music, so she has definitely become a go-to collaborator of mine! Additionally, I work with an immensely talented filmmaker and designer, Elena Gonzalez Santulli, who not only has captured great footage and photos of my past performances but recently did an incredible job redesigning my logo and overall brand as an artist. She has been there for me since the birth of VIA, and even was at that very first show! Lastly, I have the most supportive Mom and siblings, Ricky and Sarah, who have always had my back and pushed me to believe in myself. I truly believe I wouldn’t be anywhere without the love, support, and confidence I am so lucky to receive from my friends and family, and I am so grateful to be able to shoutout those who have been a part of this journey.
Elena Gonzalez Santulli, Jeremy Patsy, Keegan O’Donnell, Danielle Oliveri