Edmonton based Ann Vriend (pronounced “Vreend”) was born in Vancouver, BC. When her parents discovered their 3-year-old could play nursery songs on a Fisher Price xylophone, they encouraged her musical development by enrolling her in violin lessons. At age nine, when Vriend sought to accompany herself as a songwriter, she took piano lessons from an elderly woman down the street who charged $5 per visit. In high school, in order to be able to do submit her home-made recordings for a school project, Vriend was coerced into performing 3 of her compositions at the school talent show. Accolades from her fellow students translated into projects with older students in bands, scholarships at music college, 1st place in a songwriting contest which paid for her debut album, interest from major record labels, and praise from critics and loyal fans around the world.
First, the voice: “Soulful, inspiring, brave and bluesy” (Rip It Up, Adelaide) with a “vocal range from vulnerable delicacy to blasts of soulful power” (Halifax Chronicle) Vriend’s vocal sound has been described as an enchanting cross between the girly timbre of Dolly Parton and the blues-filled prowess of Aretha Franklin– and as “almost confronting in its candour” by The Sydney Morning Herald.
Besides this, Vriend’s songs possess a natural knack for melody, garnering her hits on both independent and commercial radio stations — including Gold rotation for her tune “Feelin’ Fine” — and have charted on college and independent stations as far away as Germany and the Netherlands.
As a writer, Vriend has been commissioned to write songs for organizations such as the Canadian Tourism Corporation and the Commonwealth Games, while her music has been featured in a U.S. DVD release of “Party of Five,” a recent foreign film, and an animation series.
But at the core of Vriend’s career are her live shows. Despite being an independent artist she has sold more than 14,000 albums off the stage. As a balance between her intensely performed songs, “Vriend is fantastic in concert – a very, very, funny woman that tends to belt out her songs in between her most entertaining comedic intervals” (A n E Vibe Magazine). Her rapport with her audience can be heard on her live album, “Closer Encounters,” released in 2009. It is this connection that has sustained her career to this point, and she enjoys an avid and committed international fan base.
Stated forcefully by the Toronto Star: “Don’t miss her.”
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