Teenage singer-songwriter Victoria Anthony is a case study on how to capitalize on a viral moment and not have it be just “that cool thing that happened.” In 2018, American pop star P!nk handed her the mic at Rogers Arena to sing “Perfect” in front of 18,000 people, and from that point on it was full steam ahead.

Victoria Anthony, Pink, P!nk

Click on the image to play the video of Victoria Anthony singing to P!nk

“I had this wild dream at 12 years old and I decided to just pursue it. I wanted to sing with P!nk, so I asked her on social media if this was a possibility when she came to Vancouver, and it happened. I couldn’t believe it,” says Anthony, now 17, in her last year of high school. She spoke with SOCAN at 8:00 a.m., before heading off to class.

“To me, it’ll always be that cool thing that happened, but some of it was out of my control,” she says. “There were press outlets that I’d heard about my whole life covering me, like Disney and The Talk. I initially was caught in the whirlwind of it all, just trying to keep myself calm, and enjoy everything that I could.

“Once it did settle, I realized, ‘Okay, now I have 10,000 followers or subscribers; my video is getting millions of views a day. Now I have a platform.’ That’s when I decided to share the music I’ve been writing and playing to my YouTube and Instagram,” she says. “I think that’s a very big reason why I had the opportunity to be heard from again.”

Not even in her teens yet, Anthony – who writes on piano and also plays guitar – had never been in a recording studio at that point. Still, a month after singing on P!nk’s stage, she took her original song, “Without You,” into a session with producer Troy Samson. “We did end up changing the chord progression and a bit of the chorus melody,” she says. “It ended up being a co-write, but it was just so cool – because I never finished a song before.”

Today, Anthony has finished tons of songs, with more than six million audio streams – across Spotify, Apple Music, and Amazon Music — and an equal number of views for her music videos, plus another four million for her other YouTube content.

Her 2020 debut album, Real Life, spawned four singles, “Sleep,” “Gotta Get Up,” the title track, and “Breathe Underwater,” and was followed in 2021-2022 with seven songs – “Should’ve Known,” “Stupid Kid,” “Kinda Into You,” “How Cute”, “Bad For Me”, “Save Me,” and “Dirty Lipstick.”

Her next single, “Another Regret,” comes out Jan. 27, 2023, with a yet-to-be-titled album in late Spring, mostly co-written with Ryan Worsley, her collaborator for the past year-and-a-half. “There’s a whole new direction that will be revealed as I release the next three singles. It’s still pop, but with a little bit of a grunge-inspired rock feel, and more honest lyricism than I’ve done in the past,” Anthony says.

Victoria Anthony, Should've Known

Click on the image to play the Victoria Anthony video “Should’ve Known”

“I’m releasing it purposefully in my senior year, because that to me really represents growing up — every part of it. The kind of, ‘Oh my god, who’s this new guy?’ then ‘Oh my god, everybody hates me,’ all the kinds of things that go through your head when you’re in the transition from childhood to adulthood. Just how new everything is. I’m excited for everyone to listen to this album, because I think no matter what age you are, you know the feeling of leaving something you know for something you don’t.”

In addition to Canadian media, Anthony has been covered by ET Online, MTV, Perez Hilton, Alternative Press, Ones To Watch, Consequence of Sound, Tiger Beat, and more. It’s not just because of the P!nk kick-start, or even her music, but because she’s the creative mind behind all the assets, from the album and singles art, to writing and co-directing her music videos.

“I’m the artist, of course,” she says. “Songwriting is very, very important to me; it all starts with a song. But then it’s, like, ‘Who’s that brand? Who’s singing the song?’ Like, what goes on top of it? The album artwork, videos, in the end, it all has my name on it.

“It’s really important to me to see a song through the finish line, because I’m the only one who really knows what it’s about, and can get into the nuance of the way it would look if you made it into a picture, and if you made it into a video.

“And so, in the end, everything that I release, it has my name on it, and I want it to really be mine, and give as much input and vision that I can into it,” says Anthony. “And what’s even more important to me than that, is that I can really make sure that I get the most out of the story, the most out of the writing, and take it all the way to its full potential.”

Ups and downs of the social media rollercoaster

“In my private life, I don’t really post that much. I actually am not a fan of social media, but it’s a very useful tool, and it’s a really nice opportunity to communicate with people who are interested in your music… that’s the one thing that keeps me going with social media.

“But overall, it’s hard. It’s a lot of vulnerability, sharing stuff that’s personal about you. And the personal stuff is the only thing that does well. It’s like, ‘Well, why do these people need to know about my life, when I’m a singer? Why can I not just focus on my craft?’ But I think the key is just to be as real as you can be, and try and make it work for you…

“I mean, Tik Tok is the only way to have a song be successful these days, and so you have to give it a shot. It doesn’t have to work out every time, because it’s never going to, but just try and do a trend. You can even just put your song out there, and if it speaks to people, it speaks to people.

“Social media is very scary, because, are you about to be absolutely harassed on TikTok? That’s a common experience, and I’ve been through it. But you just have to say, ‘Who cares? This is the one chance for me to make my song successful.’”

Anna ArobasMade to Touch, singer-songwriter Anna Arrobas’ debut album, was one of the hidden treasures of the  musical landscape of Québec in the Fall of 2022. Her delicate voice, her soft and intoxicating tunes, coated with shoegaze guitars, subtly augmented by acoustic tones and studied orchestration, make it a small gem of ethereal pop. Yet the artist herself envisioned her album as “minimalist folk with country influences”!

“While I was collaborating with Pierre [Guérineau], Jesse [Osbourne-Lanthier] and Asaël [Richard-Robitaille], the album became this grandiose and cinematic thing that was radically different from what I imagined,” says Arrobas.

But before we dive into the music, let’s take a moment to study the project’s mysterious cover art. Anna poses, looking exhausted and downcast, while her face is smeared, and wounds are visible on her hands, which rest on the handle of what appears to be a shovel. She’s in the middle of a forest, dressed in what looks like vestments from a bygone era. One can imagine the scene as follows: December 1837, the day after the battle of Saint-Eustache, a defeated patriot buries her dead.

“I love how you read it!” exclaims Arrobas. “I’m really fascinated by this kind of universe. I like to imagine myself travelling in time to worlds like that” – which also evoke the gothic, supernatural decor of Tim Burton’s Sleepy Hollow (1999). “I did want to create something ambiguous, that would prompt people to wonder during what era the picture was taken.”

Arrobas is, first and foremost, a professional photographer, explaining the attention and care she devoted to the cover art – and if you flip the vinyl version of said sleeve, what you’ll see on the back cover is a hole in the ground. “I really like to work with images that have a cinematic dimension, and tell a story, because there’s a lot of storytelling in my lyrics,” she says. “I wanted to describe a scene where even if you don’t quite understand what’s going on, you get the pain and the severity of the moment.”

Arrobas has been writing songs since the age of 16, encouraged by her dad Jérémie, who was the keyboardist in the first incarnation of famous synth-pop band Men Without Hats. “When I’m composing, I can’t say specifically what the story or the subject of a song will be until I start writing,” says Arrobas. “It’s while I’m writing that I understand what story it’s telling, it’s internal logic, and what I experienced that inspired it. In the end, it always relates to something I’ve lived.

Anna Arrobas, Farther West

Click on the image to play the Anna Arrobas video “Farther West”

“I’m someone who ruminates a lot about my life and all the little decisions I’ve made,” she continues. “I accept it all, but yeah, I analyze everything that happens in my life a lot. [On Made to Touch] I talk a lot about loss, and thinking about my past, and how everything could have been different, and how I want to just bury and forget everything. I talk a lot about love, heartbreak, losing someone – even thinking about losing a lover before he’s actually left you. Take “Farther West,” for example: the song is told from the point of view of a woman whose husband has gone off to war knowing he won’t return.”

In 2019, Arrobas released a debut EP, mixed by Pierre Guérineau (Feu St-Antoine, Essaie Pas) and mastered by Jesse Osbourne-Lanthier. During the summer of 2020, the pair of musicians and producers founded the record company Éditions Appærent, a formidable pool of avant-garde musical talent that Arrobas joined while working on her debut — which was extensively fine-tuned during the pandemic, with the contribution of another partner of the label, Asaël Richard-Robitaille. Like Guérineau, they’re also a member of Marie Davidson’s band, and l’Oeil Nu.

“They’re truly talented musicians and producers,” says Arrobas. “I’m lucky I got to collaborate with them. I didn’t know them that well when we met. We talked about the music we love – we all adore Cocteau Twins, Prefab Sprout, The Jesus and Mary Chain, stuff we discovered in our youth.” The specific influence of Cocteau Twins, and the more general influence of the heyday of their label, 4AD, in the ’80s, can clearly be heard on Made to Touch.

“We mostly share interest in a wide variety of music and it was clear, while we were making the album, that we didn’t want to get pigeonholed in one style,” says Arrobas. That explains why the album also explores ambient music (particularly on “Careworn Seal”), adding a lot of texture and atmosphere to the whole thing; in fact, one of Jesse Osborne-Lanthier’s specialties is the attention to such sonic detail.

“We also found out we all love playing videogames!” says Arrobas. “We’re all fans of original videogame music, and the first time I met Jesse wasn’t even in person. We were online playing Animal Crossing!”

If you’re a music-maker, at some point in your process, you may want to use other peoples’ music – whether via sampling, recording a cover version, or in academic study, for example. In all cases, there’s a legal way to do that while respecting the copyright of, and ensuring fair compensation for, the original songwriter, or composer, and music publisher. Usually, it’s a matter of obtaining permission first.

If you’re sampling a song, then both the copyright owner(s) of the recording of the song, and the copyright owner(s) of the song itself, must grant permission. So, for example, if you wanted to sample the  solo from Blue Rodeo’s “Hasn’t Hit Me Yet,” you’d have to get permission for use of the recording from Warner Music Canada, and for the use of the song from its co-writers, Jim Cuddy and Greg Keelor, and/or its publisher, Thunder Hawk Music.

Although in most cases when a music publisher is involved, they’ve been granted, by contract, the right to negotiate payment and provide permission on behalf of the songwriters or composers that they represent. If that’s the case with Cuddy and Keelor, then you’d obtain permission for all three rights holders in the song from Thunder Hawk Music.

Recording a Cover Version
If you wish to record a cover version of an original copyright-protected song, you have to get permission from the copyright holders of the song, but not the rights holders for the original recording of it. If, say, you want to re-arrange “Hasn’t Hit Me Yet” – and possibly change where the solo of the song comes in, or add a verse – you’d have to get permission from the writers, Cuddy and Keelor, possibly via their publisher, Thunder Hawk Music, and from Thunder Hawk itself. The same is true if you want to record a cover version of the song.

Reproducing a Cover Version
Anyone wishing to copy their version of a copyright-protected song – on a pressing of 500 vinyl records, for instance, or an audio streaming service – must first seek the permission of the copyright owner(s) by obtaining a “mechanical” or reproduction rights license. For the same example of “Hasn’t Hit Me Yet,” you’d once again have to obtain permission for the song only, from its co-writers, possibly via their publisher, and from the publisher itself.

Third-Party Services
In all of the above cases, there are third-party services that can license songs on your behalf, for you to cover; but ultimately, permission must always be obtained from the copyright owners in the end – whether you yourself obtain it, or a third-party company obtains it for you. And you should always check thoroughly to ensure that any such company is operating legally and legitimately before engaging with them.

Fair Dealing
The Canadian term “fair dealing” is similar but not exactly the same as the American term “fair use.” In Canada, it means that copyright isn’t infringed when a part of a work is used for private study, research, education, parody, satire, criticism, review, or news reporting. Fair dealing is a case-by-case assessment, based on factors set out by the Canadian courts. So, for example, if you’re presenting a private seminar about songwriting, it’s possible that you could play “Hasn’t Hit Me Yet” to illustrate or teach certain techniques – say, how to craft a great chorus – without having to obtain permission first.

Public Domain
In Canada, a song or composition enters the public domain 70 years after the year of the death of the last surviving writer, composer, lyricist, or author of the work. No fees are typically due if the song or composition in a performance are public domain. So, 70 years after the last surviving composer of “Hasn’t Hit Me Yet” passes away – whether Jim Cuddy or Greg Keelor – the song will be in the public domain, and can then be recorded without any permission required.

For answers to other frequently asked questions about copyright, and how SOCAN works, have a look at our FAQs.