Freshly graduated from UNC and on her way to UNC's School of Dentistry this fall,Veronica DaVanzo is a triple threat. She can sing, play multiple instruments and has a knack for the sciences.
After finishing her undergraduate studies in the fall of 2017, she decided to use the year she had until dental school began to create her debut album “Solo of a Caged Bird,” which was released July 20.
A Piedmont Triad native, DaVanzo grew up playing the piano. She wrote and produced the 11-song album herself, seeking help only from local musicians to add background instrumentals.
The album has a rock sound with ethereal vocals and captivating melodies. "Solo of a Caged Bird" calls to mind the band Evanescence, a group which is famous for their Gothic symphonies. Staff writer Liza Zhytkova sat down with DaVanzo to ask her about the creative process behind the debut record.
The Daily Tar Heel: When did you realize that you wanted to release an album prior to starting dental school?
Veronica DaVanzo: The writing process started two years ago and while I was in my sophomore year of college actually. When I graduated early, I thought ‘Okay, this is the time to do it.' I had it in my mind that I wanted to get this done, and I’d been writing music. I actually had a lot more material than I was able to put on the album.
DTH: Do you intend on pursuing a musical career after dental school?
VD: Kind of yes and kind of no. I’ll continue to make music and put it out there and promote my stuff, but at the end of the day you also need a job that can pay the bills, so my main goal is to have a stable career and have that foundation. I don’t think I’ll ever stop making music or stop putting it out there publicly.
DTH: Tell me about the backstory to your album. What message do your songs capture?
VD: "Solo of a Caged Bird" is about the things in my life that have made me feel trapped as a person. That can come from the outside, from other people or situations in your life. I felt a little boxed in college to be honest. I didn’t enjoy college like a lot of people do. I felt like it was a big drain on my time. That was what the first song that I put out, ‘Fly’, was about. When all of a sudden, the dam broke and I was finally able to write music, it was this time in my life when I didn’t have time to focus on it.
DTH: And what about the song ‘Love’? It stands out against the other songs on the album. It’s a little bit more theatrical, while the others are slower and moodier.
VD: That is actually the dark song on the album. It’s almost about crazy obsession, when you love somebody so much that you want to eat them up. I wrote the lyrics while I was walking to Genetics recitation one day, so it’s an old song. It’s really dark, but it comes across as this bright, happy, big band song.
DTH: What would you describe your music sound as?
VD: I would say eclectic. I’ve marketed it as rock because there are some songs on the album that are very much rock. There’s a lot of classical influence, a lot of experimentation. I really took all the liberties that I could think of with this one.
DTH: Could you elaborate on the other musicians that were featured on your album?
VD: The electric guitarist was Ray Piyat. He does pharmaceutical research, really smart guy. He went to UNC like ten years ago and I met him at an open mic at Zog’s. We worked really closely on ‘Dreams’, the squealy guitar solos, I love that. Andrew Williamson was the bass player, he’s now at the nursing school, I met him in Granville Towers. And Marianne Gozala, who played the acoustic guitar on ‘Lily,' I met her in a sociology class that we both hated.
DTH: You mentioned that you grew up playing piano. Did you grow up performing and singing as well?
VD: I tried my hand at theater a couple of times, I don’t like it nearly as much. I love being on stage, singing or performing. Theater I wasn’t so into. Although I thought I wanted to be an actor, so it was kind of my gateway into the performing arts.
DaVanzo has two upcoming shows in the area, July 28 at Oasis at Carr Mill and July 29 at Cat’s Cradle.
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