While waiting to chat with the precocious seventeen-year-old pop star, I couldn’t help but marvel at the never-ending line of teenagers at day three of this year’s Summer Playland Festival in Vancouver, BC, eager to get just a glimpse of their local idol, Victoria Duffield.
A line of fans stretched further and further into the park as it became clear that Duffield was not only meeting her fans, by patiently taking the time to ensure that all their questions, autographs and photo requests were answered, signed and snapped. After each and every fan was attended to, Duffield jumped right into interviews with the local press, seemingly more energetic and personable than I thought possible. Surely, she was made for this!
What runs through your head right after a performance especially with the adrenaline still pumping?
Right after a performance I just have this rush of excitement. I never want to get off the stage. I always want the set to go even longer…I always ask my mom after each show, “Mom, how was it”? She’ll let me know if I’m a bit off here or there. After that, I absolutely love meeting my fans. That’s such a huge part of it and it’s an excitement for me to feel their excitement after a show. That’s really special.
Your first single, “Shut Up And Dance” is one of the most infectious songs on the radio. What was the process of getting the beat, groove and lyrics right so that you were completely happy with the finished product?
For that song I co-wrote it with a writer here in Vancouver, Ryan Stewart and he actually had had the idea for the song six months earlier. When I came to work with him for the first time, he showed me the idea and I fell in love with it. I wanted to develop the idea. We worked on it together and I know it’s hard getting that exact mix, but the formula was right for that song because it definitely caught on fast.
Your newest single is “Break My Heart”. What inspired that and why do you think it’s so easy for people to identify with heartbreak-related music?
It’s a topic that a lot of people have obviously experienced or have a friend that experienced it. It’s actually a story that I angled a lot from one of my good friends, her relationship experience and she actually doesn’t know that [laughs]. I think it’s something a lot of people can connect to.
Having done TV and music, how does one compare to the other?
It’s two totally different things because you can feed off your audience when you’re on stage and the camera, you gotta get through the camera so that people can feel it on the other side. It’s interesting though how much they go together and how much experience in one helps with the other. With singing I’m constantly doing interviews on camera or different appearances on television shows. Just having that confidence, I’m really lucky I have experience in both because everyday I’m amazed like, “Thank goodness I act” and “Thank goodness that I sing too” because it all goes together so well.
This fall you’re headed out of tour with Cody Simpson and Big Time Rush. What goes into the preparation before hitting the road?
Many, many hours…I just had four days of rehearsals with my dancers out in Toronto. One of [the rehearsals] went until 2:30 in the morning. So learning new choreography, getting ready, and then we’ll have a bunch of rehearsals in August to get ready for the tour. Many, many hours in the dance studio, but I could not be more excited. I’ve been so excited to go on my first tour so it’ll definitely be a memorable experience for me.
Many artist catch the acting or singing bug by being exposed to TV, film and dance at a young age. Was that the case for you?
I started dancing when I was 2 and then started acting and singing, I mean I’d been singing all my life, but really competing with singing and dance competitions when I was 7, acting when I was 7. It started out with dance and then wanting to do more, I realized I wanted to use my dance with my singing. It just all evolved together.
Who are some of your major influences?
Growing up definitely Britney Spears, she was a huge influence for me. Just her undeniable star quality and her dancing and singing she puts together is a full out entertaining show. I definitely look up to her, Justin Timberlake, Michael Jackson, Janet Jackson – just those people that bring that extra performance quality in the dance aspect, I really look up to.
What are your thoughts on being labeled a pop star?
It’s very exciting. It’s so cool to be referred to as a pop star. I work so hard at this so to get titles like that, it’s exciting.
A major theme in all your music videos is dance. Was that a requirement when sitting down to write treatments?
Very much so. Definitely for my first video [Shut Up And Dance], not only is the word “dance” in the title, but I wanted to show people right off to bat who I am as an artist and what I’m about that differentiates myself from other people. With “Shut Up And Dance”, “Feel” and “Break My Heart”, I feel each time I stepped it up either with more dancers, more parts with choreography. I’m so lucky to be working with choreographer Luther Brown who is absolutely brilliant. I could not be more thankful to be able to work with him on all these videos.
Gaining so much support from Canadian outlets like SOCAN, MuchMusic, The Next Star obviously and more, from your experience, how has Canadian platforms help foster and develop you as an artist?
I’ve been so lucky. Everyone’s taken me in, SOCAN and everybody has taken me in as an artist so fast and for being so young, I appreciate them taking everything so seriously. I’m an artist that’s hungry. I want to perform and I want to get music out there. I’ve had incredible support from Canada so I’m so proud to be Canadian and so glad they know this is the first country to want to spend music with and get so much incredible support from.
You’re known for having an incredible work ethic. How do you remain so focused on grounded?
I’ve wanted this for so long and just being introduced to the industry more, it’s not an easy industry to do it, but it’s my passion. I just have this inner passion for it that keeps me going everyday and keeps me working hard. And knowing my goal, getting out there, becoming known internationally, touring everywhere, getting lots of albums out there – that, driving for that, is worth every single day of work.