Raised in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada in a musical family, Erica has always had a passion for music. Since begging her parents to let her take voice lessons at age 11, she has grabbed at every opportunity to be on stage, whether it was singing in a school...
Raised in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada in a musical family, Erica has always had a passion for music. Since begging her parents to let her take voice lessons at age 11, she has grabbed at every opportunity to be on stage, whether it was singing in a school play or performing the national anthem at an assembly. For more than 10 years, she has been singing at festivals and talent competitions all over Western Canada, including the Alberta Tattoo at Rexall Place, Calgary Stampede, Big Valley Jamboree, and Canadian Search for Miss Universe. In 2003 and 2004, Erica represented the City of Edmonton as Klondike Katie during the Edmonton Klondike Days (now Capital Ex), performing 50 times during the 10-day festival.
Working towards unveiling more of herself through music, Erica recently recorded her first EP, Where My Heart Goes - a collection of original songs that share snapshots of experiences from her past and present. Her powerful voice conveys emotions that many of her listeners can relate to – the humbling of gratitude, the contentment of love, and the fear of abandonment. A portion of the proceeds from the album will go towards One International Poverty Relief, a school for street children in Mumbai, India where Erica volunteered and was inspired to write the last song “Thank You.” The album has been featured on CBC Radio and community and college stations across Canada.
Performing with her piano and guitar at coffee shops, tea houses, churches, living rooms, open stages, parks, and festivals, Erica continues to enjoy the connection that comes from sharing her own music.
Sounds like: A folkish pop-y pianolike guitarish mix...straight from the heart.
"Park Native Releasing her First Album" by Catherine Griwkowski, Sherwood Park News, February 16 2010 Erica Viegas was driven to play music from the beginning.When she would see a performer, she would go up and ask how the singer got the gig. Sometimes at a mall gig she got to sing with a...
"Good Girls With Guitars" by Sandra Sperounes, The Edmonton Journal, March 4 2010 Girls didn't just own the podium at the Olympics.They're also staking their claim to the stages in and around Edmonton, thanks to an influx of up 'n' coming girls with guitars such as Erica Viegas,...
"Park Native Releasing her First Album" by Catherine Griwkowski, Sherwood Park News, February 16 2010 Erica Viegas was driven to play music from the beginning.
When she would see a performer, she would go up and ask how the singer got the gig. Sometimes at a mall gig she got to sing with a backtrack.
Three years ago, she started playing her own "folky-pop" songs with her own instruments and discovered songwriting through open stages in Edmonton.
I draw inspiration from things that really touch my heart," she said.
Her singing and songwriting goes back further.
Viegas has been singing since she was 10 years old — against the advice of many of her teachers and her parents.
I begged my parents to let me take singing lessons," she said. "I had taken piano before, and not really stuck with it. In Sherwood Park, a lot of the teachers would only take you after you were 11 because your voice has to be at a certain maturity.
Finally, she found a classical vocal teacher who would take her. Viegas loved country music and yodeled "I wanna be a cowboy's sweetheart" at her audition.
She said, 'you have a good voice, but that's not what we'll be learning'," Viegas said.
She said she learned a lot of great techniques through her classical training, but her heart was set on pop music.
Her songwriting began early too.
When I was younger, I remember writing really ridiculous songs," she said. "More seriously, about five years ago.
An experience as Klondike Katie led to her first album. Viegas said she was interviewed by the Sherwood Park News in 2003 about the gig.
Viegas looked back at past articles in the News that said she was planning to release an album the year the story was written.
It took a little bit longer than I thought," she said.
Last year, she found a producer. In addition to the length of time it took for her to release Where My Heart Goes, Viegas was scared about how people would receive it.
You're writing about something that's vulnerable to you," she said. "After doing covers for so long, it's like this other layer you're showing off to people about yourself.
Viegas said the best part about doing music is sharing stories close to her.
Someone told me the other day they were going through a really tough time and they had the CD and it helped them ease through it," Viegas said.
You put so much of your self into it, to have people take something out of that too is great.
Part of the proceeds for her album are going towards One! International.
Viegas volunteered with the organization in India and got to work with children in Mumbai, where her parents grew up.
I got to take kids to the same playground my mom played in when she was little, so it was kind of a full circle," she said.
I got to teach them nursery rhymes that my mom had taught to me.
She is a former Sherwood Park resident and Archbishop Jordan graduate.
Her album is available at CD Plus in the Sherwood Park Mall and through her website at www.ericaviegas.com.
Veigas will be opening for Jeff Morris at Festival Place on March 4 at 7 p.m. On March 5, she will play a sold-out CD release party at the Blue Chair Café.
"Good Girls With Guitars" by Sandra Sperounes, The Edmonton Journal, March 4 2010 Girls didn't just own the podium at the Olympics.
They're also staking their claim to the stages in and around Edmonton, thanks to an influx of up 'n' coming girls with guitars such as Erica Viegas, Ariane Mahryke Lemire and Manuela Wuthrich.
All three are overachievers with global visions. They speak at least two languages. They like to travel. They take charge of their own careers, and in some cases, devote their time and talent to humanitarian efforts.
I think people who write music are generally inquisitive and you get a lot of inspiration from watching people -- and what better way to watch people than to explore the world?" says Viegas, who works as a fundraiser for the faculty of dentistry at the University of Alberta.
As luck would have it, all three musicians are promoting new albums -- joyful, poppy efforts showcasing their worldly, soulful vocals. Here's a quick introduction to three local indie songstresses:
This 25-year-old is the poster girl for multiculturalism.
Her parents hail from Goa, India. As a child, she was smitten with country star Suzy Boguss. "I'd even dress up and pretend to be her," she laughs. As a teen, Viegas was the last Klondike Kate, singing old-time ditties at more than 100 shows during the final two editions of Klondike Days.
The Sherwood Park native then earned a bachelor's degree in French and commerce from the University of Alberta.
Latest album: Her first EP, Where My Heart Goes, is a five-song collection of folk-pop featuring flourishes of banjo, violin and her younger brother Wayne's guitar. "I like to translate what's in my heart and make it relatable," she says. "I love music. I really love life. I'm pretty positive; I like to think all things are possible. I have a really optimistic view of the world and I like to think it translates into my music.
Bubble girl: Nothing could stop Viegas from singing as a child -- not even taunts from her classmates. "When I was a little kid, I was in my own bubble. I sang a song where I yodelled in front of the school. When you're in Grade 3, that's not very cool. Everyone laughed at me.
One love: Thank You, one of the songs on her EP, was inspired by a stint in Mumbai, where she taught English and music to children at a school run by Sherwood Park native Tania Spilchen's non-profit group, One! International Poverty Relief. Proceeds from Where My Heart Goes will be donated to the organization.
I lived across the street from the hospital where my dad was born," says Viegas. "It was really neat for me to experience. You feel such an immediate impact with the things that you're doing. When I came back, I thought, 'Do I really matter? Does anyone need me?'
Twitter power: Viegas credits the social media site with getting her gigs, including a slot on CityTV's Breakfast Television and at a local fundraiser for survivors of Haiti's earthquake.
Next up: Viegas will open for Jeff Morris, who will release his debut, Original Songs on a Borrowed Guitar, tonight at Festival Place in Sherwood Park. She'll then celebrate the release of her EP on Friday at Blue Chair Cafe. The show is sold out.
Read more: http://www.edmontonjournal.com/entertainment/Good+girls+with+guitars/2640241/story.html#ixzz0pow4SvNk
CD Review by Kindah Mardam Bey, Press +1 Canadian Entertainment Magazine, March 6 2010 Edmonton has something special in the drinking water. Listen to a songbird like Ann Vriend, or the newest songstress out of the city, Erica Viegas. Viegas' first EP, Where My Heart Goes, is a five-song collection of laid-back, guitar-driven folk songs remeniscent of Chantal Kreviazuk.
Viegas is a self-proclaimed “romantic soul”, baring all on this EP. The songs are heartfelt and open, showcasing a straightforward honesty and depth. Viegas lays her heart out in her performances and asks the audience to be gentle with what they find. In the end, it is a priviledge to hear her endearing voice.
“Back To Me” is perhaps the best song matched to Viegas’ vocals. The song sounds comes off like Kreviazuk with a hint of Tori Amos. Where My Heart Goes is a relaxed and smooth album that you can slip on and not feel overwhelmed by the music, but not relegate to background noise either. Viegas' album is deliberately subtle and has a peacefulness about it that welcomes her audience in.
A portion of every album will fund the One! International Poverty Relief in building a street for school children in Mumbai. Viegas was inspired to support this cause after a trip to India and the last track on her album “Thank You” pertains to that experience.