Woman at Work: Victoria Reed
photo credit: Tonje Thilesen
Social Distance Soul Searching
Just days after Victoria Reed announced a series of dates in support of her sundrenched sophomore effort Aquamadre, the entire tour—like most of the live-music world’s collective calendar—was scrapped in its entirety. And while the singersongwriter was admittedly disappointed that her record arrived in the COVID-19 era, she quickly realized that music was actually one of the best cures for the self-isolation blues.
“More and more, I’m realizing that the timing is actually pretty unique and special,” Reed explains, phoning from her newfound home in Mexico City. “People really need music in difficult times. I feel fortunate to be able to provide that.”
Reed moved to the city’s Roma Norte neighborhood in January 2019 with her husband, keyboardist Erik Deutsch, who has clocked in time as a member of Fat Mama, Charlie Hunter Trio, Leftover Salmon and, most recently, The Chicks’ touring band. Recorded before the pandemic put much of the world on pause, Aquamadre’s sweeping pop-fusion was equally inspired by their move out of the U.S. and the enlistment of avant garde stylist Autre Ne Veut.
“He really has this deep appreciation for pop music and pop sensibilities,” Reed says of the producer. “So him bringing that to the table, in combination with the experimental, edgier stuff, really lent itself to the type of record I wanted to make. It’ll be a lifelong goal to make the record I hear in my head, but I knew bringing him onboard would be instrumental in getting me that much closer.”
Alongside Ne Veut and Deutsch, Reed shaped the core of Aquamadre through a “magical” pair of sessions at the couple’s 125-year old Mexico City abode. “Victoria and I are lucky to be here in Mexico,” Deutch adds. “It’s been a wonderful, exciting, invigorating experience.”
A far cry from their one-room Brooklyn loft, Reed and Deutsch’s remote locale added a level of relaxation to the project. “My songwriting is deeply personal, so I always come into it from that place, but opening it up to become a true collaboration was very rewarding,” Reed says. “The three of us didn’t have to do that much searching.” A track like the album-closing “Life 2 Be Adored,” for example, dates back to Reed’s old life in New York, stemming from a “lost record” that never came to fruition. However, the ethereal number was an unknowing precursor to what would eventually emerge as Aquamadre. “So much of what I’m singing about in there is connected to the rest of the record, so I felt really passionate about including it,” she notes.
In terms of her next project, Reed admits that she writes songs “constantly,” and is often randomly struck by the inspiration to put pen to paper. “For me, it’s like I can’t get the songs onto the record fast enough,” she explains. “Which is part of the reason why it feels like such a relief to get this record out.” And as the world remains in a socially distant state, she’s been writing with Deutsch more than ever. “I feel so fortunate to have him to collaborate with in general. It’s so rewarding and so much fun; I wouldn’t change it for anything.” Which begs the question: Is there a Reed-Deutch duo album in the works? “We’re considering it. It’s definitely on the table,” she chuckles.