Ann Vriend: Former Secret Agent
"Ann Vriend" is a former spy. She had been working incognito for an undisclosed European agency, posing as a freelance journalist, when she met someone who was also spy—but for the other side. Against all odds, they fell in love—and thus entered an increasingly complicated game of torn loyalties, dangerous, clandestine passion, and treacherous lies.
It is these experiences which inspired "When We Were Spies"; the cinematic new pop album by former agent Ann Vriend.
Upon making the heart wrenching and dangerous decision to defect, Ann Vriend focussed her experiences and emotions on her other her life-long passion: songwriting (perhaps an equally risky profession!). "When We Were Spies" is a stunning collection of moving pop songs; a glorious opposite to Vriend’s faceless and lonely existence as a spy. It is a richly layered, edgy yet tender declaration of bravery and love in a time of confusion and fear. And it is a thematic, cinematic pop masterpiece, produced by Juno nominated producer Douglas Romanow.
Before the album was pressed it had pre-sold 800 copies, and garnered 4 star national Canadian reviews in NOW Magazine and others. A recent review in A n E Magazine gushes:
"Ann Vriend drives me nuts; how can music be this good and she's not plastered on billboards from L.A. to N.Y.?? “Spies” is a complex album full of subtleties wrapped in memorable tunes…. Vriend is an exceptionally talented artist with a strong comprehension of what her voice can do, an ear for orchestration and she plays the piano skillfully. Her voice is serene with a great amount of precision to it, and yet wild at the same time, like unchartered, untamed vocal territory…. In truth Vriend is such an original, her vocals are hard to categorize. Whatever Vriend does after Spies, I would have to say buy it, in fact buy When We Were Spies and also buy Modes Of Transport."
Hovering perfectly between the accessibility of mainstream "pop" and a fresh writing and singing style all her own, ex-spy Vriend has crossed genres such as pop, rock, roots, electronica, cabaret, soul, and even tinges of alt country-- all with grace, humor, and flare. This has allowed her commercial radio hits while seamlessly fitting into the solo soft seat theatre scene and festival circuit, fully embraced and celebrated by Indie and folk music fans as much as listeners of mainstream radio. Her blend of originality with pop sounds is comparable to innovators such as Kate Bush, Regina Spector, Sarah Slean, Royal Wood, and Feist. Her literary style has likened her to Leonard Cohen and Paul Simon, and her honest voice shows hints of Dolly Parton’s clear, high twangy heartbreak, and Aretha Franklin's stunning, exquisite soul.
With years of international performances under her belt Vriend has wowed audiences around the world with her well-known command as a solo performer, while with her accomplished band a fuller sound is unleashed with fervent passion. Her eclectic fan base is testimony to the fact on record and on stage, Vriend talent lies in her ability to encompass the feelings of all who long for freedom, love, and meaning. Writes American music biographer David Ritz, "Once every generation a singer-songwriter emerges with the creative fire to set the music world ablaze. Ann Vriend has the fire."
Expect 2008 to be a year you can’t stop hearing about former agent Ann Vriend.