Vulnerable, candid, and comforting Victoria Bigelow’s fourth EP ponders human connection and personal growth. Following her 2021 EP Waves, the Phoenix-based folk-pop artist returned with the first installment to a long-term EP, Songs For No One Vol. 1, released August 25 via Immortal Records. Overflowing with warm guitar tones and heavenly vocals, Bigelow's fourth EP is nothing short of soothingly beautiful.
Songs For No One Vol. 1 is an incredibly personal project featuring nostalgic rhythms, velvety melodies, and candid lyricism that makes you feel like you're reading her diary. The EP tells tales of societal pressures to grow and reckless love. Songs For No One Vol. 1 takes listeners through an emotional and sonic journey as Bigelow explores inner and external turmoil perfectly.
Following the EP’s release, Bigelow covered a long-time favorite song of hers, “Fade Into You” by Mazzy Star. The transcendent and achingly vulnerable cover, set to release Nov. 16, produced alongside her husband, Devan Skaggs, was serendipitously romantic and cathartic. Intersect Magazine caught up with Victoria to discuss pursuing your dreams, partnership, and AI in the music industry.
Hi, Victoria. How’re you doing?
Good. How are you doing?
I’m Alright. So how has it been post EP release craziness?
It's been really, really great. I'm grateful that I haven't had very much time to just sit in it, it's pretty much immediately into what's next and releasing new stuff. So I've really enjoyed that. It’s right back into creative mode so that's been really nice.
In terms of those new projects you have a cover of Mazzy Star’s “Fade Into You” coming out soon. How was that shift between your original music to transforming a cover into your own?
The cover was not very intentional, one of my label guys was having a conversation with this curator that we're friends with, and he was like, ‘it'd be great if she did a cover.’ And my label guy was like, ‘I think “Fade Into You” would be lovely!” And I am a huge, huge Mazzy Star fan. I love Hope Sandoval, I love all her solo stuff. She's a huge influence on me and my work and I had never really thought to cover them because I felt like that influence is so obvious for me that I didn't want to play into that too much. But it ended up being so fun. And I feel like I was able to actually express myself a lot [considering] it being a cover. It was really exciting and it ended up being a very pleasant surprise to add on to all of these other things that I'm in the middle of doing.
I got to listen to it and it's such a beautiful rendition of the song. So I'm wondering why that song and like, why your cover of it?
I'm so heavily influenced by Mazzy, I love Hope. I think “Fade Into You” is one of the most perfect, simple, iconic, classic songs. It's also the 30th anniversary of that record, so it felt very serendipitous. I'm always looking to Mazzy for cues in my music, but now more than ever, a lot of this upcoming project is very heavily influenced by Mazzy Star.
I read that you produced this track with your husband, how was that experience? Especially collaborating with a partner, it’s such an intimate experience.
It’s something that we began doing years ago. We’ve done a couple EP's, him and I out of our home studio. Honestly, based out of pure necessity, because it's expensive out here! It's really so hard to be a musician, I don't know how anybody does it. *laughs* It just worked. I sing, I write, I play a few instruments and he can bring my songs to life in a way that I obviously can't. I co-produce, but I've tried my hand at producing myself and it's just not my bag. Our work life and our creative life and our personal life are so deeply enmeshed at this point, that it’s an extension of our relationship now. We live in Phoenix, Arizona so we are on our own trip out here. Just just making music.
That's super awesome! Especially with a song like “Fade Into You” it is such a romantic song. I can imagine that must have been a very intimate and sweet experience.
You know, it was funny I mentioned that while we were recording. My husband and I are not a band, I’m a solo artist but the similarities of Mazzy Star being the two of them. It’s something that just swirls around them and it’s become like that in this house. So I think we got a little a little sentimental when we were recording it, like ‘how cool! We are such big fans and now we've found ourselves in a semi similar situation.’ We are partners. Down to everything we do.
That's so special and so heartwarming. Circling back to your musical genesis, you've been releasing music since 2019. What was that first push for you to start releasing?
I started writing when I was 13. I wanted to be Taylor Swift. Everyone wanted to be Taylor Swift at that time. *laughs* I grew up right outside of Atlanta so I was frequenting Nashville. I was there every other weekend for about a year and a half. And then I moved, right before I turned 15. And then I stopped making music altogether after some personal stuff went down. I was always writing but I was not pursuing it. I thought it was a childhood dream. I was in bands around Nashville, but it was nothing too serious. And then I had my son. And that was a kick in the ass. And I was like, ‘Okay, if I don't start going after the thing that I've loved, and I've really wanted to do my whole life then I'll never do it. And I need to figure out how to do it so that my child feels capable of whatever he wants to do in his life.’ So that was really the moment for me. I had him and then I wrote that first collection of songs that I released in 2019.
That is quite impactful. So motherhood was really that catalyst for you.
Well, you’ve already mentioned Mazzy Star but what are some like other artists that really shaped your musical style?
I love Amy Winehouse. I love Amy Mann. I'm Joni Mitchell. Leonard Cohen. Obviously, The Beatles! That was the first band that I found when I had begun writing where it felt like the clouds parted and the sun shone down. I think every artist, songwriter, musician has a special place in their heart for The Beatles. I love Lana Del Rey. More than anything I just love the way that she's gone about her career and I have a lot of admiration for that authenticity. Really just any of the great songwriters. Because it’s deep underneath everything else. How we dress it up or what genre it is or whatever we're all singing the same things. So I feel a kinship with songwriters.
I'm now just curious to pick your brain. What did you think of the new Beatles song?
Oh, I haven't listened almost purely out of principle, because of the whole AI thing. I don't know how I feel about it. But is it good? Did you listen?
I did listen to it, I enjoyed it. And I find it very interesting. I think if you don’t want to listen to the song you should definitely watch the mini documentary they put out with the release. Because from my understanding they used AI to isolate John’s vocals from the piano because the technology wasn’t good enough in the 90s to do it when they released the other two tapes. I definitely agree with you that it is quite concerning and funnily enough you’re not the first artist that I've spoken to that is hesitant based on this principle of “AI art” it's totally understandable.
I'm having a really hard time with the current musical terrain. I don't know what the future holds and it scares me. I mean fuck music, I mean, it calls to question humanity itself. What does that say of us and what's left of us? Even in what Hollywood is undergoing right now with the strike, and AI and using your likeness for all eternity. That is very disturbing. When you no longer have human beings putting themselves on the line and putting themselves out there and creating these things to share with other human beings, which is the only sense of humanity that we really share because the world is very fucked up. What do you have left? I'm just scared of what we could devolve into from here.
And that’s valid. And I fear that this has been the discussion for a while now. I feel we’re slowly becoming that reality that we're fearful of. But I think human art will always prevail above all else. And I think that so many people feeling so conflicted about a song like this says a lot about where we are as people, and it gives me a little bit of hope that we’re having critical discussions like this one.
I fully agree. My husband, he's a huge Beatles fan and he hasn’t even listened to it. I think we both saw that there was any AI involvement at all and we were like, “Ah, no, stop it!” But I will listen, I don't just want to be someone who's just gonna write something off.
Right! I definitely think it’s worth seeing the little video they put together because it’s interesting on a creative level. And this was a discussion the band members had, you know that concept of preserving this memory and such. But we were talking about songwriting and that honesty at its core. Your songs are very raw. What about music is the thing that coaxes that out of you?
I started writing when I was so young and I remember I was having some issues with bullies at my school. And I’d stay home and write songs. I think it was this way to self comfort and get to know parts of yourself you don't always have access to consciously. And it’s just been really helpful in healing myself. I think now it’s become this habit I’ve had my whole life. It’s what I do when I feel extremely fucking depressed or lost or fearful or existential. I also struggle with dissociation and not having any feelings at all which is a very scary way to feel, especially as a songwriter. Because you want to feel present and tapped into what's happening. And sometimes it's really hard for me to access what I feel. So music has really provided that for me. Whether that's sitting down to write or listening to someone like Jeff Buckley or something. Every word just oozes with emotion and feeling and it leads you back to yourself when you can hear so vividly what someone else is feeling.
I think that's part of the joy of music, that emotional connection we were talking about earlier. When I was looking at your last EP, it's volume one. How did you know that you wanted to tell this story in multiple chapters?
That's a very good question. I wish I could sit here and say that it was like some grand plan. But I knew I was writing a body of work. I wrote most of volume one in the course of four days, they all just kind of happened and I was like, ‘Hey, I have an EP.’ And as I was recording those, I just kept writing and realized that I had created an album but I wasn't ready to release an album. So I realized these songs definitely belonged to each other, they're sister EPS. Then hopefully, one day, if I'm ever lucky enough to package some vinyls, I would love to do like side A and side B and have them be there, married to each other.
Speaking of these songs belonging to each other, what elements are thematically present within both?
I feel like I'm gonna sound like a broken record over time, because I'm going to touch on the same themes, probably for the rest of my life. I think thematically it's just a journey. And I think it's just the journey of being a human, and what that feels like to me. I touch on things to do with my mental health or grief and loss.
You took a two year break between this EP and your previous project, what has changed since that last release? And what did you bring into this project from taking that break?
The break was kind of unintentional but it was one that I'm glad I took. It was right on the heels of the pandemic and my family and I decided to move out to the desert from Nashville. I released that EP– I had a lot of like grief cobwebs to get out of the way: childhood traumas shit that was wearing me down. Moving here and releasing this EP and cutting that cord helped me process a lot. Then after that I gave myself time to write. And I just wanted to write some of the best stuff I’d ever written. We can all be in competition with one another but truly I am always competing against myself. Because I know when I'm showing up, and I've done my best work or when I've said something without trying to be too clever. I was just giving myself some very real time to write what is now all of this music that I'm going to be putting out.
Is there a memory that really stands out for you during this creativity influx you've been experiencing?
My most vivid memories are always going to be centered around the writing. If I wasn't a songwriter, I would have no interest in being an artist or a singer. The songs from Songs For No One Vol. 1 were just all born very quickly, within a few days of each other, and I think I could feel it while it was happening. I was just in a world and we were two months late on rent, and everything was fucked. And we were like, ‘What are we going to do?’ And I think when my back is really against the wall, weirdly enough, I always am like, ‘Well, the only thing I can do is like make something right?’ So I think it was really just the way those first couple of songs came to be, and how quickly they happened at such a strenuous time.
That's super special. I think that's the case with a lot of music, it comes in your time of need. So, finally, what have you got coming up next?
I have “Fade Into You,” and then I will be releasing songs from this forthcoming EP, and I'm hoping it's out in around March. So just be on the lookout! There's lots of stuff coming, and I'm very, very excited to share it.