Good music never goes out of style. It emanates from an intangible, authentic space and reverberates with a very special frequency beyond the boundaries of time. Those who know it, feel it. Toronto native Veronica Domingues is mastering the art of crafting timeless music with a unique twist on mid 90s hip-hop soul on her sparkling debut EP Just Chill. Vaunted by SingersRoom.com and deemed a bounce-worthy “rare bird” by esteemed music website SoulBounce.com, the bubbly 24-year-old singer-songwriter effortlessly infuses head nodding beats and jazzy melodies with a vibrant vocal style – resulting in what will be one of the industry’s most stunning releases of the year.
Reared in a Portuguese household where traditional music styles from her parents’ home country permeated the air, Veronica sought balance early on by listening to influences as varied as Shania Twain and Whitney Houston. During high school, she honed her vocal chops singing in her church choir. Yet while she consistently exhibited a talent for music, her family wasn’t particularly supportive at the onset. “They wanted me to go to college and get a degree in a field where you can make money,” she laughs. “But once I got older, things started to change.”
Honoring her parents’ wishes, she entered college after high school. However, there was a gaping void in Veronica’s soul that only music could fill. She decided to put college on the back burner to pursue her musical interests with fervor and focus. During this period of intense reflection, she entered a citywide talent competition - The Amateur Singing Contest with John Santos. After months of performances, Veronica breezed past her competitors with ease and was eventually crowned the victor.
During this period, Veronica’s confidence in her impressive vocal abilities soared. Further immersing herself in the world of music, she unselfishly volunteered her time at a local youth center where she instructed youth without resources in the art of creating their own music. There, she would meet her future collaborator in producer/ rapper Junia-T of popular Toronto hip-hop duo Smash Brovaz. Yet while the opportunity for collaboration seemed to have fallen into her lap, Veronica admits that she wasn’t quick to seize the moment. “I never really planned to do the EP,” she says. “I was still trying to find my voice. Because I never really knew what style I did.”
But after she and Junia-T developed a stronger rapport, the producer began to send her instrumental tracks to write songs to. Eventually, one of these tracks created the spark that would kindle the fire of Just Chill. After the recording session for “Catch Me When I Fall,” Veronica was certain that she’d found her voice and style. “I went with him to the studio and he made a beat from scratch. I wrote the song in about 10 minutes. When I heard it finished for the first time, I felt I needed to make an EP.”
Just Chill is a mellow 8-track journey through a period of intense reflection. “Every song on the EP has something to do with the time I decided to leave school and focus on music,” she says. Produced and written entirely by Junia-T and Veronica, the EP is brilliantly embroidered with crisp break beats and robust live instrumentation. As the pair began putting the pieces of the EP together, Veronica simultaneously began sharpening her songwriting skills by relying on an old pastime. “Before I started writing my EP, I used to write poetry,” she admits. “It was just me writing down my thoughts. Then I started writing songs.” Throughout the process, she never lacked for sources of inspiration. “Life inspires my songwriting. Every thing around me is inspiration. When I feel a certain way, I write about it.”
The first single, “I Get High (featuring C-Flowz),” is a tune about the natural high Veronica has always derived from music. “Obviously when you listen to it, you’re going to just think it’s about something else,” she laughs. “But the lyrics are about how music elevates your mind state. When you’re sad, it has the power to change your mood. It’s about music making you feel really good.” Furthermore, “Love” is a pulsing piano driven ode to her undying dedication to music wrapped in a romantic metaphor. “A lot of people might think it’s a love song about a guy. But it’s actually about the love I have for music. It’s also me talking to a guy saying that if you want to be with me, you have to appreciate music and know that this is what I want to do for the rest of my life.” “Eu Querro” was crafted partly in homage to her parents’ native language. “It’s a Portuguese song with Brazilian and soul influences,” explains Veronica. “The typical music that played in my household growing up was a folklore, rancho music from Portugal. But I wanted to do something totally different with it to make it stand out a bit more. But the song is about me wanting someone really bad and only wanting to be with that one person.” Flaunting a funky jazz-fusion sample, “Keep On (featuring Bubba)” is a feel good jam with a syncopated bounce and pristine trumpet solo. “It’s about having a good time and enjoying the company of who you’re with. It’s all about feeling good.” The deeply personal “Catch Me When I Fall” details a critical moment in Veronica’s life where indecision and inertia reigned. “The song is me talking to my dad about my struggle,” she concedes. “It’s a tribute to him being there and picking me up when I fell.”
Toronto-based filmmaker Customatic was drafted to create captivating videos for “I Get High,” “Love,” and “Eu Querro.” As tracks for Just Chill began to circulate around the music industry, the reaction was favorable and immediate. Producers with credits on artists such as Kid Cudi, Kelly Rowland, and Beyonce began to express interest in working with the young songbird. But Veronica remains focused on creating timeless music and crafting a unique sound her own way.
Her forthcoming full-length album in the works will feature an 8-piece band, backing vocalists, and a host of other surprises. “I want to have my own sound, but incorporate the old soul live band sound. The album will be very different from the EP. It will be more about me being happy and in a good place in my life.” But until then, Veronica is confident that Just Chill is an adequate first impression – an offering from a new artist that aims to strike a balance in an industry consumed with accelerated BPMs and flashing party lights. “There’s so much dance music on the market today,” she muses. “So much so that I feel like people don’t appreciate their alone time. Time spent just relaxing. Just Chill is about appreciating that time by yourself. Those precious moments you have before you rush out into the world.”