New Single & Musical Inspiration From Singer-Songwriter Piera Van de Wiel
Inspiration can come in many forms, but for English singer, songwriter and actor Piera Van de Wiel, musical inspiration is her number-one resource. This self-described “old soul with a young heart” is dedicated to empowering women and promoting mental wellness through the messaging in her lyrics. She also does this through musical initiatives like her original music media series, Stronger with Music.
This summer, Piera signed a record deal with Abaca Group Inc. and Steve Barakatt, an award-winning pianist, singer, composer, producer and creative director who has worked in the music industry for over three decades. Piera’s first single, “It’s Complicated”, is inspired by classical romance with a modern twist. It’s available for download on iTunes and Spotify.
We talked to this up-and-coming artist to learn more about the woman behind the music.
What is a quote or piece of advice that you try to live by?
“What if everything you’re going through right now is preparing you for a dream bigger than you can imagine?”
I have this quote on my lock screen on my phone. Whenever I am worrying about something or dealing with a challenge, I remind myself that dreams can and will fall into place.
What is your personal anthem?
Recently a friend told me to listen to a song that had reminded her of me, it’s called “Follow Your Fire” by Kodaline. I felt inspired the first time I heard it. The song repeatedly asks the question, “Did you follow your fire?”
I like to live in the moment, and I live with passion, love and an energetic drive. Every time I hear this song, it gets me to check in with myself to make sure that I am following my heart and my passion.
There are two other songs that make me feel the most like myself. One is “Scotland the Brave” and the other is the “Bluebell Polka.” My mum is Scottish, so when I was young, I used to dance around the table to Scottish music with my granny and papa and my friends. I will always remember this music fondly! Whenever I hear it, it reminds me of family and friends. It feels like all of us are coming together, wherever we may be.
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Can you recall your earliest musical memory?
I was introduced to singing around the age of three by Paula, an Italian exchange student who came to stay with us in the UK. She taught me Italian songs. When I was young, I already had a flare for performance — I would stand up on boats and in the aisle on airplanes and sing songs in Italian!
I always wanted to be a performer, and singing was (and still is) my life! I discovered acting at a later date. Acting taught me how telling stories truthfully and vulnerably made me an empowering artist who had the courage to speak my truth. I am always telling a story, whether I’m acting on stage or in a film, songwriting, or singing in the recording studio or in front of an audience.
How would you describe your sound?
I started out by taking singing lessons from my mum’s best friend Debbie, who was a classical singer. I continued by getting classical music training at the Lausanne Conservatory, the Royal Academy of Music, and the Royal College of Music. This gave me musical inspiration, excellent technique and great knowledge. After that, I received some jazz training. I loved the way it gave me freedom and a new style of breath — I felt like I could incorporate talking into singing. As a result of all of this training, I would describe my sound as warm, rich and vibrant.
What is the name of your first single and how would you describe it?
The single is called “It’s Complicated”, which I just released with Steve Barakatt and Abaca Group Inc. The song features an orchestral background and Steve Barakatt on piano, which brings a cinematic feel to it. It is about past and present love. The message is that you are strong enough to get through it, you are strong enough to be empowered, and you are strong enough to love yourself.
As a whole, what is the message you hope to put forth with your music?
The theme of my music is “old meets new”. My music takes you back to a different era, while the lyrics are very relevant today. In “It’s Complicated”, the last verse is a chant: “The time I think instead of do, stand up, shout out what you believe to be true; the time I think instead of do, stand up, shout out what’s inside of you”.
I believe that lyrics like this one make it a classic song with a modern twist. We should be standing up for what we believe in. In my future songs, I want to continue to build upon that musical inspiration and bring that message to my music — fight for what you want, and fight for each other.
Who are some of your favorite artists?
I’m an old soul with a young heart! I am inspired by Etta James, Ella Fitzgerald, and Cleo Laine. And I love other artists like Norah Jones and Diana Krall who sing with effortless ease and style.
Who would be your dream artist to collaborate with in the future?
I would love to collaborate with Ed Sheeran. I love how he combined genres when he collaborated on the song “Perfect Symphony” with Andrea Bocelli. I think we could do the same (maybe one day!), especially since I can sing pop music too.
Share a story of a time you screwed up in your musical career and how you recovered:
I love this question! A couple of years ago, I was in Prague touring with a choir. I had three solo pieces that I sang after the choir performed. As soon as I finished my last piece, I looked at the musical director, who gestured his arm towards me. I took this as my cue to leave the stage. So as the audience was applauding, I walked off the stage and started leaving the theatre, thinking that the choir members were following me.
Then I heard someone calling my name. They ran up behind me and asked, “Where on earth are you going?! You need to bow!” I started laughing uncontrollably. I went back on the stage, completely embarrassed by my mistake. Fortunately, some people laughed, and hopefully some found it quite endearing. I waved to the audience, mouthing “sorry!” and FINALLY took my bow!
What are you going to be up to next?
The press release for my new single has been picked up by many news outlets, including Broadway World and Yahoo Finance in the U.S., Europa Press in Spain, New Delhi Times in India, and Sina Newsin China! Now I am ready to get out there and perform this song, along with other repertoire. Steve Barakatt and Abaca Group Inc. are booking my performances in Canada, and Baruch Gayton will be my concert and event producer in the U.S.
Also, my music collective, Stronger With Music (which has been featured on Like A Boss Girls!) has a new video that will be released at the end of this month! It features Lisa Bianco on guitar, Laura Mesrobian on piano, and myself on lead vocals. I founded Stronger With Music as a way to empower women and promote mental health and wellness through music.
Follow Piera Van de Wiel on Instagram.