Industry Talks: Victoria Georgieva on mental health, writing songs (in the dark), and working on…

Today we are talking to Victoria who is a 23-year old Bulgarian singer and songwriter. She began her music career after participating in season 4 of X Factor Bulgaria.

Victoria was going to represent Bulgaria at the Eurovision Song Contest 2020 in Rotterdam, and we are happy to know that she will be representing us in May 2021 once again. A lover of animals and the little things in life, as she likes to put it, she is talking to us about her debut EP titled “a little dramatic” (which will be released this month), her first time writing a song, and more.

1. How has the past year (in the context of COVID-19 and the ongoing pandemic) affected you and changed you as a person and as an artist?

I think COVID affected everyone. I can say that for me personally, it hasn’t been very easy. But this has pushed me to work even harder which is something positive.

In my case, I really wanted to work on my debut album, and before the pandemic, I didn’t really have enough time to properly focus on that project. I’m also glad we had the opportunity to do our summer songwriting camp. We were around 20 people which was a great surprise because we couldn’t be sure whether people would actually show up. That experience gave life to some fantastic things.

Because of the current situation, my team and I have also had more time to work on Eurovision. All in all, there are both pros and cons, but if we’re speaking strictly about my career, I guess we could say that I’ve managed to find a silver lining!

I am going to be representing Bulgaria at Eurovision once again this year, and I believe that’s a big chance that I have been given. I am not taking it for granted.

Online concerts are a bit difficult because you don’t have this contact with the audience. When performing on stage, you’re expecting a reaction from people, but this reaction isn’t quite there when performing virtually. I really hope that this year or at least next year we’re going to have concerts again.

Victoria by Lora Musheva

2. I know that when you were creating your songs “Tears Getting Sober” and “Alright”, one of your intentions was to touch on important issues like mental health, depression, anxiety… I think it’s truly wonderful that you’re using your platform to discuss such topics and that more artists (and people with an audience) should be doing that.

What have you learned about yourself (and life) during your personal journey with mental health and exploring it through your art?

I’m a more closed person and I rarely share my feelings with others. I usually process what’s going on on my own, and I never really talk about my struggles or emotions. But I’ve learned that music helps me immensely. This has always been true, but it’s definitely been validated the past year.

I always start creating something and get ideas. I would just grab my phone and record some sort of melody that came to me. Even if it doesn’t sound that good, I still tend to record everything, because it’s some sort of emotion that I need to release.

When I’m feeling down, I try to not be around people too much. I feel better coping with things by myself. I would listen to music, watch a movie, play with my dogs. The dogs always make me feel better because they’re really funny and can tell if I’m feeling down. Another practice of mine is deep breaths. It sounds like something tiny and simple, but it goes a long way.

3. One of the things you mentioned is watching a movie when you’re feeling a bit off. I couldn’t help but instantly think of the show “Friends”! We’re both huge fans of the sitcom, and I often turn to it when I’m feeling a bit off myself. Does it help you in such moments? And what is your favorite character?

I don’t have much free time anymore, but last year I spent the pandemic watching “Friends”. [laughs] I can’t pick a favorite character, they’re all so different… I find Joey really funny. Some friends even make fun of me because I give and share everything, but not my food… Just like Joey.

Rachel I also like a lot. She’s a bit wilder, but Monica also is! The cool thing about this show is that the characters are made in such a way that you couldn’t possibly pick a favorite. That’s what makes it interesting I think.

4. What inspires you these days? What have you been listening to?

I’ve been enjoying some older music. Think Frank Sinatra, Nina Simone… Also, I’ve been listening to a bunch of instrumental music from the soundtracks of Netflix series.

I’ve been working on my album non-stop and I guess that listening to more instrumental pieces has been like a kind of “break” for me. It helps me to rest and recharge. My absolute favorite at the moment is the soundtrack from “The Queen’s Gambit”. That’s what I’ve been playing on repeat.

5. What experience did you have when you were writing a song for the first time? What was that like?

It was definitely during my first songwriting camp in 2019. On the very last day, we got together with one of the teams there and turned off all of the lights. It was raining and it was a real interesting time.

We started working on a slow song, a ballad, which actually became my favorite, maybe because it’s kind of the first song that truly came from me. The others gave me the microphone and just asked me to sing whatever was coming out. No filter. In that moment, the rain inspired me and I started to improvise.

The simple melody we had developed was guiding me, and even though it was something very raw and unfinished, it gave you a good feeling. The others loved it and put it together into a song… When we moved on to writing the lyrics, I shared with them a personal life story. I myself wasn’t writing the lyrics, but all of the words sort of came from the story I shared. I’ve heard Ariana Grande has written songs with a similar approach — telling a story and others writing around that story and with the words used in it.

Later, it was time to hear what we had created. It was completely dark as it was much later, and the only light we left was the laptop screen. All of us cried while listening to the song. [laughs] It was amazing.

When we were creating “Tears Getting Sober”, I had a bit more experience with writing songs. I felt more confident and prepared to join the others in this process. Since then, I’ve been very involved with all of my songs.

Victoria by Lora Musheva

6. Your first EP is almost here! What can you tell us about this project? And what have you learned during the process of creating it and putting everything together?

I’ve been working on it for a year now, but kind of on and off. I’ve been working with people from different countries, some are based in Vienna, some are in Sweden, some — in England. So we work pretty much whenever we can.

For the past two months, I’ve been finishing my demos which are almost ready. It’s a very serious process and it’s my first time participating so actively in the making of my music. The other day one of the guys was telling me, “I love how specific you are and that you know exactly what you want” which was some great feedback to receive, given that I am not that experienced when it comes to the production side of things.

One of the things I’ve learned is to communicate in their “language”. Speaking to producers in order to describe and co-create sounds and feelings in music is something that’s new for me. Another lesson is that we can make things work even from a distance. In the beginning, I was quite stressed about communicating and working online, but now I’ve gotten used to it.

I’ve also realized that I like taking my time with things. Having more time the past year, I’ve had the chance to relisten and rewrite some bits and pieces… I’ve had the opportunity to polish things and work at my own pace which is a bit slower than how most producers operate — they are much more experienced and tend to make music at way faster rates.

You can find Victoria here: Youtube, Spotify & Instagram.

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