Alyssa Veniece has been writing songs since she was in the single digits. After having collaborated with the famous Canadian band Down With Webster on “Chills” the next logical conclusion was to write, record, and release her own music. She had held this dream since she was three and one can only watch others for so long before finally jumping into the fray. Not that she has been idle. Veniece has been a dancer, a bikini model, participated in fitness competitions, acted in commercials, and used her athleticism to do stunts in movies. By her early twenties she had already enough success and had enough careers to fill multiple lifetimes, yet none of these were the dream she had held as a little girl. Determined to make this goal manifest, she wrote songs and assembled a dream team to enable it. The resulting sessions created “Pyrrhic.” Making the five song EP was an artistic and cathartic voyage for the singer. “Pyrrhic” is as multifaceted and diverse as the multiple talents which Veniece herself possesses.
Alyssa’s eclectic musical tastes include: hip-hop, trap, pop, r&b, and electronic. As a nineties baby, her earliest influences were Britney Spears, Nsync, Backstreet Boys, Christina Aguilera, & Destiny’s Child. During her teens this switched to 50 Cent and Eminem (no doubt a sign of the rebellious and misunderstood teen). There was always room for good music regardless of the format or genre as she recalls, “Along with rap, I found myself mellowing out to R&B. One night I was in the passenger seat of my grandfather’s Lexus, I was about 14 at the time, and I pressed play on a cd that was in there. The song that came on was an acapella of “If I Ever Fall in Love Again” and I thought it was the most beautiful song I had ever heard. I became obsessed with it, found the cd case in the glove compartment to make note of the artist group and downloaded the song when I got home. It was by Shai. To this day it is still one of my favorite songs. I learned something special that day; I learned to explore and push the barriers of my musical taste.”
When it came time to make her own music, Veniece had originally wanted to make an electronic dance and trap recording. However, inspired by a bad break up, she instead created something of a new genre. “Pyrrhic” reflects this new genre that she dubbed “Trip-Trap” which features raw, sad, and angry emotions on display. A pyrrhic victory is one which inflicts such a devastating toll on the victor that it is tantamount to defeat. Someone who wins a pyrrhic victory has been victorious in some way but the heavy toll negates any sense of achievement or profit. As often happens, emotional turmoil can lead to great art…if channeled positively.
For the creation of “Pyrrhic”, Alyssa worked with two producers who have both worked with well-known and respected talents like Michael Jackson, Celine Dion, Justin Timberlake, Beyonce, Justin Bieber, and others. If Alyssa had waited up to this point to create her musical vision, she was going to work with the best. Nico Hartikainen received a Grammy Nomination for Album of the Year in 2015 as a Composer for Justin Bieber’s album “Purpose”. Discussing her work with Nico, Veniece notes, “I adore Nico Hartikainen. The song ‘Unfamiliar’ on Pyrrhic was the first song I ever released to the public and he mastered it. At first the song was in the hands of another engineer but the mixes always came back late and it was obvious that not a lot of care had been taken on it. When Nico agreed to touch it, it was like magic. The clarity and quality was gorgeous. He really took his time and every note I gave back to him on revisions were taken care of with the most amazing precision. He made ‘Unfamiliar’ everything I ever wanted it to be.” Jean-Marie Horvat engineered Pyrrhic and did the final masters on every song except Unfamiliar, which was done by Nico. Horvat received two Grammy Award nominations for his work on Destiny’s Child’s “Say My Name” and Kirk Franklin’s “Revolution”, and a Latin Grammy Award nomination for the smash Beyoncé/featuring Shakira “Beautiful Liar. Jean-Marie has worked on some of Alyssa’s all time favourite songs by some of her favourite artists - Rihanna, Jennifer Lopez, and Christina Aguilera to name a few. He remarks, “I believe in Alyssa’s talent and I look forward to our future work together. Listening to her music, her talent is obvious. What I appreciate equally is that she has a work ethic, a drive, and a conduct of respect that she carries with her. This is rare in our industry and serves her and those she works with very well.”
The experience for the listener is much the same as the artist who created “Pyrrhic; it can be both heart-wrenching and releasing from moment to moment. While it is emotional, Veniece and her team make shrewd use of digital software; not in a cookie cutter perfections sense but rather to manipulate her voice to show different entities or personalities. The resulting multilevel presentations reveal a complex artist who uses all available sonic means to deliver the true intention of the songs. Alyssa relates, “The most rewarding part of making Pyrrhic was the closure it brought me on so many levels. It enabled me to let go of every let down I had lived up until that point, and also gave me something to check off my bucket list, which was to make music. It must be the gift that keeps on giving, because it continues to bring me opportunities that I am excited to move on in the near future.”