AT JUST 17, Victoria Duffield is already a rising star in the up-and-coming Canadian pop music scene. She’s already had two hit singles: the debut smash “Shut Up and Dance”—which was officially certified platinum in Canada in February—and its booming follow-up, “Feel.” With her ultra-catchy third single “Break My Heart” now scaling the charts, and a national tour on the way—which includes a stop at Ottawa’s Scotiabank Place on Sept. 7—the Abbotsford, B.C. native is clearly on the brink of something special.
The Fulcrum managed to catch up with Duffield over the phone in her natural habitat: racing off to a dance rehearsal. Always on the go, she hasn’t even given herself time to celebrate the release of her debut album Shut Up and Dance, which came out Aug. 21.
“I was celebrating by doing stuff that I love doing, which is all the busy craziness,” she says. “I did go out for dinner that night, but I’ve been busy, so that’s the way I’d like to spend my time anyway.”
For being a new artist, Duffield speaks like someone who knows her brand and is very involved in the process of creating it. She’s been compared to a young Britney Spears, someone else who had to turn into a pro quickly when she exploded onto the pop scene as a teenager.
“Britney Spears was a huge influence of mine and someone I looked up to,” Duffield says. “I definitely take that as a huge compliment and something that makes me feel really good, that I can be compared to someone who was my idol growing up.”
Like Spears before her, Duffield has had to strike a balance between acting her age and competing in a sexed-up music landscape. To this point, it appears she’s managed to walk that tightrope perfectly.
And lest you think she’s just the pretty face who sings the songs, Duffield has a co-writing credit on every track.
“I’m definitely comfortable with how everything’s being portrayed,” she says. “I’m not really finding it difficult right now. I’m always one to be aware of what I’m wearing, and I don’t ever want to feel uncomfortable. I’ve always been aware of that, and making sure my songs are about things that are age appropriate. I’ve always been like that.”
Besides the control she has over her image, what separates Duffield from her teen-pop contemporaries is the way she manages to incorporate dance into her act. While most pop stars are musicians who learn a few steps for performances, Victoria has it the other way around: she started as a trained dancer, and now uses that background to make her concerts and videos even more dynamic.
“Dance is such a huge element of what I do, and I think that’s kind of what differentiates me from other artists out there,” she says. “It’s something that’s really important to me, and I want to show that to everyone.”
Much like Duffield herself, Shut Up and Dance manages to be completely mature while maintaining a youthful exuberance. And lest you think she’s just the pretty face who sings the songs, Duffield has a co-writing credit on every track.
The emotional spectrum of the album ranges from the bubblegum sweetness of “Break My Heart” to the intricacy of the shimmering final track, “Final Warning,” which she said describes someone who wants “to be fun and have fun with people, but then realizes that it wouldn’t really be fair to not be able to put full commitment in a relationship.”
What’s up next for this girl who never seems to stop moving? A new single, a new video, a tour, and an international release for the album, of course. Duffield divulged to us that “They Don’t Know About Us,” a duet featuring Australian teen heartthrob Cody Simpson, is set to be the next single. A music video will be filmed while she’s on tour with Simpson and headliner Big Time Rush throughout September. After that, she says an international release is definitely “in the plans,” though the logistics still need to be worked out. And she’s thinking even further ahead, if you can believe it.
“From there, nothing’s set in stone,” she says. “But hopefully hopping on the next tour would be awesome and just seeing what the international plans pan out to be, and where I’m headed.”
If Duffield keeps moving along this path, she’ll be headed straight for the spotlight.