Image © Mikaila Straatsma 2009
(click on image for MySpace)
Mikaila (Mikki) Straatsma (lead vocals)
Image © Mikaela Straatsma 2009
(03 Mary 2009) Mikaila (Mikki) Straatsma is the lead vocalist for the brand new rock band from Canada called Viveynne. In their own style, but drawing on the sounds of Nightwish, Evanescence and After Forever, the band's debut eight track CD entitled Becoming Jane Doe (ReverbNation (USA) IR40566, 2009) follows on the heels of the gorgeous single "Lest We Forget," a free download for fans.
Aged only fourteen, Mikki wrote the single for World Vision as a donation and raised the most funds in Canada for the 30-Hour Famine special with this song and also secured a spot on Much Music. Watch the Viveynne's website for details that will permit downloads in exchange for further donations. The Viveynne EP Becoming Jane Doe is released in North America on 12 May 2009. Preorder the EP today from the group's website.
In addition to writing all words and music for this EP release, Mikki is also credited with lead and backing vocals, piano and synthesizer. The band backing her is comprised of Chuck Kollatos (lead and bass guitar, additional synthesizer and drums on "It's Been Dark"), John Lama (rhythm guitar) and Randy Solski (drums and percussion except on "It's Been Dark," and bass on "The Exiled and Her Opera House"). Beth Willson provides additional backing vocals on "Blood to Blood" and the EP's title track. Our editorial staff will add complete label and catalog information when our review copy of the EP arrives at our headquarters. The EP will be available at iTunes, HMV and amazon.com from release day.
Mikki has already garnered attention for her superb vocal work from rock bands worldwide and has been selected for the 2010 Beto Vazquez Infinity (feature) album. BVI's discovery demonstrrates the artist's already tremendous maturity since Beto has worked with many well established rock Discoveries vocalists, including Marcela Bovio, Tarja Turunen, Candice Night, Floor Janson, Manda Ophius, to name just a few. Mikki has already made a large impact and established a fan base with her MySpace demos. Mikki was discovered by Beto himself who was impressed with her extraordinary vocal control and power far mature than her years.
The EP opening track "Blood to Bloos" sets the stage for the power that will develop as the EP plays its length. Mikki's original compositions feature operatic metal-edged rock fused with both classical and gothic themes, blending melodic composition with ethereal soprano vocal and piano styles. Although Viveynne's sound differs substantially from Mermaid Kiss (feature), Mikki's voice can be most closely compared to Evelyn Downing and therefore Kate Bush. Note that the original recordings by Mermaid Kiss' singer, Evelyn Downing, were made when the vocalist was similarly aged to Mikki. Viveynne's music is universally powerful, and fully laced with metallic edges. However, the arrangements by Chuck Kollatos and John Lama still, as with Evanescence (review) feature Mikki's emotionally wreched singing throughout every track.
Viveynne's tracks are generally short, running between 3:00 and 4:00. Instead of running the length of the typical operatic metal piece, Viveynne has chosen to keep the songs in this radio friendly format. Allusions to Evanescence, especially Amy Lee's vocal work, are perhaps most strongly illustrated in the album's title track. The backing harmonies are incredible. While many of the tracks include stunning instrumental bridges and ripping guitar solos, the recording has not overdone it, leaving lots of room for expansion in the band's live performances, scheduled to begin in late May.
Most of the material on the EP is heavily arranged and dominated by the power of electric guitars, yet Mikki can equally deliver a tender ballad as clearly illustrated in both the sensitively delivered lead and backing vocals in the beginning of "Goodbye Good Morning" and throughout the bonus track "Sounds Of Starlight."
We found Mikki's control outstanding and her vocal work superb, soaring well above the powerful guitar- and keyboard-based rock arrangements. Although produced with a more accessible arrangement than the metal-tinged songs on the EP, the artist's 'charity track' "Lest We Forget" makes an excellent bookend for the Viveynne listening experience. It perhaps demonstrates the singer's vocal and emotive range better than any of the EP's tracks. Don't miss it! Like Ambeon's young Astrid VanderVeen (feature), Mikki has a superb voice.
Viveynne's debut EP Becoming Jane Doe is a marvelous entry for the lead vocalist and her supporting musicians. In addition to Mikki's forthcoming release with Beto Vasquez Infinity, we are sure to hear muchmore from this rapidly emerging vocalist. Stop back for the purchasing link to amazon.com when it is available.