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Roxanna…Unforgettable!

Roxanna…Unforgettable!

Sometimes taking the road less traveled can be the most rewarding journey of all. Singer/songwriter Roxanna has done just that in a life that has seen her live in exotic locales around the globe, finally settling in Toronto where she has nurtured her love of music into a burgeoning career that now includes some of the biggest names in the industry.

However, Roxanna’s road to music stardom was not a smooth one. Instead of jumping in with both feet as a teen and auditioning for anyone who would listen—or even trying out for one of the plethora of televised talent shows—she went to nursing school. “As a nurse, I liked to help people and heal people,” she recalls of her days as an RN. She would use not only her nursing skills, but also her singing voice, to help her patients.

The real galvanizing moment in the singer’s life came when her ex fiancé basically left her standing at the altar. While the incident was heartbreaking, it inadvertently kicked off her singing career. “My wedding was cancelled by my fiancé six days before the ceremony,” she recalls. “I was devastated. Of course I still loved him. I had nothing better to do than express it on a piece of paper. I wrote the exact words that I felt and I had a feeling that one day I would use it as a song.”

“It’s about a person who has been hurt by her partner and she wants to get revenge…that’s what I’d like to do to my ex fiancé.”

Unforgotten-Cover-FinalThose words she used to express her sadness would become the lyrics to the first single, Unforgotten, from of her soon-to-be released debut album Exotica. Unforgotten is the tale of a woman jilted by the love of her life—and the revenge she enacts upon him for his heartlessness. With flourishes of Flamenco guitar, Unforgotten swells into an ode for a love that will never quite die, yet speaks of moving on with one’s life after a dream has been shattered.

She took those lyrics—and her melodic ideas—to Los Angeles and sought out a producer to help her set her heartache to music. It was there she met producer Mark Portmann. “When I met Mark, who is a producer for some of my idols like Julio Iglesias, Barbra Streisand, and Celine Dion, I gave him the song and he loved it.” And so, a beautiful ballad—and fertile working relationship—was born.

The video for Unforgotten harkens back to the glory days of the genre, and for good reason; it was produced by Matthew Rolston, the director responsible for groundbreaking videos by Madonna, Michael Jackson, David Bowie, and George Michael, to name a few. “I got lucky. Working with Mark. He put me in touch with Matthew Rolston. Matthew doesn’t do music videos for just anybody, he has to connect with the song,” explains Roxanna. “When I sent it to him, he really liked it. I had to go to LA because he wanted me to meet me personally to hear it with me again.”

 “On Exotica, I’m not only singing in English and Spanish but in Italian and there’s one French song.”

That meeting turned into a shoot that took place on a very hot day in Palm Springs. Not only is the video lush and cinematic, it features one of Roxanna’s favourite actors, James Scott, who stars in the daytime drama Days of Our Lives. Not being a famous singer yet, it was a challenge for Roxanna to get Scott—whom she simply had to have—to star alongside her in the video. So, she employed a little strategy to woo him to her side. “I’d been watching Days of Our Lives since the late 90s and I spotted James and thought to myself, ‘oh, he’s the hottest guy alive’,” she laughs recalling first sighting the actor. “When I went to the music industry and had to do the video Matthew told me to choose a guy to be in the video and I said, ‘I only want James Scott!’ I actually went to the Days of Our Lives set, I said that I had a project to offer him, that I’m a Canadian singer/songwriter, and he thought I was crazy,” she laughs.

Press Shot 1 photo FINALDetermined to have him for the video, she didn’t give up. “He had no manager or agent so it was really hard to get a hold of him,” she explains. “Finally, my publicist at Miles High Productions sent a letter and the music to him on my behalf and he liked it, he agreed. The first time I met him in the dance studio for the rehearsal, I was like, ‘Oh, my God, he’s so awesome’.” However, whatever feeling of fandom she had for the handsome star, she kept to herself the first few days of rehearsals. “When I first saw him in the dance studio, I pretended I didn’t care,” she says with a laugh. “Then he came up to me and said, ‘Roxanna, it’s nice to meet you.’ And I said, ‘Yea, the studio is over there, I’ll be right back.’ I walked in the studio and didn’t even look at him.”

In no time the pair had developed a rapport that turned their on-camera chemistry into a mysterious, romantic cat and mouse story that begins and ends with a phone call. “I had no idea what the story was going to be,” Roxanna says of the development of the video’s storyline. “It’s what you want to imagine. Is it fantasy? Is it reality? You don’t know. It’s about a person who has been hurt by her partner and she wants to get revenge. She plays games with him, and takes him into her trap and meets him. That’s what I’d like to do to my ex fiancé,’” she concludes with a laugh.

The album Exotica is a reflection of the global influences on Roxanna as she grew up. She sings in several languages and cites one of her music idols as her influence for going global. “I’d like to be the female version of Julio Iglesias,” she says of one of her all-time favourite singers. “He was the first artist who made a song and did it in Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, and French. I didn’t really know where he was from because he sang in every language. Maybe he doesn’t speak those languages but he sings them with passion. I’m doing the same thing.”

“No matter how old you are, what your body shape is, your talent doesn’t die. Stick with it, be stubborn and don’t give up.”

photo“On Exotica, I’m not only singing in English and Spanish but in Italian and there’s one French song,” she continues. “I love Spanish music. I don’t know, maybe I was Spanish in a past life,” she laughs. “I go to Spain a lot and I was influenced by Flamenco music and I wanted to bring it to Pop music. I have two songs that are in Spanish. Each song is different but each is easy to listen to,” Roxanna says of the music on Exotica. “My genre is Adult Contemporary and Luxury, which I created myself. You will hear everything organic. Every sound is real. The people who worked on my album, these musicians, have worked with mega-artists like Michael Jackson, Kelly Clarkson, Michael Bublé, and Andrea Bocelli, so everything is hand-made. There is no auto-tune.” Roxanna has also included a special song called Beautiful Rose, which is dedicated to, and about, her late mother who passed away earlier this year.

Roxanna is an artist with big dreams, and she knows exactly how she is going to make them come true. While she may be ambitious in her own right, she has made friends who have helped her along the way. “Ricky Martin is such a wonderful man,” she says of the crossover superstar. “He’s so helpful; he helped me out a lot with what to say and how to behave in the spotlight. I may be singing with Ricky Martin because Mark Portmann actually did songs with him. Timbaland is a wonderful, kind-hearted man, he helped me out a lot in many ways.”

Life is filled with moments of great joy and times of despair, no one can avoid the rollercoaster. Roxanna has taken inspiration from the good and the bad and is forging a career she hopes will be filled with many highs. And she knows it all begins with believing in yourself. “I want people who listen to me, my fans, to understand that no matter how old you are, what your body shape is, what condition you are in, your talent doesn’t die,” she insists. “Stick with it, be stubborn and don’t give up.”

Check out Unforgotten, the first single from Roxanna’s upcoming album, Exotica:

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andrewv100x100Andrew Vail’s writing career began in Halifax when he was but a child. In Grade 4, he wrote and produced his own series of comic books entitled “Freaky The Frog”, the on-going tale of a little misfit frog and his pals of the pond. Marvel Comics never came knocking but Andrew knew he loved to create and tell stories. Since then, Andrew has worked in advertising, PR and publicity; has interviewed politicians, rock stars and very interesting yet not-so-famous movers and shakers. He has published articles in a variety of local and national magazines and websites.


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One Comment

  1. Congratulations Roxanna on your upcoming album release! I can’t wait to hear the rest of your songs.

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  1. Unvailed: The 2013 Hot List | Unvailed - [...] Toronto singer/songwriter Roxanna’s journey into music was definitely the road less traveled. The former nurse took her love of…
  2. The Exotic World of Roxanna | Unvailed - […] tell stories of romance, heartache, healing, passion and sensuality. She debuted her first single, Unforgotten, a year ago. The…

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