Six Of The Best: Victoria Owsnett | NARC. | Reliably Informed | Music and Creative Arts News for Newcastle and the North East

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Lead singer of synth-pop act AXLS, now solo-act, Victoria Owsnett releases her debut single Thrones. The track, with its fizzing synth sound and driving rhythm, follows up Time Stands Still, her collaboration with US artist John John’s in June, and is about growing up unpopular before realising your worth.

Here, Victoria gives us her six of the best…

Although I’m a musician, I have been inspired by all kinds of artforms throughout my life. The world would be a very dull place without the amazing films, TV shows, art, literature, musicals and musicians to keep us all sane and entertained. I owe a lot to these creative outlets and have some favourites which I want to share.

Nathan W. Pyle (Artist)
We all need some wholesome content on our social media timelines, and Nathan W. Pyle is an expert in providing such content. Nathan is a comic strip style artist and his most popular work is the ‘Strange Planet’ series, in which he draws aliens doing human activities which are foreign to them.

His art displays everyday things in the most matter-of-fact way possible (for example, remaking the ‘hang in there’ cat poster with the slogan ‘maintain your grasp’). It really gives you a different perspective on the things we consider mundane and allows you to laugh at things that you didn’t even consider funny before.

The comic strips really have that feel-good energy and can inspire anyone to smile more and take life less seriously. An important ability to have in the crazy time we are living in.

A Shattered Life – Matt Dymerski (Literature)
I really love reading, but I don’t actually read books very often. My favourite content to read is amateur writing posted on the internet, specifically horror. This started all the way back in 2008 when I was gifted a second gen iPod touch and a £10 gift card for the app store. After thinking long and hard about what to spend it on, I stumbled across an app which was filled with user-written horror stories. Being 12, I believed every word of them and scared myself half to death. Despite coming to the realisation that, perhaps, mrghost754 didn’t actually have his whole family captured by demons (and then run to type out his depiction of events on a horror story app), I still loved to read these stories.

I later discovered the Reddit page ‘nosleep’ and fell in love with the writing of Matt Dymerski. When I found out that Matt had released physical books of his work, I had to get my hands on them. My favourite is his work titled ‘A Shattered Life’. The book consists of lots of short horror stories, my favourite sharing the same title as the book. The story follows a man who has to live out his life in a shattered timeline and is just a beautiful piece of writing. It is fantastic to see the online journey of this author and see how far he has come.

Lorde – Pure Heroine (Music, album)
Finally getting onto an influential musician, Lorde has to be one of my biggest inspirations. I remember seeing her music video for ‘Royals’ on the music channel for the first time and thinking ‘A curly haired singer!’. After wondering why my curly hair didn’t look quite as good as hers and actually listening to the song, I was hooked. I bought her album, ‘Pure Heroine’, and listened to it every day for months. I just couldn’t get enough of it.

Being the same age as the singer and seeing her smash it really inspired me to take music more seriously. Her lyrics in ‘Tennis Court’ – “Pretty soon I’ll be getting on my first plane” spoke to me about her humble beginnings and made me feel like anything is possible in this world.  

My personal favourite is ‘Buzzcut Season’, which makes me slightly emotional every time I hear it. It’s a song which will stick with me for the rest of my life.

Fickle Friends – Hard To Be Myself (Music, song)
One of my all-time favourite bands is Fickle Friends. Every single track they release is just phenomenal and makes me want to be a better musician. Their synth-pop sound was one that inspired me to go into synth-pop when I co-founded my band, AXLS. And that same sound influences my solo path too.

Of all of their music, ‘Hard To Be Myself’ was one that just hit differently. One listen and I was obsessed. Within the first 30 seconds I knew it had overtaken my old reliable (‘King’ – Years & Years) as my favourite song ever. The lyrics speak of social anxiety, a topic I can certainly relate to. It’s an all-round perfect song and has a well-deserved spot on my six.

We Will Rock You (Musical)
My favourite musical of all time is ‘We Will Rock You’. Although the storyline is a bit lacking, I LOVE Queen music. That feeling of excitement when the show starts and ‘Innuendo’ starts playing is something I will never forget.

Not only did this show inspire me as an audience member, I also got to play the part of the villain – Killer Queen – in my school’s rendition of the musical. Playing the part was a big turning point in my performance history and made me more confident. Now every time I hear a Queen song I am filled with that warm, nostalgic feeling.

It’s a must-see for any Queen fan.

Burlesque (Film)
I feel like I’m cheating a bit with this one, as it is a very music-orientated film. Although I do really love the music that came out of this film, it is the storyline which has stuck with me (potential spoilers incoming). A generic backstory but one of my favs, a small town girl gives up her life to live out her dream in the city. The build up of seeing the main character, Ali (played by the incredible Xtina), knocked back again and again is so frustrating. We as an audience know she has the talent, but no one will give her a chance. It all leads up to one of the most satisfying scenes in film history. The bully of the film tries to tear her down but accidentally gives Ali the chance to prove she is as good as she says she is.

Growing up, this was my dream scenario. I had people trying to tear me down on the regular and would have given anything for an opportunity to prove people wrong. MY latest release, ‘Thrones’, follows this kind of narrative. It discusses the bully mentality of thinking you’re better than everyone else, and challenges it by explaining that the real ‘winners’ are those who know they’re good enough as they are.

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