The voice from Toronto to Montreal

On April 2, Avery Florence performed for a small crowd at La Marche à côté. Photo by Britanny Guiseppe-Clarke.

Singer-songwriter Avery Florence has brought her sound to the city

La Marche à côté, a bar on St-Denis St., was transformed into another universe on April 2 for one of Avery Florence’s shows. Even bypassers couldn’t help themselves from peeking into the window to see where the enchanting voice was coming from.

Since July 2018, 28-year-old singer-songwriter Avery Florence has called Montreal home. As a teenager, she loved the city and found inspiration every time she visited from Toronto. She has finally settled on the island for good after three attempts. It seems third time’s the charm.

“People are more open to connecting with others and it’s easier to build a community here,” Florence said. As a native Torontonian, she feels everyone is more laid back in Montreal. “Everybody is sort of an artist here because they have more time. Without time, being an artist just isn’t possible.”

Florence found her passion for music much later in life; she had no musical training as a child and wasn’t from a musical family, yet she felt a connection to music. She started playing guitar in university and after just a few weeks of lessons, she was already writing songs. “I’m so thankful that I found my passion. It changed my life completely,” Florence said.

Florence has an undeniable gift for music. Her voice resembles that of an angel gone wild, powerful and raw, yet pure and honest. She comes across as a genuine person and this translates into her music. Her shows are very intimate and she isn’t afraid to be vulnerable, allowing the audience to delve into her little world. When she performs songs like “Black Waves” and “Woke Up This Morning,” it’s almost impossible not to get in your feelings.

Whether it’s a moment of sadness and despair, or a moment of wonder and inspiration, Florence said most of her songs are rooted in personal experiences and emotions. In more emotional situations, she’ll pick up an instrument and start playing a few notes or start humming a melody. “I think all of my best songs have come out in one go. I’ll have an instrument with me and then I’ll just let the words come out,” Florence said.

Recently, Florence participated in the most intense musical experience of her life.The CTV Network created The Launch, a new music show where contestants audition for Canadian artists like Bryan Adams, Sarah McLachlan, Marie-Mai, and more. Participants only have a few minutes to sell themselves and their music to the judges—needless to say, it’s a lot of pressure.

“It was really high highs and really low lows,” Florence said. She thought it was a scary thing to have something so personal out of her control. Contestants only see the final product on national television, at the same time as millions of other Canadians. “Literally right after I saw my part on TV, I felt a physical relief in my body that I had been holding onto for six months,” she admitted.

As the sun starts to reappear and spring settles in, keep your ear out for a voice that pulls your heart strings. Pay attention to the buskers on the street—Florence could be right under your nose.

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