Power of voice

If I may…this review says it all….

She says she is a bit nervous and beyond excited!—well Veronica Freeman should not be nervous—but beyond excited?, yes!—because she is releasing her first solo album which in of itself, is beyond exciting!!

“Now Or Never” is the solo debut of “Benedictum”’s premiere vocalist.  Opening up with “Again”, this effort shows a side of Veronica that we all knew she had but really never heard.  Now we can!  Simply be prepared to be totally blown away!  The vocal chops are razor sharp, gutsy and ballsy!  The title cut “Now Or Never” continues with this type of vocal, and of course, music to match.  This whole album is a showcase of these new vocal styling’s, where Veronica is singing to the max.  The music rocks to the nth degree—and it must, just to keep up with this dynamo!

By her own admission, Veronica has stepped out of her comfort zone—and this scribe says very well done, very well done indeed!  A more melodic but still hard-rock sound, this singer can sure belt them out!  Of course, coupled with the more melodious part of her voice—she retains that strength that we hear on her “Benedictum” performances.  The combination is killer!  There is not a weak song on this debut—even the more “poppy” numbers are sung with muscle.  The register Veronica sings in is completely opened up—treating us with so many outstanding textures and tones.

Always a fantastic singer---and an individual that understands that her Voice is her instrument—we hear on “Now Or Never” she is playing like never before!  As said, there is no weak song on this debut, but “Love Should Be To Blame” is a prime example of how Veronica has mastered her instrument!

Don’t miss out on this one---Veronica Freeman is an absolute force of nature, and “Now Or Never” is hopefully just the beginning!

…however Ms. Freeman has a little more to say:

Bruce: I will begin with the statement taken from your press release,  “Veronica Freeman has stepped out of her comfort zone…” so let me say, that no-one would know that-as “Now Or Never” is just mind blowing! You must be so proud of this recorded Work…

Veronica: I am even more proud now that I read this! I won’t lie to you, the idea of doing a solo project and the process of actually doing it, were two distinctly different things. I had always, in the back of my mind, wanted to stretch myself a bit. I have had many fans ask me if I would ever try something “slightly different” and I had always wanted to but when it came down to defining what that “something different” would be, and when it came time to deliver vocally, it was really interesting to see and hear how invested I have been in my approach up to that point and how hard it was to relax and just let my other side come out. 

Q: Now, I realise this is your first solo album. So being initially titled “The V”, is this the start of a new band fronted by yourself?

A: That’s a great question and I indeed wanted to leave the door open for that a new band a new start but actually a new concept. To play all of the music and put on a great show embracing both the new stuff and the Benedictum tunes. Something that would allow me to do these tunes and also my first love which would be the Benedictum music. And the secret reason is this… Most people for one reason or the other, just can’t remember my name. I get called Virginia, Victoria etc etc. So I would go around and say “just call me V I will answer to it” and so there it started. But you must know how much I laughed until I cried when one of the first reviews I read, which was quite glowing I might add lol, was a diatribe about how great and wonderful Vanessa Freeman was. OMG….How funny is that? I loved it!

Q: Who is involved with this recording?

A: Pete Wells, Jimmy Durkin, Garry Bordonaro, Peter Tentindo, Jeff Pilson, Mick Tucker, Mel Brown, Michael Harris, Tony Martin, Leather Leone, Meliesa McDonell, Kenny Lewis, Michael Sweet, Derek Kerswill, Rikard Stjernquist, Aric Avina, Mike Lepond, John Herrera… ya feel me?? Lots of folks… And I thank them all so much! 

Q: How did this solo effort come about?

A: Mario and Serafino from Frontiers were in Los Angeles a few years back and I wanted to meet them in person. While there they asked if I would want to do a solo record and I was thrilled to say yes. The rest was a long, long, long journey, but usually those are the most rewarding kind. I have to give a shout out to the many people on kickstarter who helped me to complete this passage because there was a point where I couldn’t.

Q: Being that “Now Or Never” is being promoted as your solo debut, are we to assume that you will also continue with Benedictum?

A: You know how tough it is I am sure, so I can only speak for myself at this time. For me personally I plan to continue flying the flag of Benedictum so I guess that is the answer in a way. I am not sure what the specific line up will be since that will depend on who wants to do what… but I for one am all in. I love the music and plan on keeping it going whether through new music or getting out there and playing that which exists.

Q: Now, if not, what can we expect from “The V”…

A: If for some reason a straight out Benedictum line up isn’t realized I plan on including that music in whatever else I may do live to some extent. Would be a fun show.

Q: Now, let me go back to the actual album. Did you write all the material or team up with someone else? 

A: Pete Wells and I wrote quite a bit of the material, but there are quite a few great writers whose music we were proud to play.  Nigel Bailey, Michael Sweet, Age of Evil and a few more.

Q: With exploring new ground, is there anything you have discovered about yourself as an Artist?

A: So many things, more so as a person than as an artist. That is how personal this all is to me. My strengths that I didn’t know I had. That sometimes forging ahead is warranted and other times just let God and the Universe do its thing.. I just have learned to tell which is which! To trust my gut a little more and trust some people a little less. To be willing to realize that I may not be able to please everyone but I MUST allow myself to be happy. Not as easy as one may think!

Under The Lights
Upcoming Club/Concert Highlights:

The Blue Gator:   Zamboni Brothers:   August 13th  Young’Uns August 14th & 15th

Barley Mill Brew Pub & Bistro (Penticton): -Every Sunday-Blues/Rock Jam & Showcase hosted by TR2 (7pm-10pm)    Boom Chicken:  August 15th

Doc Willoughby’s Downtown Pub:  Speaker Box:  August 15th

Fernando’s Pub:  Octobers with Tigerchild & Kieran McCaffery:  August 14th

The Naked Pig (Vernon):  Local talent highlighted every Sunday Afternoon!!

O’Flannigan’s Pub:   Radio Lifeline:  August 14th & 15th   Rockaholicks:  August 15th 

Notable Concerts:   

Cedar Creek Estate Winery:  Tom Cochrane:  August 26th & 27th

Prospera  Place:  Dean Brody/Paul Brandt:  September 26th  Bare Naked Ladies:  October 25th  Shania Twain:  October 27th   Three Days Grace:  November 24th

South Okanagan Events Centre:   Brit Floyd:  (it is the closet to the real thing)   August 12th    “Weird Al” Yankovic:  September 9th    Ringo Starr & His All Starr Band-(featuring Todd Rundgren, Steve Lukather, Gregg Rolie plus others!!)   October 10th 

Vernon & District Performing Arts Centre:  The Tea Party:   September 29th

   …if you have a musical story or news and would like me to write something… drop me a line at:  [email protected]  and let’s celebrate Kelowna’s rich and varied music community together!!.....


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About the Author

We call him the Professor of Rock: With a career in music, television and media arts spanning 30 years, Atkinson knows music. He's traveled as a professional musician and he loves Rock 'N Roll. He is a music journalist who writes internationally for Frontier Records' Melodic Rock magazine and he owns FBA International a multifaceted management, consulting, promotional entity.

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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