, Newburyport, MA

June 20, 2013

In a flash

Local musician plans beach event to promote single

By Jim Sullivan

---- — When songwriter, vocalist and self-taught musician Victoria Smith, 32, released her first major studio album independently in May, she knew she had to be creative getting the word out.

“I’m the entire business end and marketing,” Smith says of her musical career. “And my own agent.”

Fortunately for this Newburyport resident, she only had to go to the Tannery’s The Dance Place for help.

Smith’s Zumba instructor, Tracey Kimball, and The Dance Place owner Fontaine Dubus organized a Valentine’s Day flash mob in Market Square in February that was part of the One Billion Rising worldwide anti-violence movement.

Inspired by that event, Smith hoped to do something similar to promote her first single from “Victoria,” “Twenty Days,” which tells the story of a woman whose boyfriend has gone away for 20 days and how she deals with it.

“She explained that she had spent a lot of time and energy into getting her record made,” Kimball said. “And I know that artists struggle a lot in trying to get the money together, to get the album done and to get the word out that their music is now available. So, I wanted to do anything that I could to help her out. I just listened to her song, and I let it inspire the movement.”

“Tracey is a great dancer,” Smith said. “And she did a great job putting the last (flash mob) together. So I asked her if she would be interested in helping me, and, in a matter of weeks, she had choreographed the song, taught us how to dance it and had some people who were really interested in participating.”

Smith’s flash mob will begin on the beach near Plum Island’s blue, The Inn on the Beach, at 6 p.m. Saturday, the same day that she will give a private audition for NBC’s hit series “The Voice.” So far, she has about 15 people ready to go but is hoping for 30-40.

“I’m hoping that a lot of people show up,” Smith said. “I’ve (also) got a professional photographer coming to videotape it. So, I’m hoping that it will look good, so we can get it on YouTube and support a viral marketing initiative.”

Perhaps the biggest problem will be getting all those people out to the island at dinnertime.

“The light will be beautiful on Plum Island,” Kimball said. “It will just be challenging getting the people into that place.”

Smith started her musical life as a dancer at the age of 5 and slowly began realizing that she would rather make the music than strictly dance to it. She describes her music as a mix of pop, country and a little bit of soft rock and says that many people compare her sound to Sheryl Crow. She has been playing professionally for 12 years and has made a pair of home-recorded albums.

A two-year project, “Victoria” marks her first time recording in a professional studio with a professional-level band, including well-known guitarist Tony Savarino, local musician Mike Levesque on drums and Sean McLaughlin on bass.

“In the beginning, I just had a couple of songs,” Smith said. “And the band really liked them. They told me I should do a full record, so it really inspired me to get to work and to start writing more songs, and I was able to execute it all.”

Smith and her band are hoping to host a CD release party in Salem in July. But for now, the flash mob awaits.