Photos by Paul Morgan and Mill Yonns | By Abi Isa Lee | December 3, 2021
This week, we're thrilled to share a new musician interview with Victoria Fragoso (Toya), an independent artist and singer-songwriter!
In this interview, Toya talks about the earliest memories of enjoying music, what inspired her to become a singer-songwriter, her creative process, how she deals with performance anxiety, and much more!
Toya has a special message for her fans!
"THANK YOU!! Time is precious and when I see that you’re streaming my music or watching my live shows or music videos it creates such an amazing moment of gratitude for me. When you share my music with others I truly feel how much you believe in me and my music!"
Crafts-Women: Before we dive in if you're given only three words to describe yourself, what would those be?
Victoria Fragoso (Toya): Innovative. Dreamer. Hard-working.
CW: Can you tell us a little more about yourself?
Toya: I am an independent artist who appeals to fans of Vanessa Carlton, Norah Jones, and Regina Spektor. I write music on piano and perform every other Tuesday on Instagram live while also interviewing other songwriters.
CW: Can you walk us through your journey of finding your passion and how you got to where you are today?
What’s your background? What was the role of music in the early years of your life? When did you start writing? Are you from a musical or artistic family?
Toya: I grew up in a Mexican family in Tacoma, Washington, and listened to a wide range of Latin music when I was younger.
"My love of music came mostly from my father who loved blasting music in the car and from my maternal grandfather who played guitar and would break into song whenever a situation reminded him of a lyric."
I joined the school choir and took piano lessons in grade school but didn’t make it into the 6th-grade choir. This exclusion from music at school pushed me to pursue my own style of singing and writing music, but I was able to find ways to perform at school in musical theater and talent shows.
For my own music education, I would go to the library and pick music based off of album titles. This led me to explore a wide range of genres.
CW: What first got you more serious about music? What or who inspired you to become a singer-songwriter?
Toya: I believe I started piano lessons when I was in 2nd grade with my neighbor Mrs. Behrens. She was motivating but gave painstaking attention to detail. I would put in the time to practice but my practice quickly became less of learning the pieces I was assigned and more improvisation.
I liked to ask myself, “How would I write this?” or “What do I hear next?”
The first time I thought about being a singer-songwriter I remember being in the car hearing a radio host talking about Vanessa Carlton and how she wrote the song “A Thousand Miles”. It finally clicked that there are writers who write books and poets that write poems and, my goodness, songwriters who wrote songs! Around the same time, I fell in love with music from the artist Krystal Harris who had released one of the most popular singles from “Princess Diaries”. When I heard her album “Me & My Piano” I realized I wanted it to be me and my piano too.