2010-11-11 / 15 Minutes

Taking music — and positive vibes — wherever she goes

BY EVAN WILLIAMS

Capri Victoria EVAN WILLIAMS / FLORIDA WEEKLY Capri Victoria EVAN WILLIAMS / FLORIDA WEEKLY Capri Victoria holds three jobs at Coastland Center and is taking a few courses this semester at Edison State College. On a Wednesday afternoon between shifts at the mall, Ms. Victoria (only her first and middle names were used in this article) heads out a side door for a break, admiring the stormy sky. Then she unpacks her guitar from its soft case and slips off her shoes. Sitting on a red bench in a black dress, puffing on an American Spirit cigarette and ignoring a few intermittent raindrops, she starts to play a song she wrote called “Heart Rises.”

“Very tranquil,” comments a man who stood nearby listening to her smoky, tremulous voice. Although it was certainly a love song of some kind, Ms. Victoria leaves it open as to whether the song expresses friendship or romance. It is a song about a boy, she admits.

“It’s about lacking the words to describe how you feel about that person,” she says. “Like all good things there are no perfect words, but that’s my attempt to come close.”

She started teaching herself to play the six-string classical Yamaha guitar, a gift from her father, four months ago. But the 21-year-old has been a writer as long as she can remember, filling notebooks with free verse poetry and thoughts. All her work is about love of one kind or another. “That’s a driving force behind everything I do,” she says.

Nature is as much a passion as are the people she writes songs about. She is impressed, for example, by the way a tree stands up after many storms, a metaphor for resilience. Casual listeners and passersby have described her songs as “beachy.”

Ms. Victoria is also going to school for marine biology, even though this semester she’s taking a history class and a philosophy class. And a painting she did, on the front of her instrument, could be the sun glinting off the water:  abstract patterns of turquoise, and a small section of se bright yellow swirls.

“I’d love to be outside all the time,” she says. Besides nature, or that boy in question, some of the musical groups or performers that inspire her include Neutral Milk Hotel, The Dodos, The Strokes, Modest Mouse, The Shins, Ray LaMontagne, Norah Jones, Phosphorescent, Bon Iver Phosphorescen and, in some ways most of all, her father, a singer and left-handed guitarist. Growing up on Marco Island, she went to see him sing at clubs where he performed numbers including “I Left my Heart in San Francisco,” “My Girl” and “Heartbreak Hotel.”

“I always, always went to see my dad perform,” she says. “I’ve sung onstage with my dad since I was 2. I always sang on his knee.”

Now she sings whenever there’s something to sing about, and when she has the time. She recently started carrying her guitar wherever she goes, which is usually on her bicycle, even if that means occasionally getting rained on. After work she often rides to a park or the beach.

Her generous appreciation for nature spills over into the rest of her life, where she has a propensity for seeing the light instead of dark side of things. She normally begins her day with a “salute.”

“I wake up and the first thing I do is look out the window and say good morning to the birds that are out there,” she says. “Every day, I greet it.”

The message on her voicemail is also an exuberant reminder: “Have a beautiful day!”

“Life is too short,” she says, “especially for us to be ugly to each other.”

She has time for one more song before going back into the mall to start the evening shift at Starbucks.

A young man who also works at the mall enjoys some dessert from a to-go box while on break and enjoys the music. “That made my cheesecake taste twice as good,” he tells her. 

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