A whisper from Pink sealed Victoria Anthony’s future.
Last May, before the American pop star played Rogers Arena, the Vancouver student used social media to catch her attention.
Her online push to sing for Pink gained traction and, when Anthony got to her concert, she raised a giant sign inviting Pink to turn the microphone in her direction.
Since then, the video of her performance in front of her idol and a crowd of 18,000 ticket-holders has been viewed more than 6.3 million times on Anthony’s YouTube channel.
And Pink’s words of encouragement afterwards (“You’re amazing. Never stop.”) have resonated.
Anthony told The Tri-City News about a month after the concert, she thought, “I’m going to write songs like her. I want to go try that.”
Branding herself as a “singer, songwriter, dreamer, doer,” Anthony partnered with producers to make waves again.
In February, she released her first single, Without You, and the following month came her first official radio single, titled Because I’m A Girl, co-written by a Toronto duo called The Fourth Floor.
The video, directed by Riverdale actor Nathalie Boltt and produced by Keyon Slowly, came out in April; it has been viewed online more than a million times.
Her momentum continued in July when she dropped the dance mix version of Because I’m A Girl and made her concert debut at Vancouver’s Rio Theatre.
Saturday afternoon, the 14-year-old sensation headlines the fourth annual BeYou girl empowerment campaign at Coquitlam Centre, with a concert featuring her two hits plus covers from Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys and Bruno Mars.
Her show — scheduled for 3:30 p.m. at the mall’s northeast plaza (near H&M) — will also include some unreleased tunes she hopes to include on her first album, due out next year.
A self-taught musician who draws inspiration from Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, Tori Kelly, Ed Sheeran and Lizzo, Anthony said she was invited to be a BeYou ambassador while promoting her songs at an Ottawa radio station.
A radio producer put her in touch with Morguard Investments, which has malls across Canada, including Coquitlam Centre.
Anthony said she was thrilled to be asked to lead the cause, which — like her music — calls on girls to make a stand and support each other.
As with her social media posts, she wants the message to have a ripple effect.
Still, while it’s targeted for girls ages nine to 16, Anthony doesn’t want to exclude boys from the conversation.
“I think that the whole point is about equality,” she said. “It creates change…. With my [three younger] brothers, I talk to them about being proud of who you are. It’s being comfortable with yourself.”
As for her online outreach, Anthony said she follows Swift, who, she says, “comes off as relatable, smart and good at what she does” with her marketing.
Anthony sometimes gets some help from her mother with postings (she has 10,000 Instagram followers on @vicanthonymusic) but, for the most part, she’s on her own.
Like Swift, she also tries to communicate directly with her fans in the public forum.
“People are really awesome,” Anthony said. “I recognize them. They’re all super nice and supportive and telling me how my music relates to them.”
Free activities for the BeYou campaign on Saturday, Sept. 21 at the northeast plaza (by H&M) of Coquitlam Centre:
• 12 to 12:15 p.m.: Miss World Canada and TEDx speaker Tara Teng opens the celebration;
• 12:15 to 1 p.m.: Family yoga with lululemon athletica ambassador Ashley Belluz (bring your own mat);
• 1 to 3 p.m.: BeYou bracelet making, sticker wall, glitter tattoos and Art on Sneakers competition;
• 3 to 3:30 p.m.: BeYou dance party;
• and 3:30 to 4 p.m.: Victoria Anthony concert
The Big Sisters of BC Lower Mainland will also be on site to give information about its programs and volunteer opportunities. Visit beyougirl.ca/coquitlam.