It Was Time for Veronica Torres to Honor What She Wanted to Do, and That Was Music

From college band to BeachLife.

  • Category
  • Written by
    Tanya Monaghan

Veronica Torres, also known as V, was born and raised in the South Bay. She grew up playing basket-ball, which became her life … so much so that she was on track to be a professional athlete. V was recruited to play basketball in college, but by the time she graduated high school she was burned out.

“I wanted to experience college life without being married to a sport,” she says. So she stopped playing basketball, attended Loyola Marymount University (LMU) as a regular student and loved it.

It was then that V picked up the guitar. It was also the first time in her life that she had free time to focus on something other than basketball.

V grew up as a music lover, influenced by her parents’ impressive record collection of ’60s and ’70s rock ‘n’ roll. Although she learned how to play the guitar at the age of 10, sports dominated her life and she had no time to play music seriously.

A break from sports while in college allowed her to play the guitar again. She picked up right where she had left off. She started writing her own songs and playing them at LMU’s open mic nights on campus.

During that time there was a big movement of singer/songwriters playing all over L.A. that inspired her, including Jack Johnson, Jason Mraz and Tristan Prettyman. She started a rock band named Gorgeous Got a Gun and managed to do the whole “singer/songwriter thing” for a few years. She released an album and a few singles and learned a lot.

A surprising early career path for a future musician, V graduated LMU with a degree in accounting and became an auditor. She worked an intense 70 hours a week as a controller for a firm.

In search of more flexibility to focus on her music, V took a different job for a hedge fund but in time found herself again burning the candle at both ends. After nine years of working full-time while also playing with her band, she decided she needed to give herself the best opportunity to really pursue her passion for music.

“I always thought I had to work ‘just in case,’” she says. “I don’t regret my work experience at all. I learned a lot and experienced many life lessons, but I finally reached that point of having enough self-belief to know I can and should pursue the things I really love.”

V worked hard and saved enough money to feel comfortable quitting her job and focusing on her music. She also went deeper into her yoga practice and joined a teaching program.

“Yoga really helped me find some balance and change my life,” she says. “I have always been an anxious person, but yoga has always helped me get out of my head. It takes you so far inward—it’s like putting yourself under a microscope and breaking down all your walls. I had painted a picture of what my life should be and what I thought I really wanted. I just realized I was working toward goals that I didn’t even want. It was time for me to honor the present moment and honor what I wanted to do, and that was music.”

After quitting her job and beginning yoga training classes, V decided to go on a songwriting retreat. Since that inspiring experience, V began creating music more authentically. She wrote different types of songs and eventually changed her band name from Gorgeous Got a Gun to her own name, V. Torres.

“Art, for me, is about giving back. If I can create something that helps someone in some way, then I am doing what I am meant to do.”

“That’s really who I am,” she says. “I am all about sharing myself—the authentic me—and not who people think I should be.”

V’s live performances also began to include a few other musicians, which organically evolved into an all-girl band. Although she writes and records her own music, she also co-writes songs with other artists. She writes regularly with a friend in New York and one in Nashville. “I just love to write and help other artists cultivate themselves.”

At the end of 2017, V released an EP called “Real Life Love.” The songs illustrate a vision for human connectivity that she feels is often lacking today.

“I feel that my music has matured while continuing to effectively convey my experiences and emotions,” she says. “The end result blends distinct guitar tones with soulful, truthful vocals and lyrics reminiscent of Mazzy Star and early Sheryl Crow. I hope to reach people and inspire them to live their life to the fullest through my new music.”

In 2018 V released two more singles and recently debuted another this year called “Top of the Road.” And she has another passion project called Girl Crush: a vision to create an all-female music art showcase in the South Bay for those who love music and creating art.

Photographed by Dominic Pencz

“I want Girl Crush to support and nurture women in music,” she explains. “I want it to showcase a community of artists, producers, engineers, management and labels to make the music world a little smaller, friendlier and more accessible.”

She launched her vision to great acclaim in August last year at Saint Rocke in Hermosa Beach. She believes it opened the door to other people doing something similar and will collaborate with them to do even bigger shows. The goal is to grow the project with the objective of presenting these amazing all-girl showcases to more and more people.

There have been difficult times too. V went through a divorce a few years ago that was excruciatingly painful. V and her ex-husband had been together for 11 years and found themselves wanting different things and following different paths in life. Although hard, those experiences were also important for her creatively.

“I’ve been through a lot of highs and lows in the past few years, and what I learned is the importance of digging yourself in and out of those places,” she says. “I wrote a lot during that difficult time. Everything was breaking down—my job, my partner in life—but I kept on going and writing and recording, and I am in a way better place now.”

She continues, “It’s funny to think that had we not split, I don’t think either of us would be at the place we are now. We are much happier and are on good terms. We genuinely wish the best for each other. I created three new songs during that time, which was cathartic for me. I needed that. I wanted to share that part of my life experience in the hopes that it may touch and help people who are going through something similar.”

V feels her music turning in a new direction and is really excited about where it’s going. “‘Top of the Road’ is about the point in life when you have gone through a hard time and then gain perspective coming out of it. It’s about not necessarily understanding that feeling but just allowing yourself to feel.”

She released more songs before the Redondo Beach BeachLife Festival in early May, where she performed alongside some greats such as Willie Nelson, Bob Weir, Jason Mraz, Violent Femmes, Ziggy Marley and Brian Wilson.

V lives in Hermosa Beach but plays all over Los Angeles, Orange County and San Diego. She has plans to expand her gigs to Oregon and the Pacific Northwest. Creating the music events herself allows her to become more connected with people rather than “just touring.”

She wants to keep creating, writing and working with other people as much as she can. “Art, for me, is about giving back,” she says. “If I can create something that helps someone in some way, then I am doing what I am meant to do.”