V. Contreras was only 12 when she heard a song that changed her life.
On a nine-hour car trip to Idaho, Contreras and her family passed the time listening to her parents’ favorite albums on the car stereo.
“They played Linda Ronstadt, the Supremes and Heart, but when they played Patsy Cline’s ‘Sweet Dreams,’ it made a really big impression on me,” Contreras recalled.
“There’s this thing about her voice that kind of makes me emotional. I remember thinking, I want to be able to make people feel the way this singer is making me feel right now. It was kind of spooky … Her voice was so timeless and beautiful.”
The same could be said of Contreras’ haunting, self-titled debut album, a sultry blend of pop, rock and soul with dark, romantic themes — such as the one on “Gasoline,” the album’s first single.
“I’ve got a man who gets so damn bored,” Contreras sings, “(He) loves bad behavior, he wants some more … ”
Contreras also uses a distinctive “oh-oh-oh” vocal motif on many of the songs, which is a great hook.
The album (which follows her first EP, released last December) features the infectious “Gasoline,” “Feelin’ That,” “Love Is Free” and “Burn” (a remix of which will be released by Mike Illvester this summer).
Cline’s “Sweet Dreams” still resonates in Contreras’ life. She has performed it as her signature song at a number of Patsy Cline tributes.
Over the years, the glamorous Seattle singer has sung with the Seattle Rock Orchestra, performed jingles for McDonald’s, Mervyn’s and AT & T; and sung the national anthem at Seattle Mariners, Seahawks and Sonics games.
Victoria Wimer Contreras — her full name — grew up near Black Diamond. She is director of sales and patron services at STG Presents, which operates the Paramount, Moore and Neptune theaters.
A serendipitous adolescence included many transformative experiences, including voice lessons from renowned Seattle vocal coach David Kyle, being part of a Motown-style vocal group and fronting a 25-member jazz orchestra.
Contreras celebrates the release of “V. Contreras” with a concert Friday, April 11, at the Triple Door (the album’s actual release date is April 15). Backing her are many of the musicians who performed on the album — Rebecca Young, Jeff Fielder, Aaron O’Neill, William Stover and the Andrew Joslyn Orchestra. Singer-songwriter Cami Lundeen opens at 7 p.m.
“V. Contreras” was produced by Martin Feveyear, who has worked with Brandi Carlile, Screaming Trees, Common Market, Blue Scholars and Duff McKagan’s Loaded.
“He’s extraordinary,” Contreras said of Feveyear. “He’s the best producer I’ve ever worked with, and he’s a wonderful mentor. He taught me a lot and pushed me really hard.”
Andrew Joslyn, a contributing songwriter and composer on the Grammy-winning Macklemore and Ryan Lewis album, “The Heist,” arranged the strings and horns.
“He just nailed it. He’s so gifted,” she said of Joslyn.
7 p.m. Friday, April 11, at the Triple Door, 216 Union St., Seattle; $15-$50 (206-838-4333 or www.thetripledoor.net).