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Singer Nikki Yanofsky

Nikki Yanovsky will be performing at Grand Théâtre de Québec in Quebec City on April 12 and 13; at Toronto's Massey Hall on April 21; and at Scotiabank Place in Ottawa on May 20.

What do you think of Valentine's Day?

It's a nice little holiday that promotes love. Not necessarily love in a relationship – love of family, love with anything. It's a nice thing to celebrate.

Love of family? That's a fine thing, but I thought Valentine's Day celebrated romantic love – "I love you. You love me," not "I love all you guys."

Maybe commercially it's more of a relationship holiday, but I like to celebrate Valentine's Day with my whole family. It's a holiday that makes you appreciate people in your life. That's what it's all about.

Cynics call it a "Hallmark holiday" – a holiday invented and promoted by commercial interests. Would you agree?

Yes, it is maybe a commercial-type holiday, but I don't think it is a silly one. It is necessary. Lots of people who are in relationships want to celebrate the people they are with. Maybe people commercially play into that.

How old are you?

I'm turning 18. [Her birthday was Feb. 8.]/p>

To me, you're still a kid – somewhere between the cutesy-grade-school-cut-out-valentines and the dinner-and-a-dozen-red-roses-mature Valentine celebration. Where do you see yourself in that continuum?

I stopped doing the [cut-outs]maybe after Grade 6. Guys my age really like the holiday because it gives them an excuse to talk to a girl. It depends on the person. Some people my age are in love. Some aren't mature enough. I just enjoy the holiday as something that promotes love. I'm a real romantic.

Commercial Valentine's cards feature gushing, preprinted sentiment. How important is it to have a personalized declaration of love?

I love writing. Writing a card from the heart is more important than a commercial card, but some people aren't as great with words and are good with actions. They don't know how to put what they feel. The commercial cards do it really well.

Are digital Valentine's greetings lame? Does passion come across the computer screen?

Not always. When I'm writing songs, I prefer to handwrite the lyrics. You see a lot in people's handwriting and it makes it more personal. It is kind of romantic to mail a letter rather than e-mail. Each to his own on that.

Do you have anyone special from whom you're expecting a Valentine this year?

I want to keep that personal.

Without naming names then, what are your expectations? If you get a cheap bouquet of daisies, will you be steamed?

It wouldn't matter. It's the thought that counts. I think if it suits the person and makes you think of them when you see it, I don't care if it cost a penny or $10. It has to come from the heart. That's what Valentine's Day is all about.

For many, Valentine's Day comes with expectations, a holiday one misses at one's peril in a relationship or marriage. What about you? If someone forgets the day, is there a price to pay? How long will they be in the doghouse?

I'm not one to let it go by. If there is someone I am expecting something from and they don't do it by, say, midday, I'll be like, "You know it's Valentine's Day? C'mon!" I'll give them a chance to redeem themselves. It is just a day to embrace and have fun with. If couples are really busy, they sometimes forget to make time. It kind of forces them. It's sometimes something they need.

What, for you, would be the perfect Valentine's gift?

I'm not fancy. I'd just appreciate spending time with the person I love. That's what Valentine's Day is all about .

But you can do that on Feb. 13 or 15. How is that special?

You're right. I guess I'd probably go out to a nice restaurant, have a good conversation and good food. That's fine.

You sing romantic love ballads. Does that make Valentine's Day more significant for you? If one drinks green beer all year, St. Patrick's Day would be less of an event …

Valentine's Day almost accentuates the day even more for me. I'm singing about [love]all the time. It's something I really feel passionate about. Poetry put to melody – that's what a song is. It is almost as if you are singing love poems. You get to sing it to an audience every night.