IT is an established fact – by me at least – that Canada is one of the most…
undervalued and underappreciated areas for music in the world. One hardly hears the nation promoted and heralded as much as the U.S. and U.K. That is a shame because Canada is teeming with sensational, bright musicians who have that sound and personality nobody else possesses. In the course of the last few years, I have featured many Canadian artists so was excited to know more about Bree Taylor. She is recording her debut E.P. in L.A. (but was born in Canada). Broken Dreams is the new single and documents a relationship break-up – one where she did nothing wrong. In addition to learning more of that song; Taylor talks about Canadian music and hopes for 2017; artists we should check out and the importance of YouTube to her – and many artists out there.
Hi Bree. How are you? How has your week been?
I’m great! My week has been busy - as it usually is. I like to keep myself busy with projects. I am always working on something music or YouTube-related and this week is no different - but I love it!
For those fresh to your work: can you introduce yourself, please?
I’m a Pop singer from Toronto, Canada. Songwriting is my passion, my therapy - without it, I don’t know where I’d be. Music keeps me breathing. I write honest, real lyrics and about things that are close to my heart and I think that’s what makes my music so relatable.
Broken Dreams is your latest single. What can you tell us about the inspirations and influences behind the lyrics?
Broken Dreams was inspired by a breakup I went through where a guy I dated; didn’t know what he wanted so he broke up with me in a text message.
Nothing was wrong in the relationship: it just ended suddenly and abruptly and resulted in heartbreak - as all broken relationships do. As an artist, I turned to music and writing and poured all my emotions into a song; that’s how Broken Dreams came to be. The lyrics came from my heart and the raw emotions I was going through during the healing process of the breakup - which is why I think the song is so relatable. He just let what we had go with no real reason or explanation: all his promises were broken; everything he said turned into lies and all I was left with were memories and broken dreams of a relationship - that ended before it really got started (which I think came across really well visually in the music video).
The video is quite steamy and memorable. Are videos something that better help visualise your music? How important are they to you as an artist?
Thank you! YES! I am an extremely visual person and I love powerful imagery, especially lyrically and video is such a great form of expression. Visualisation is so powerful in all areas of life; musically I turn to visualisation to create music. I usually get inspired and close my eyes and visualise and hear the song in my head and it all starts to flow. I have always been obsessed with music videos because it combined my two favourite things - music and acting. I think music videos are such great entertainment and you get to see the songs come to life!
You are a Canadian-based musician. Canada is a nation that gets overlooked – it has a huge amount of wonderful artists. What is it like performing in Canada? Are there a lot of chances for young artists to get exposure?
Canada is such an amazing country. We have so much incredible talent here and hopefully the world gets to hear and experience more of us!
Live music in Canada is awesome - there are so many places to catch live music and for artists to get the opportunity to perform - whether it’s local pubs/bars or club venues. There are a lot of Open Mic nights in cities all over the GTA that are great ways for artists to practise and be heard and reach new audiences.
Which Canadian artists do you think we should keep our eyes out for?
I recently found Olivia Penalva on ReverbNation and love her sound! Her song, Skyline, is very catchy and I think she is definitely someone to look out for. I also love the Canadian Country music scene and think Madeline Merlo is incredibly talented. I love her honest lyrics and powerful voice - her song, War Paint, is my jam!
Your lyrics are very powerful and honest. Which musicians were you brought up listening to? Which songwriters are you currently inspired by?
Thank you so much. I am so glad you hear that in my lyrics - I try to be open and honest in all areas of my life, especially in my music. I think my music is the most personal I get and I definitely relate that to growing up listening to such a diverse group of artists/bands. I would listen to my dad’s old albums: Stevie Nicks, Eagles; Elton John, Aerosmith; Fleetwood Mac etc. I also grew up listening to the following: Bryan Adams, Shania Twain; Amanda Marshall, Michelle Branch; Gwen Stefani, Christina Aguilera; Alanis Morissette…the list goes on! I listened to everything from Classic Rock, Pop; Punk, Country - I even had a Hard Rock/Metal phase.
My musical tastes haven’t changed much. I still love all those same artists and listen to various genres. Some artists I am loving and am inspired by right now: Jonas Blue, Daya; Birdy, Charlie Puth; Zara Larsson, Tove Lo; I LOVE Halsey - she is so talented.
Away from music, you have a YouTube beauty channel and have a popular book review series (Books with Bree). What is it like balancing those disparate interests? What compelled you to start both projects and what has the reaction been like online?
I have always been a singer-songwriter - and that has been my dream since I was a little girl - but I have also had a passion for literature and beauty. I got involved in YouTube several years ago: started posting videos about things I loved or was inspired by and things just took off from there. It’s kind of been the opposite in that my viewers were used to me posting about beauty/books and have over the past couple years become insanely supportive of my music - as I have begun pursuing it full-time.
YouTube has been a great outlet for me creatively but balancing it with everything else has definitely been a challenge. I try to post a new video every week if I can and would love to do more - but balancing everything in my life makes that difficult.
I love what I do though so it’s always fun interacting and connecting with my viewers on a more personal level (is a huge highlight).
How do literature and beauty connect with your music? Does great literature and self-expression feature prominently in your music?
I think literature has always inspired me musically in that it’s helped me find my voice in being able to tell a story with my music. I always had my head in books growing up and loved writing so it’s helped me grow lyrically with my music for sure! I am a huge lyric person - I connect emotionally through the written word and lyrics can be so powerful.
Looking at your biography, you come across very accessible and charming - a little klutzy at times (dropping the mic. After a performance) with your partner-in-crime (the dog), Aria. A lot of modern artists are rather stale, P.R.-driven and fake. Do you think the fact you are so down-to-earth and fascinating helps people connect with what you do?
O.M.G. yes! (I don’t actually drop the mic after performing - that’s an inside joke with a friend who wrote my facts on my website). However, I do believe that my down-to-earth personality shows that I am very real and relatable and definitely helps people connect with me and what I am doing as an entertainer.
I’m just me. What you see is what you get. I have always been very open and honest with my viewers on YouTube and with people in my daily life - which is what makes me very approachable and trustworthy.
I think that comes across in my music and performances and definitely in my content on my YouTube channel. I love sharing my experiences with people in order to not only express myself but to connect with other people. My goal has always been to reach as many people as possible through my music and to be able to help someone through whatever they may be going through in their lives.
I see you have a diploma in P.R/social media – that is quite fascinating. Does that help you with regards to your various videos and music? Do you take care of your own P.R or would be interested in representing others?
I did go to school and graduated three years ago. I got a Degree (B.A.) in Media Studies and Diploma in Media Communications - specialising in P.R. It has definitely helped a lot in terms of managing my own career and publicity for my music and my YouTube channel - which was my motivating factor in choosing my program and specialisation in university. The skills I learned have helped me better understand the industry and the tools/skills needed/necessary in order to succeed and thrive in this digital age - which has been a valuable asset to me as an entertainer and social media influencer. In terms of representing others, I honestly don’t have the time.
Covering my own career is a full-time job in itself and I don’t dedicate or have as much time as I would like to get as much as I want done. Representing anyone else would just cause me to neglect my own career. I do give advice to friends who are aspiring artists and make YouTube advice videos on occasion as well. I highly recommend other artists educate themselves as much as possible in order to help themselves manage their careers and understand the industry they are getting into.
Back to your music . Broken Dreams feels like it could be the start of an E.P. are there plans for more music next year?
YES! I spent last year recording/producing the start of my E.P. (including Broken Dreams) out in Los Angeles, California and plan on releasing more music in 2017. I will definitely have my E.P. out in the New Year - date to be announced.
I am hoping to get a couple more tracks done to add to my repertoire so I have been writing a lot and trying to decide on what will best suit the E.P. - to go with what I already have done.
I will be posting updates on my website and social media pages. I am obsessed with Snapchat so that’s my daily method of connecting with/updating everyone on the goings on.
I can imagine you’d go over a storm in the U.K. Have you ever played here or have plans to do so in the future?
Thank you! That is so great to hear! I would LOVE to perform in the U.K. I currently don’t have any plans to visit or perform out there but if the opportunity came up I wouldn’t hesitate, that’s for sure.
Looking ahead to the coming year: what do you hope to achieve as a musician and YouTuber?
So far I am really happy with how well Broken Dreams has been received and am glad everyone is loving it.
In the upcoming year, I definitely want to release my E.P. and start performing my new music. I would love to start hearing my songs on local radio too - Broken Dreams just played on a radio station in a town called Peterborough recently; that was so exciting!
I also LOVE writing and recording/producing so I plan to work on new music this upcoming year as well. I also want to film another music video for one of my songs that will be on my E.P. - I love being in front of the camera; acting and working with a team. I would love to grow my audience on my YouTube channel and post more exciting content (to connect and interact with my viewers). I pretty much just want to continue doing what I love and be able to do more of it full-time and dedicate more time to everything.
Christmas is coming up. How will you be spending it and what is top of your present list?
I will be spending Christmas with my family. Family is so important and mine has been so incredibly supportive of me and my dreams. I have a big family and we are all very close so I spread my time out between everyone - especially during the holidays.
I don’t really have anything I want for Christmas. I currently have everything I could wish and hope for - my health, my family and friends; my music. All I want is for everyone I love’s health and happiness and to continue to have the opportunity do what I love - which is to make music, entertain and create content people love to watch on my YouTube channel - www.youtube.com/c/breetaylor. If I HAD to pick something I guess it would be to get everyone reading this to subscribe to my channel ;)
Is there any advice you’d like to offer any upcoming musicians looking to follow in your footsteps?
My advice is to believe in yourself and keep going no matter what anyone thinks or tells you - or what that voice of doubt in the back of your head might say. If this is truly your dream and you want it more than anything - don’t give up.
Perseverance and a positive attitude are key. Don’t let anyone deter you from your dream, not even yourself.
This is a long and hard journey but it is worth it if you love what you do and keep a positive attitude no matter what challenges life throws your way.
Finally, and for being a good sport, you can select any song you like (not yours as I’ll include that) and I’ll play it here.
I am OBSESSED (like most of the world) with Closer by the Chainsmokers (ft. Halsey) and am even more obsessed with the music video.
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