Q & A: Country Artist Brandi Vezina on her Latest Singles, her Upcoming EP & her Goals for the New Year
Brandi Vezina is an inspiring woman & artist in the country music scene, with a unique sound that blends the best of traditional country, blues and pop. “A natural-born performer from who comes from a musical Métis family” (Vezina), she has performed across Turtle Island (North America) and participated in various festivals and showcases, including being “ a featured artist on Métis Jig & Jam Variety Show on CTV in 2020. Sakihiwe Festival and Recovery Day Live in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 2019 and 2020. Vezina was also selected to showcase in the virtual Diamonds in the Rough Stage during Canadian Country Music week (2020)” (Vezina). In 2020, she released her singles, “John Dillinger Type” and “Waiting on a Ring”. In early 2021, she released her latest single, “Danger” (Feat Boogey The Beat) and is set to release her debut EP.
Recently I spoke with Vezina about her latest singles, her upcoming EP, her music goals moving forward in the new year and more.
Kyla Pearson: For those who are unfamiliar with your music, can you tell us a bit about your path to pursuing country music? What made you want to become a singer-songwriter?
Brandi Vezina: I grew up in a musical Métis family and my mother married a musician. Music was always around me. It was natural to perform on stage. I had written 3 books, had a column and blogged for a number of years before I started taking my songwriting more seriously.
Songwriting has been the ultimate form of self-expression for me. I channel my own experiences and the experiences of others close to me through my writing.
KP: You’re also Métis. How would you say, your cultural background/heritage has brought a unique and fresh perspective to country music?
Vezina: It is important to me to showcase traditional Métis sounds like the fiddle in my music. I grew up on Loretta Lynn and Johnny Cash this is the music I heard at the kitchen table growing up.
Louis Riel said, “My people will sleep for 100 years, it will be the artists who give them back their Spirit.” I am grateful to be one of those artists putting my people on the map in country music.
KP: You’ve stated that your biggest inspirations include Johnny Cash, The Rolling Stones, Janis Joplin and Miranda Lambert. How has each of them influenced your music? If you could collaborate with one of them, who would it be and why?
Vezina: These are the artists I listened to as a child aside from Miranda. My favourite Uncle would listen to the Rolling Stones, my Papa would sing Johnny Cash songs and my late Auntie Sis sang the most heart-felt “Bobby McGee.” There’s something about the music that raised you that I can’t separate from myself as an artist.
Keith Richards! He is by far my favourite artist. I would love to write and perform with him live. That would be the ultimate dream come true,
KP: You were recognized as “one of CBC Canada’s, the JUNO Awards’ and the National Music Centre’s Searchlight 2020 favourite new Canadian artists. You were also a featured artist on Metis Jig & Jam Variety Show on CTV in 2020 and the Sakihiwe Festival and Recovery Day Live in Winnipeg, Manitoba in 2019 and 2020. Additionally you were also selected to showcase in the virtual Diamonds in the Rough Stage during Canadian Country Music week (2020). How does it feel to be recognized for all your hard work through these opportunities?
Vezina: Yes, Maarsii I’m grateful for all of those opportunities and recognition through Turtle Island (North America).
KP: According to Brandi Morin of The Guardian, “There have been approximately 4,000 or more Indigenous murdered or missing women and girls in the last 30 years. That works out to about 133 a year, or three a week” (Morin). Which is an alarming and heartbreaking statistic. Your single, “Danger” (feat. Boogey the Beat) shares a powerful message (And one that needs to be heard) about the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (MMIWG2S) throughout Turtle Island (North America). What inspired you to write a song that sheds light on such an important issue? Can you tell us a bit more about the process that went into writing/recording this one?
Vezina: “Danger” came to me in a dream. I was awoken to the words danger avoid this my girl, it’ll destroy your world.
I prayed for the words to come to me that weekend as I was walking. When I got back to my hotel room, “Danger” was written in less than an hour.
I contacted CCMA award-winning producer, Murray Pulver, to work on “Danger” with me. He liked it and that started our working relationship together.
“Danger” is the first song I wrote for my album #dontsettle; however, it wasn’t the first release. This spring, I asked producer Boogey the Beat to join the track with Pulver and I.
This song is for my women. If “Danger” helps one woman think about her circumstances and intuitively discern that a situation isn’t safe then it “Danger” has done its job.
KP: Your single, “Waiting on a Ring” was released in August 2020 and is your last single off your upcoming EP. The song speaks directly to women, imploring them not to settle in a relationship or wait for a ring and be happy on their own. Can you tell us a bit about the songwriting/recording process that went into making the song, as well as your inspiration for it?
Vezina: I literally bought myself a diamond ring for my fifth sober birthday in Kenora, Ontario. I wrote, “Waiting on a Ring” thinking about some of my girlfriends going through messy divorces and the unenjoyable circumstances in their marriages like having to hide online orders.
That’s not my life! I intentionally create beautiful experiences and have set powerful boundaries to like my job and relationships.
I worked with producer Randy Heibert (lead guitar player for the Bellamy Brothers) on this one. It was a lot of fun to record and the video was a blast. My friends and band members are in it and I love the energy. It was a lot of fun to record and shoot!
KP: Your EP, “Don’t Settle” is set to be released in September 2021. Can you tell us a bit more about it and the other tracks on the EP, besides Danger & Waiting on a Ring? How has that process that went into putting the EP together differed from your singles?
Vezina: I have 3 unreleased singles to go on #dontsettle along with “Walk Away,” “John Dillinger Type,” “Waiting on a Ring” and “Danger.”
#dontsettle is pieces and parts of my life and my experiences. It’s been cathartic to write, record and soon to release. It’s truly parts of my Spirit from living toxic relationships and workplaces to embracing a life I love.
I’m working on the last two tracks now, Murray and I are working with producer Terrence Lam (“Here” Alessia Cara and “Too Good” Drake featuring Rihanna) on one of the tracks. It’ll be pop meets country with an interesting topic that I think many people will relate to.
KP: Moving forward in 2021, what is one goal you hope to achieve with your music by the end of the year? Do you plan on releasing new music other than your upcoming EP?
I am working with a music tracker in Europe, so my goal is to be on charts across North America and Europe. My goal is to tour with my band in 2021.
I have material for my follow-up album with co-writes with some amazing Canadian artists including Nicole Rayy. One song I’ll be releasing was written with Albertan singer/songwriters Liz and Buddy Elliot.
To learn more about Vezina and her music, be sure to check out her website & socials:
Amazon Music: https://music.amazon.ca/artists/B07WTR4PT5/brandi-vezina
Morin, Brandi. “Indigenous Women Are Preyed on at Horrifying Rates. I Was One of Them | Brandi Morin.” The Guardian, Guardian News & Media Limited or its affiliated companies, 7 Sept. 2020, www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/sep/07/canada-indigenous-women-and-girls-missing. Accessed 14 Feb. 2021.
Vezina, Brandi. Interview. Conducted by Kyla Pearson, Feb.14th, 2021.
Unknown. “Featured: Country artist Brandi Vezina”. Photo courtesy of Brandi Vezina. Accessed Feb. 14th, 2021.
Originally published at https://www.kylapearson.ca on March 12, 2021.