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This article was published 14/9/2021 (291 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
A local singer-songwriter is about to drop her debut album, and she’s excited to share it with the world.
On Sept. 25, Brandi Vezina will be releasing her debut record #DONTSETTLE with a concert at the Royal Albert Arms.
"The record is fun, it’s catchy, it’s cheeky," said Vezina, a longtime East Kildonan resident. "My music is an authentic piece of me. I create from a place deep within my Spirit and allow what’s inside of me out. I hope my fans can feel that."
Growing up in a musical family, singing and playing music was just something they did.
"My mom married a musician when I was a child, and he gigged and played and toured," Vezina said. "My mother’s a singer. Her family, they’re a Metis musical family well known throughout Manitoba. My grandparents, we always sang, singing was something we always did."
Vezina’s brother Jesse Bandura is also a well-known country musician in the local scene.
Vezina graduated from Kildonan-East Collegiate, then went to university and became a teacher. But the music of her youth never left her. Starting in 2013, Vezina began to take her music seriously.
"I recognized that I was not happy," she said. "So I started taking vocal lessons with Uncle Ray Ray (Ray St. Germain). My auntie was married to his brother."
In 2013, she entered a song she wrote in NCI Jam and started playing with a small band. She kept at it, slowly but surely, and in 2018 began to put the pieces together for what would eventually become her debut record.
"I wrote my first song in a Manitoba Arts Network’s Emerging Indigenous program," she said. "Then I wrote to Murray Pulver and we’ve met and made some real musical magic."
In the lead up to the record’s release, Vezina has won accolades for her music. She was the 2021 Manitoba winner in the Jim Beam National Virtual Search, has been added to multiple Apple Music playlists, nominated for a Summer Solstice Indigenous Music Award, and more. She’s certainly kept busy during the ongoing pandemic, when live music has often been put on hold.
"I’ve done a lot of virtual shows," Vezina said. "I played the Ex, the University of Manitoba powwow, and lots of livestreams."
Having a killer band in her back pocket has helped bring her music to life.
"I have a great band. I love my band," she said. "The energy they bring is infectious. I refuse to have people in my band who aren’t kind and talented."
Following the release party for #DONTSETTLE, Vezina and the band will hit the road, performing with the Manitoba Arts Network’s Indigenous Celebration Tour for 10 tour dates throughout Indigenous communities in the province. She’s also already hard at work on a follow up record.
"The songs are really coming to life," she said. "I’m grateful for my fans and people supporting my music career."
For more information on Vezina and her CD release show, visit facebook.com/events/869995603629245
Sheldon Birnie is a reporter/photographer for the Free Press Community Review. The author of Missing Like Teeth: An Oral History of Winnipeg Underground Rock (1990-2001), his writing has appeared in journals and online platforms across Canada, the U.S. and the U.K. A husband and father of two young children, Sheldon enjoys playing guitar and rec hockey when he can find the time. Email him at email@example.com Call him at 204-697-7112