Winnipeg-based singer songwriter Brandi Vezina released her new single “Gasoline” to streaming last week, and we are loving it.
I had the chance to sit down with Brandi on the virtual front porch to talk about the new single, her songwriting process, and her FIVE Manitoba Country Music Association award nominations.
An Interview With Brandi Vezina
Jason: Good morning Brandi, and thanks for joining us on the virtual porch with Front Porch Music!
Brandi: Thanks for having me!
J: When did music become an important part of your life?
B: Music was always an important part of my life. I come from a musical Metis family. And from the time I was small, my family was having parties in the kitchen, they were singing, they were harmonizing. It was just always part of my life. My mother married a musician. And they kind of really made me have a different mindset on the music industry. So I kind of stayed on the periphery and enjoyed a lot of shows.
I played with my grandparents in their little family band. My uncle, who just passed away, he got me singing quite a bit. And then I started taking music more seriously. But in 2018, I decided I wasn’t happy with my nine to five as an educator, and then I got very serious about learning about the music industry.
I approached my producer, Murray Pulver, with some songs I had written he liked. And then I put out my first single in 2019. And things have really sped up amazingly since then.
J: Do you think that your upbringing influenced the way that you create music at all?
B: Oh, most definitely. Most definitely.
I am pretty wild by nature. And if you listen to my lyrics, it’s kind of like an “outlaw female” sense, in that I write about the things that I want to write about. Not because they’re dainty, and they’re pretty, and they’re going to make it on commercial radio. I write about what I want to say. I was given that freedom as a child to be who I am.
J: Are there any musical artists that you take a lot of inspiration from? What do you think you take from them?
B: Well, definitely the Rolling Stones, number one. They always did what they wanted to do, and they made music that they wanted to make, and they are extraordinary. In my opinion, there’s no better writers than Mick [Jagger] and Keith [Richards] together. Keith is the epitome of rock and roll.
Johnny Cash says he said what he wanted to say, but his music wasn’t just fluff. Politically, he spoke about things that people didn’t want to hear about and wrote about it.
And Miranda Lambert, because she writes her own music and she is a hard working woman and she’s business minded. She’s a smart woman.
J: I think that you’re the first person I’ve interviewed to ever say Rolling Stones as an influence for their music! That’s really fantastic.
Moving to your new single: where did the inspiration for “Gasoline” come from? Is this from personal experience you have, or is it more of a general idea of this kind of situation that you’re writing about?
B: It’s personal experience. about the good old fashioned on again, off again relationships.
J: I think a ton of people can definitely relate to that. Did you find it hard to write a song about that kind of thing? Or does it come naturally to you?
B: I had an idea of what I wanted to say. But this went in a lot more of a sensual direction than I thought it was going to. We went there. I’m owning it.
J: In terms of the songwriting process, it’s very easy as a creator to always work on something and to perfect it over and over and never feel like it’s finished. How do you as an artist decide when something is ready for the public to hear?
B: I trust the process. I put a lot of faith in my producer, Murray.
With “Gasoline”, I knew what I was bringing. I liked it off the hop, and I didn’t want to change it a lot. But I trust Murray, and I know he is always going to bring what the song needs.
I’m not the type of person who will sit on it for two years and pick it apart. I’m not that person. I know intuitively when I like something. I want to sing it. I plan on singing it for 15 years on stage. And if I don’t feel that, I won’t bring it to him.
J: When listeners are hearing “Gasoline” for the first time, what do you think their emotions are going to be? What are people going to take away from the song?
B: I want it to be a little bit of a revenge song for people to be like “that was then, this is now”. They’re learning the lesson I needed to learn from that time. Did I have a good time? Probably. But I want them to feel that it is like there is a sensual nature to it. And that’s the hook. That’s the hook of an on again off again relationship: it doesn’t last if it isn’t real.
J: Do you think it’s that kind of forbidden fruit aspect that attracts people to these kinds of situations?
B: Most definitely. 99.9% of the time you know that it’s not gonna last bad for you. It’s short term. It’s fast, it’s furious. It’s like a flame. It goes up quick. And it burns out quick too.
J: So you’ve been nominated for five Manitoba Country Music Association Awards, which is fantastic. So congratulations on that. How does it feel to be recognized in this way?
B: Friggin humbling. Humbling, and also just so incredibly grateful to be recognized for the work that I’ve been putting in. I’m not gonna sit here and say that I haven’t been working my tail off. I have, of course, so it’s just really humbling to see that if you put in the work into something that you’re passionate about, and that you’re driven to do that, and then it starts paying off… it’s insane. I’m so grateful
J: Is there one category in particular that you’re excited to be nominated for?
B: I mean, every single one is like a feather in the cap. I have gratitude for every single one, but to be recognized for Album of the Year… that’s my blood sweat and tears.
J: Obviously, a single release is a huge, huge thing. You’ve also done an album in the form of “#dontsettle”. Do you have any future plans, or are you just kind of playing it by ear?
B: I have some awesome gigs booked. I’m going to some festivals in Manitoba in the fall. Amazing opportunities are coming in.
I can’t stress enough how grateful I am to be doing this. I went from being completely unsatisfied in my 9-to-5 to this. I’m so grateful to be playing in my community, so there’s a lot of community gigs coming up in the next bit.
J: Before I let you go, is there anything else you want the Front Porch audience to know?
B: I’m just really grateful. And thank you for loving Canadian country music. Because without you guys, and without Front Porch Music, we wouldn’t be given the opportunity to do what we do. Thank you, merci.
Follow Brandi On Social Media
You can stream “Gasoline” wherever you get your music, and you can follow Brandi on her website and socials below.
Stream “Gasoline” by Brandi Vezina
Jason Saunders is a graduate from both the English Literature program at Trent University and the Journalism program and Seneca College. He has a passion for music, writing, and all things creative.