Entertainment

Ottawa’s Brea Lawrenson Celebrates a Summer of New Music

Brea Lawrenson is an Ottawa-born Country artist who has been creating and sharing music since she was 13. In her teen years, Brea was a pop artist who dominated regional singing competitions in classical and broadway styles. At 21, she switched her genre to Country, and never looked back. Today, she is an award-winning country singer and songwriter who records all of her music in Nashville. When she’s in Ottawa, the self-titled homebody enjoys connecting with her fan base on social media, and hosts her own Podcast called ‘The Distillery’, where she shares stories from her time performing, writing and recording all over the world. Her audience reaches The Netherlands and Brazil, Canada and America. 

 

Just one week ago, Brea celebrated a career milestone and achieved one of her wildest dreams–she shared the stage as an opener for Shania Twain at Ottawa Bluesfest. 

 

We caught up with Lawrenson to discuss her new Nashville-inspired music, life as a new mom, and how she prepared for a ‘full-circle’ moment as a Bluesfest artist this summer.

 

You grew up in Carleton Place. Tell us about your childhood, and how you found music at such a young age.

 

My mom was a huge music lover while I was growing up and she still is. I remember listening to her favourite albums in the car to and from school and all over The Ottawa Valley when I started to perform often. It was the day that my dad sat down at the piano and played one of my favorite songs from the Free Willy movie, after only hearing it once and he played it by ear like he’d been playing it for years. That was the moment I knew I wanted that Super Power, and luckily I had, what my choir and vocal instructors said, Perfect Pitch. So my parents put me in singing and piano lessons. I learned Opera music and how to sing in Latin at the age of 12 and went on to win first place in Classical and Broadway in Montreal at a big singing competition there.

 

When did you know that you wanted to pursue a career in country music? Who in your family supported you and inspired you to do so?

 

I grew up on 90’s country because my dad loved country music. And he always wanted me to sing Country. My mom loved Classic Rock and so did I but I wanted to be more of a ‘POP’ Artist than anything. I recorded my first album at 15 and it was POP and I did go on to record a few more Pop demos and albums during my teens. But it was when I was about 21 that I decided country music was the focus and then I rebranded and recorded an album with Keith Glass (Guitarist of ‘Prairie Oyster’) called ‘Somewhere To Go’ and it’s on my Spotify, Youtube Channel and is available for streaming everywhere. Throughout my whole life, my mom has been my support system and has acted as my manager for all these years. We work so well together and she’s the backbone of my career, a voice of reason when I feel like quitting. I owe how far I’ve come and all I’ve learned to her.

You recently released Neon Nashville, what’s the inspiration behind this song?

‘Neon Nashville’ is a dreamer’s song. It’s about the nature of being a struggling artist in Nashville. It’s about chasing a dream and getting all the way up the hill and realizing that maybe it’s not what it seems or it’s not as glorious as you thought it would be. Going to Nashville so regularly, I have had a front row seat to how hard artists have to work in Nashville for just tips in a Pickle Jar. Being in that kind of atmosphere has inspired me but also taught me a lot.

 

 

This summer, you’re scheduled to play at Ottawa Bluesfest, on the same stage as Shania Twain. You’ve described this as a full-circle moment, and a dream come true. What does this achievement mean to you?

 

Being given the opportunity to perform on Shania Twain’s stage means everything to me. It is a full circle moment for me, meaning, I dreamt about this moment a thousand times and saw it in my head play out, singing my songs for a crowd of fans that have supported a woman like Shania throughout the years of her global stardom. Shania has inspired me to be a brave woman in the music industry. To be relentless and hard working. I am so excited to bring my show to her crowd in my home city.

 

You are very active on social media, candid, engaging and funny… why is it important to you to be so authentic on social media, and to connect with people in this way?

 

I have always had fun with my social media and I try hard to be engaging and authentic because it’s the fastest way to connect with my audience. I have fans who have become my close friends on TIKTOK, and my community is so supportive and real. What amazing exposure for an Indie Artist like me. You can follow me everywhere through my website brealawrenson.com and be sure to join me on Patreon for exclusive content including thestripped-downn versions of my new music that I am recording in Nashville in the next coming weeks!


Outside of your career, you are also a new mom. What’s your favourite part, or most surprising thing, about the job of parenthood?

 

Being a mom is hard but rewarding. I was surprised at how I could live on no sleep in the beginning! And every day I surprise myself with how natural it feels to be his Mama and to care for him.

What’s your favourite thing about Ottawa?

 

My absolute favourite thing about Ottawa is The Market downtown in the summertime. I love the patios and the vibe on Preston Street in Little Italy and the Pizza at Anthony’s and Roberto’s. I love the Live Music Venues like The Royal Oak’s which is where I started playing bars. And the beautiful parks and walking trails like Andrew Hayden Park which is where I played on my first Ampa Theatre that faces the water. Incredible.

 

What’s your favourite restaurant to go to in Ottawa?

 

I have so many favorite places I love to eat in Ottawa but I’d have to say my all-time favorite restaurant is, Giovanni’s on Preston. Best Cream Chicken and King Crab and Gnocchi! I love the Vibe, I love the food, I love the Wine. I love Italian food.

 

What’s your best advice for aspiring country artists?

 

I’d like to tell any aspiring Country Artists that there are a lot of sharks out there in the industry and if anyone asks you for money to be on a record label or to have a development deal, don’t give them your money. That’s a shark. If you have to do it all on your own, so be it. Beware and BE YOURSELF … No matter what. Getting paid to do what you love.. THAT’S the dream

 

@brealawrenson