In Conversation With . . . Alysha Brillinger, Part I

As a child, Canadian singer-songwriter Alysha Brillinger enjoyed a creative freedom that encouraged a prodigious musical talent. With two parents who loved music and three sisters who could be recruited as singers and dancers in living room productions, Alysha could expand on that talent: by the age of eight she was arranging three-part harmonies and producing recordings using a two-track tape recorder.

Her focus has not flagged, and She’s no slouch at hiking the hills and valleys of a demanding musical career.

?I definitely work very hard at what I do, but it has never felt tedious,? Alysha says. ?I always enjoy music?playing, writing, and recording. I suppose the creative side is the most rewarding, while the business side is the fine print you forget to read about when you sign up to be a musician. It’s not what you bargain on, but it’s thrown in with everything else, and it’s a learning experience.?

Alysha’s 14th year was a significant one; her family moved to Kitchener, Ontario, where she taught herself how to play the guitar. And she had her first shot at singing live with a band after happening upon a blues bar in downtown Kitchener and walking up to the open mike.

?I absolutely fell in love,? says Alysha. ?There’s something so timeless and raw in blues that I really connect with. It truly permeates every musical genre, including reggae, soul, boogaloo, and jazz, all of which emerge in my music as undertones.?

Alysha has crafted a unique personal musical style by combining blues, reggae, and other genres to make funky, punchy, lovable tunes that express love and triumph over loss. She recently finished the Tower of Song Tour, shared with Kristen Bussandri, in which she performed at venues in Montreal and Toronto. She has also released her debut EP and is now at work on a full-length record.

For Alysha, music has a transcendent power that can transform lives: ?My music is overall very positive,? she says. ?I am inspired . . . by the ideology that music truly heals and cures. It heals both the songwriter and the listener. The songwriter is able to channel . . . experiences into song and the listeners are hopefully given an articulation of something they otherwise didn’t know they felt or didn’t know how to express.?

Her song ?Better Soon? was written in 2010, during a dark period in Alysha’s life. Her dear friend Jimmy had been diagnosed with cancer, but something told her to hang on and believe in the light at the end of the tunnel.

?I released this song and video in January,? she remembers. ?Shortly after that we held a big fundraiser for Jimmy and he told me that this song was his anthem and that throughout his struggle with cancer it had helped him stay positive.?

?Hearing that really touched me because I was also in a rough place emotionally when I wrote this song, but I knew I wanted to convey a message of hope . . . for myself, for Jimmy, and for everyone who hears it.?

?Sometimes, when You’re sad or depressed,? Alysha says, ?you don’t know what could possibly make you feel better, and That’s what ?Better Soon? is about. The fact is that our remedy could be anything, anywhere, or anyone, and just like that, we’re given another chance.?