Growing up in Vancouver, Tia Brazda says “singing and writing became like companions” that she still has to this day. Coming to London to promote his new album When I get low With a gig at Pizza Express Holborn on May 2, she talks to LJN about her discovery of jazz as a teenager, how singing helps overcome emotions, and her English heritage. Preview of Rob Adams:
Tia Brazda can’t wait to make her London debut at Pizza Express Live in Holborn on Monday May 2 – and take a trip in a black cab.
The Canadian singer with a distinctly seductive vocal timbre will promote her latest album, When I get low (Flatcar Records), on which she mainly focuses on songs written between the Great Depression and World War II. It’s an era that makes easy comparison to today’s world, but while the album, at first glance, might have a dystopian theme, Vancouver-born Brazda turns it into an uplifting, dreamy experience. and nostalgic with a touch of courage.
Singing was a vocation from an early age for Brazda, who says she did her first solo performance at her local church when she was four or five years old.
“As far back as I can remember, I’ve sung,” she says. “I was trying to write my own songs in elementary school and growing up mostly as an only child, I had to find creative ways to entertain myself. Singing and writing became like companions to me – and they remain so to this day.
At the end of her adolescence, she made her first discovery of jazz, Ella Fitzgerald, who became the singer she tried most to imitate. At the same time, countless hours of listening to Erykah Badu, Norah Jones and Sarah McLachlan guided her writing.
“I was analyzing their lyrics and their song forms – writing them down and looking for patterns,” she says. “I also read a lot of interviews with them and thought their lifestyle sounded like something I would enjoy. I knew I wanted to travel to a lot of places and meet a lot of interesting people when I was there. grew up – and now, thankfully, that’s exactly what I do.
Her distinctive voice has brought Brazda recognition – literally – ever since she turned professional and honed her sound in Toronto clubs.
“A lot of people have always told me that they know me by my voice – whether it’s speaking or singing – and I’m more than okay with that because I think it never hurts to stand out,” she says. “At the end of the day, I just try to be the best singer I can be – as they say, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I’m incredibly grateful to the people who come to my shows – they’re the reason for which I can continue to do what I love.
Brazda made his first recording, an EP titled cabin fever, in 2012. It made a quick impression, reaching number 1 on the Canadian iTunes charts. Three years later, his first full album, Headbandfollowed suit and by 2016 his singular take on the jazz swing style – described as a “hip pastiche” – was established enough to earn headlining status at the Montreal Jazz Festival.
The songs she sings – whether their own or interpretations of existing songs – are usually extensions of her current mood.
“I especially like songs that paint a picture, or even create a short film in my mind when I hear them,” she says. “For my new album, When I get low, which are mostly selections from the Great American Songbook, each song has helped me in some way to endure the past two years. For me, connecting with a song is either expressing feelings I didn’t know I had, or magnifying and helping me sort through what I already feel.
On her Pizza Express date, Brazda will be joined by a quintet made up of Canadian and local musicians – pianist charlie flinttrumpeter Byron Wallenguitarist Wes Carrollbass player Chris Adrian and drummer Morgan Childs – who were chosen to help Brazda bring the songs to life.
“The most important thing about performing, for me, is that I connect emotionally with others,” she says. “I hope people leave my show feeling seen. If I can lift their spirits or if they leave with a greater appreciation for jazz, then that makes me happy too! My grandmother was from England , so it’s a bit of a heritage trip for me besides being there for work. Besides checking the usual landmarks, I plan to walk around and explore downtown. Find somewhere nice to have a tea and take in the scene – but I also love your taxis and can’t wait to see the city that way too!”
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LINKS: Tia Brazda’s website
Tia Brazda at Pizza Express Holborn