“Benefits of You” Amberlea Bruch

“I wrote this song to remind folks that they deserve unconditional love in a relationship and to stand up for what they want on the journey to find it.”

Photo Credit: Sarah Martin

An emerging country music artist, Amberlea Bruch’s sound is rooted in natural instrumentation and elements that provide an almost live tonal quality. Her hope is that as a result, the listener feels the heartbeat in each of her songs and the stories they illustrate.

From Woodstock, Ontario (now based in Guelph). Grew up dancing and singing in your bedroom to Broadway, jazz, and pop classics. Your dad gifted you your first guitar at age 16. You learned the classical guitar and piano, focusing on singing and writing your own music. A vocal coach helped you put it all together when you were in university. What was the key moment when you realized this for sure would be your career path?

I always knew music was what I wanted to pursue, singing in particular. Music has been the one thing I’ve always known for sure, however, it took me a little while to gain confidence in my abilities. As a kid, I remember hiding that I wanted to be a musician. I did a talent show or two at school singing along to a Karaoke song and I was hooked, but I told no one.

You see music wasn’t seen as a logical career choice in my family and as a people pleaser, it felt against the grain to embark on that journey without approval from my family whom I love so much. So rather than follow my heart completely, I settled on a compromise — Business School in Toronto. I’d get the logical education that would likely apply to anything I worked at and continue to pursue music through lessons on the side.

A major turning point for me was when I wrote my first song. I had written poems for years but never knew how to put words to music. I was so scared I’d get it wrong.

Then I heard a quote from Ed Sheeran: “It’s like turning on an old faucet for the first time, you have to let the muddy water run clear.”

You just have to start and get the bad songs out of the way, so the good ones can emerge. So I told myself just to write. My first song didn’t have to be good but I had to write it.

After that first song, so many followed. So many — each one amazing and surprising me by the magical feeling of bringing them to life. From there, I started performing more, which at first terrified me as much as it excited me but by then, there was no turning back. Since it’s just been a matter of what more or different opportunities can I embark on each year to grow as an artist?

Inspired by Shania Twain, Maren Morris, John Mayer, Phil Collins. How have those artists impacted the stories you chose to write about in your songs “Something New,” “I Won’t Fold,” and “Usually?”

Something all of these artists have is writing with a sense of timelessness, being able to write classics that continue to resonate and be just as powerful as time moves on. This I believe is largely in part to their ability to be honest in a way that is general enough that others can resonate and connect with the music. These artists create songs that captivate listeners in a way that the listener can visualize themselves as the main character in each of the songs. They all write from an unapologetic place of sharing their emotions in the most authentic ways.

Listening to the likes of these artists built and shaped how I hear melody, harmony, and tone. Sonically, they have helped me to fall in love with the pairing of the perfect lyrical visual to the melody and to remind me to be honest in what I’m writing. It’s not about sounding like anyone else, it’s about sounding like yourself. They inspire me to write from experience to create songs people can live with, which hopefully help them to process the works around them too.

In particular each of the above mentioned artists inspires something different in my work: Shania has those energetic rock-pop country hooks that make want to dance and celebrate life. Maren Morris showcases the ability to capsulize moments in your life through her powerful visual lyrics and thoughtful pondering. Similarly to Maren, John, just tears me apart with his way of looking at the world paired with unmatched guitar tones. Lastly Phil Collins brings in the drums and heartbeat that made me feel alive growing up. There are pieces of inspiration from them in all of my songs.

“I recently came across the Naomi Osaka documentary on Netflix. Through watching her dedication and the refining of her craft, along with seeing a couple of amazing artist friends do the same, I was reminded that in order to get the life of your dreams you’ve got to feel you’re already in it. You’ve got to walk the walk. Put in the practice. Put in the time.” Awarded a grant through the FACTOR Artist Development Program at the end of last year. How will it help you develop your own career and influence music across Canada through new projects?

The FACTOR grant is helping me to jump into some different opportunities this year and expand my team to working with Novacurrent Public Relations for the release of “Benefits of You.” Financially, the journey as an artist can add up quite quickly, but with FACTOR’s help, I’m able to invest in opportunities I might not have been able to otherwise to further support the release of my music and as a result be able reach new audiences. Additionally, having support with promoting “Benefits of You” affords me more time to focus on practicing and performing which has been a wonderful balance for which I am incredibly grateful.

“I don’t know why but songwriting sessions bring me back to life.” Longtime love of songwriting and performing gained new inroads in the past year. The Songbird Series, co-founded with fellow artist Emily Clair, is an all-female Canadian singer-songwriter community focused on building up female Canadian singer-songwriters by providing them with a platform to connect and perform through Instagram Live. What other ways are indie artists like yourself finding support?

Being an artist can at times be a lonely path, so writers’ rounds like the Songbirds Series have been a fundamental experience to be able to feel community and support as indie artists over the past two years. Additionally, here in Canada, I’ve enjoyed participating in virtual writing camps through Cuttable Music (Rich Cloke and Elias James). These writing camps have introduced me to many talented writers in Canada and have connected me with other indie artists. Being able to also participate in Canadian Country Music Association (CCMA) and Country Music Association of Ontario (CMAO) events to network with artists in person has been incredible.

Both you and Clair will perform at the inaugural Music From The Vineyard Country Festival at Terra Estate Winery on July 23rd. You shared, “what’s better than a day of wine and music?” What is your favorite wine?

Oh, now this is a tricky question haha! How can I only pick one? I’d have to say right now my go-to for red is a Cabernet Sauvignon and for white is a Chardonnay. That being said, I do have a lot of fun trying new kinds of wine and sharing those finds with friends and family.

“Benefits Of You,” co-written with Cloke and Greg Williams and produced by CMAO-nominated Shawn Moore, is about the benefits of having someone special in a long-awaited relationship. “This song was written as an end to my dating era. I had been through many dating experiences that had me wondering if I’d ever meet someone I could truly be in a healthy relationship with. Suddenly when the world shut down, there he was along with all the things I’d never experienced before — the one you ramble on to late at night, look your best and worst for and it doesn’t matter. I wrote this song to remind folks that they deserve unconditional love in a relationship and to stand up for what they want on the journey to find it. I want people to feel excited and energized listening to this song. My hope is that it sparks them to feel good about who they are, and that when you find true love, it is worth the wait and the detours along the way.” How did your boyfriend, Jack Hopkins, react the first time he heard the song?

The first time Jack heard the song, he loved it. He thought it was really special that I wrote a song about us and was excited to have me record it!

Debut EP releasing this fall. Will it continue the ’90s country sound, with a modern pop twist, of your latest single?

Yes! I love my ’90s country, but also love the modern fuller sounds of today’s pop country. The EP coming in the fall will include “Benefits of You” and other tracks that sonically blend in with its elements.

“I know I’m not alone. I know we are our own harshest critics. So next time y’all see a video you like, throw it a comment. I can promise you it makes our day as artists and creators, not to mention that it helps to remind us as hard as we are on ourselves, someone out there is loving up on what we poured ourselves into.” In what other ways can fans help support artists?

First of all, I have to say a big thank you to the fans and everyone who has supported me and/or music in general thus far. It means the world to any artist to have people living and resonating with their music. We spend so long alone creating these songs not knowing if anyone will enjoy them as we hope, so to have people singing along or jamming out to them is next level joy for us. I think the biggest help is to share, share, share. If you like a song, pop it up on your socials, add it to a playlist, or show a friend or family member. Personally, as a fan I get so excited to share new and favourite artists or albums I find each week. As a music lover, it lights me up to bring fans to other incredible artists. Having support of fans and if we’re lucky enough to also grow that fan base is so special. Y’all truly mean the world to us and are the reason artists get to do what they love for a career!

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