I love music, almost any kind of music. Recently two emerging artists were brought to my attention, so I had a listen to each of their CD’s to see what they are all about. After the recent international success of Brampton native, Alessia Cara, it seems others from “The 905” are reaching for the same success…and even have very similar names!

Music, especially country music, is what Mississauga native Alessia Cohle is all about. In June 2015 Alessia released her debut EP, “Let’s Get Gone”, introducing her to the country music scene and capturing the hearts of country music fans with her breakthrough single, “Sunday Shoes“. The single hit airwaves across country radio in both Canada and the United States.

First things first, this is “new” country, or what I like to refer to as “country pop”. So think more Taylor Swift than Tammy Wynette.

Her first single, “How Bad“, from her debut full-length  album, “Talk to Me”, was recently released to Canadian country radio. The album was produced by Douglas Romanow, who has collaborated with artists such as Justin Bieber, Johnny Reid, Chantal Kreviazuk, Divine Brown, and Tyga.

Cohle’s love of music began at the early age of eight, when she attended her first concert – Shania Twain’s, ‘Come On Over Tour’. It was this experience that encouraged Alessia to begin performing at local fairs, festivals, and even sing duets alongside her grandfather. The excitement and passion left a permanent mark and desire in her soul to follow a career in music. 

Classically trained in voice and piano, she graduated with a Bachelor of Music, Honors Specialization in Music Education (Voice) from the University of Western Ontario. She was then accepted to the inaugural class at the prestigious Berklee College of Music – Valencia Campus in Spain, where she earned a Master of Music in Contemporary Performance.

She’s recently performed at Indie Week Canada and local Ontario festivals, has co-wrote music in Nashville with great talents, appeared on country radio, and also on television. In 2015, Alessia was selected as spokesperson for Steve’s Music Toronto’s first ever “Steve’s Supports Country” Campaign with their co-country sponsor Boots and Bourbon Saloon.

Her new album does a great job at “country pop”, and there’s a few tunes that would work well on the dance floor at any number of Top 40 dance clubs. Most definitely someone to watch out for in 2017!

Two-time Juno Award nominated singer-songwriter, producer and community organizer Alysha Brilla is a critically acclaimed Indian-Tanzanian-Canadian artist who just released her third self produced album, “HUMAN”.  That in itself should make one stand up and take notice.

The first single from this newest release, “No More Violence”, reached the top three of the CBC Top 20 Countdown, and it will definitely get you dancing and singing along, if not on the first listen, then the second and third. Born in Mississauga, Ontario to an Indo-Tanzanian immigrant father and a European-Canadian mother, Alysha Brilla grew up in a household with unique discourse around the arts and social politics.

Brilla’s new music draws on the influences of her unique background. An ancestral journey to her father’s homeland in 2015 delivered inspiration for Brilla to write and produce the 10 new songs on “Human”; a lyrically timely record blending Indian & East African sounds with a contemporary aesthetic.

Brilla has been producing music for over eight years; inspired by producers such as Mark Ronson, Stephen Marley and Linda Perry, as well as the talented producers she has personally worked with (Boots, Ron Lopata, Brian West, Marcus Kane).

In addition to musical works, Brilla produced, directed and scored the soundtrack for the short film “Supporting Indigenous Students”. This documentary looks at how Post-Secondary Institutions in Ontario and Canada can better support the influx of First Nations students and accommodate the varying histories and experiences they may have. “Supporting Indigenous Students” is set to be released January 2017.

Included in Chatelaine Magazine’s “Women Of The Year” 2015, Brilla is a certified yoga teacher; learned in Rishikesh, India, and her philosophies of well-being can be seen in both her art and activism. She;’s an arts educator, frequently conducting music and social justice workshops in elementary schools across Canada and internationally.  

TEDx speaker and Oktoberfest Woman Of The Year Arts & Culture Award recipient, Brilla has been a mentor for YWCA’s “Rock Weekend”, helping marginalized female youth develop social skills through music. A multi-racial child of the Indian diaspora, her art aims to unite people through the Canadian cultural kaleidoscope and bring light to social inequity issues in Canada and abroad. Her music and workshops feature strong themes of cultural diversity, gender equality and inclusivity.

This album is such an engaging piece of music, reflective of the diversity and strong musical forces that are currently making waves across Canada, and specifically Ontario.. Again, another Canadian musician to watch out for next year, with a busy touring schedule, many workshops in schools and producing new meaningful musical works.

Featured image of Alyssa Brilla by Josh Haggarty. Co-Founder/CEO of aBabe Music.

About the Author

Bryen Dunn is a freelance journalist with a focus on travel, lifestyle, entertainment and hospitality. He has an extensive portfolio of celebrity interviews with musicians, actors and other public personalities. He enjoys discovering delicious eats, tasting spirited treats, and being mesmerized by musical beats.