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Alysha Brilla branched out on her own in Ontario after deciding not to stay in California. • PHOTO COURTESY STEFAN CHIRILA

Alysha Brilla branched out on her own in Ontario after deciding not to stay in California. • PHOTO COURTESY STEFAN CHIRILA

K-W based singer/songwriter Alysha Brilla is making music on her terms

Bob Egan

Local singer-songwriter Alysha Brilla has a career story that most musicians would envy – awards and accolades at a young age, a recording contract, a publishing/songwriting deal and a management team. You’ve even heard her music on Country Music Television and the television show DeGrassi High.

Her story is the classic, inspiring tale of talent, hard work and being true to one’s self.

“I started writing and performing in my early teens and won a $20,000 recording deal with a producer in Toronto. My mom would drive me in after school and that’s how I made my first demo — I was still in high school!“ she said.

After high school she followed her passion for jazz to Humber College and immersed her- self in writing, recording, performing and networking on the Toronto scene. Within two years she had management, label and publishing deals and began spending a lot of time in L.A. co- writing and collaborating with respected industry players. She was on top of the world, or so it seemed.

“I am grateful for those experiences but I began to feel like I was being forced into a role that wasn’t really me. I was expected to write and perform dance music but jazz, Afro and Brazilian music is what I loved. My parents, my manager and my label all wanted me to stick with it, to succeed obviously.”

But after two years of commuting to L.A., Brilla pulled the plug on her dance music career. “It felt like a break-up, it was very difficult. But in my heart of hearts I knew I had to be true to myself.” The industry turned their back on her and she was on her own. She was even prohib- ited from releasing her own music for over a year.

It was a year well spent because her re-bound reads like a chapter from the indie rock mani- festo. She was determined to record and release her own full-length album. She raised enough money locally through the crowdsourcing site IndieGoGo to make her record. Then she re- united with the Toronto musicians that she once played with back in her days at Humber College.

They entered the esteemed Toronto studio Revolution Sound and created her masterpiece. “It was such good karma, everyone kicked in to support me and help me. They all understood that I had to follow my passion, I am so grateful for that.”

The result is the newly released In My Head, a stunning collection of Brilla’s compositions (on her own label) — beautiful melodies and singing surrounded by the music close to her heart. “Holding the finished record in my hand was one of the greatest days of my life.”

Fortunately for us, for as far and wide as Alysha has travelled, she calls K-W her home. “I have had so much support from the community here, the Grand River Blues Society, the K-W Society of Artists, Octoberfest and all my fans, friends and family. This is my home.”

“In my Head” can be purchased locally at Sunrise Records in Fairview Mall and on iTunes.