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Fanshawe grad Brady in it for the long haul

T.K. Dallman | Interrobang | Lifestyles | January 11th, 2010

If it wasn't for Fanshawe College, former student and singer-songwriter Jillian Brady says she would “probably be drunk in a karaoke bar somewhere singing the same song over and over again!”

This young songstress was a 2008 graduate of the Fanshawe's Music Industry Arts program, which had a profound effect on her life. Now a resident of Aylmer, a small town just south of London, Brady has taken up a weekly residency at The Barking Frog for their Acoustic Tuesdays program while performing her own material on the side. One such performance will be on January 9th at the London Music Club.

Jillian Brady“You learn great things [at college] that you most likely wouldn't have on your own,” Brady said in an e-mail. “I have met some great people that have helped me discover some pretty cool things about myself.”

Certainly, Brady fully realized her passion for music at Fanshawe, though she grew up closely attached to classic singer-songwriters like Joni Mitchell, Bob Dylan and Neil Young: favourites from the farming community of Kemptville, where she grew up. Life was different there, filled with “a lot of John Deere apparel, trucks, and hang-outs at Tim Hortons.”

But as she has matured, so have Brady's musical tastes, and her range of musical influences keeps widening. “As time goes on, I dig deeper into the massive record collection that my partner-in crime and I have collected. The music I run into always comes from someone passing it on, [like] The Black Keys, Jason Collett, The Nylons, Nick Drake, [or] Spoon.”

And while she takes influence from these artists, Brady's not trying to copy what they do. “It's hard to emulate these people, so I don't bother trying. [I] look to the song gods and say... please help!”

Still, Brady's music shows a clear connection to her contemporaries from the 60s and 70s, as she captures both the delicacy of Joni Mitchell and acoustic wailing of Janis Joplin. It's a perfect fit for solo performance, and the stage is one place Brady has known for years.

“My first encounter with performing was actually with a singing/dancing troop that traveled all over! Let's just say it kept me really busy and out of trouble. It was quite bubble was a huge wad of big chew!”

And while she remembers it in a mostly positive light, Brady still maintains, “I'm glad I found the acoustic, let me tell you!”

In fact, it wasn't until college that Brady made her first foray into the world of rock music with The Inhouse Mavericks, a band formed at Fanshawe College with whom she toured until graduation, when the members went their separate ways.

Now as a solo artist, Brady has been learning much about what it takes to create a sustainable career in the music industry.

“You have to love it, have passion and drive! If you pursue it with vigor, it will happen… So I am just going to practice, play, practice more and keep playing. You have to do all the work yourself until someone believes in you!”

And though the music industry if notoriously volatile, Brady's up for the challenge, knowing that music careers take time. “Do you want to be lucky, or have a lifetime of people buying your records? I don't mind if it takes a while, because I want to stay for a long time!”

Brady will be performing at the London Music Club on January 9. Tickets are $5 at the door.
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