Life takes courage. Creativity takes guts. Music takes gumption. Halifax-based songwriter Andrew Somers has aptly titled her forthcoming album, Brave.
Nearly four years in the making, she says the record embodies all aspects of her sense of self. How she got from here to there and those pivotal moments in-between.
“The songs are snapshots of where I’ve come from and where my road has taken me to this point,” says Somers. “Brave is the theme of my journey as a person, taking on the life I’ve been given with everything I’ve got.”
Somers honed her musical chops learning the piano at an early age, she quickly found herself performing with the church.
“It gave me the opportunity to perform in front of large audiences, to travel and play music around the world,” she says. “It wasn’t long into it that I discovered my love for the stage and the craving for musical expression was consuming me.”
As she grew older and strayed from the church, Somers teamed up with folk singer Amy Campbell to form a folk duo moniker Stumble. They released two EP’s Take Me Apart (1997) and The Fall Sessions (1998) and record a full-length, Down Again (2001). Campbell went on to chart her own solo career in Toronto, Somers stayed put.
“I’m not sure that being from the Maritimes has shaped me as a songwriter although I do feel very connected to this place and its geography,” she says. “The beauty of the Maritimes is the generous and grounded people who have shaped my life, which translates to me as a person. The music is the expression of who I am.”
Over the years she’s shared the stage with various performers, including: Ria Mae, Mike Cowie, Mark Green, Lennie Gallant, Linda Carvery, Caledonia and the MacLean Sisters. It was through working with these artists that she grew more confident in her own musicianship.
“One of the best things about completing this project is the satisfaction of being in control of every single aspect of its creation,” she says. “From the songs themselves to the production, to the ideas of what I wanted it to look like. Even the colours and photos were in my mind before I even started making the record. The best thing about the experience is to have been able to do this my way, nobody else’s.”
Inspired by trailblazing women like Sheryl Crow and Alanis Morrisette, Somers has crafted an album that conjures all faucets of the human experience. She doesn’t hold back out of fear, as she dives into the depths of love, loss and longing. For Somers being true to her self is all that matters.
“I think the main thing that being queer has allotted me is the ability to be comfortable and connected with who I truly am,” she says. “I’m not afraid of what people think or feel about me.
“Living your truth is the best thing you could ever do for yourself and the world around you. As a songwriter, being queer keeps me real and makes me brave. Brave enough to be me.”