This week we find ourselves inspired by Alysha Brilla!
Alysha Brilla, a two time JUNO nominated artist for Adult Contemporary Album of the year, is a critically acclaimed Tanzanian-canadian musician who is known for her unique roots-pop fusion musical style. Brilla’s third full length album, Human, comes after two other albums released under Sunny Jam Records Inc., including In My Head, and Womyn. All three albums were wrote and produced by Brilla, and feature her eclectic musical arrangement of drums, bass, guitar, keys, sax, trumpet and djembe. All three albums are available on iTunes, and select record stores across Canada.
On top of being a killer musician, Alysha uses her talents to help young musicians excel in their own craft. She is an arts educator; frequently conducting music and social justice workshops in elementary schools across Canada. She is also a mentor for YWCA’s “Rock Weekend”, helping marginalized female youth develop social skills through music.
For all that and more, we find Alysha Brilla incredibly Inspirational.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
How did you get involved with the work you currently do?
I was bullied to the extent of dropping out of school when I was 13-15. The trauma of social ostracization and having grown up in a mixed race, mixed-religious household made me quite analytical about culture and identity. I began speaking and performing at schools when I was 21 years old and have been visiting schools internationally since.
What is your WHY? (The reason why you do the work you do)
People. As misanthropic as one can feel, looking at history, colonization and patriarchy, my mind is forever illuminated by a silver lining that says us humans are better than that, that we are bigger than that. I believe in a world where people’s voices are heard and we have equal representation when it comes to gender, race, sexuality, ability and all the characteristics that make humanity the beautiful thing it can be.
What are the biggest challenges/setbacks you’ve had to face?
Certainly navigating a sexist and racist industry. When I was growing up and first entered the music industry, everyone told me to hide my ethnicity. I wasn’t able to voice what I wanted in the studio regarding the music and it just felt like my only place as a woman, was on stage, singing. I had to break a lot of barriers to be where I am at this point. I wouldn’t change a thing, though. The pain has been worth the outcomes. I just hope to make space for other women and brown girls interested in creating media.
If you had one wish to help make the world a better place, what would it be?
To have Black and Indigenous womyn be put in the highest roles of leadership. (Leading countries, organizations etc.)
If you could pick one charitable organization to ask our readers to donate to or volunteer with, which would it be?