Brealyn Sheehan

Brealyn Sheehan – Diva On The Rise

Brealyn Sheehan is a rising star on the Cairns music scene. She was recently named best performer in the Cairns to Nashville songwriting competition, and will be playing a set at Resonate when it returns to the Grand Hotel this Thursday night. Her big bluesy voice has been turning heads at gigs around the place while fronting the band Cinnamon Sin, and also with the quirky Don Johnson/Butlers. Being an ambitious gal, Brea also has a burgeoning solo career in the works. I thought it was time to catch up with Brealyn for a quick chat ahead of her Resonate set on Thursday night.

TM:- Firstly, I hear Cinnamon Sin are no more, what happened there?

Brealyn:- Most of us had a pretty huge 2014 with all our various projects, or are embarking on new ventures this year, so after an extended break over Christmas/NY and it seemed like time to allow us all to focus on some of those other projects/new adventures. It’s always hard to make these kinds of decisions, but we’re all friends, and we continue to spend time together, and some of us perform together in other projects. Phil and Julia have also added their talents to some of my original songs in a couple of my recent gigs.

TM:- For a newly developing artist you seem to have a very solid vision on where you want to go with your music, can you tell our readers more about that and where you plan to go with your music?

Brealyn:- I’m still quite new to the music scene and since I began performing and writing I’ve found myself becoming increasingly focused, which I think is what happens once you realise you are able to pursue a lifelong dream. I’m not as young as many other emerging artists, so I suppose I’ve had some time to figure out what I wantl, and to develop my vision. My main focus for now is to continue working on my writing, to be able to perform more often, and to share my music with more people. I would love to be able to perform at some more festivals, and tour and play in other cities. I consider myself very fortunate to have met so many wonderful people here in the local scene and I love how supportive our local music community and music lovers are. There’s so many different things I want to try musically, from learning more instruments, to singing in different styles and collaborating with other musicians and performers. I had a wonderful group of musicians perform with me in my most recent gigs (Dave Breeze, Papa Stanley, Paul Francis, Keryn Turner, Julia Fujita and Phil Tsilemanis) and I’m looking forward to more opportunities to work more with them in the future.

TM:- Where do your musical influences come from?

Brealyn:- My musical influences and inspiration comes from a number of places. I enjoy a lot of music genres, and there are certainly some amazing vocalists and writers in our region that I admire. I’ve also met some really inspiring people at festivals during the last couple of years who’ve opened my eyes further to the possibilities of exploring different styles of music and pursuing your own path. My writing generally doesn’t fit easily into one or 2 genres, and my inspiration comes from many sources. I love listening to saucy Jazz and Blues songs, and I’m influenced by the theatrical side of performance in Cabaret and Burlesque, the drama of sea shanties and murder ballads, the sense of whimsy and enchantment of old musicals and lullabies along with the storytelling of folk and country music.

TM:- Refreshingly, you seem to go to a bit of effort to dress up for your performances, how important do you think it is for local acts to dress up and stand out from the crowd?

Brealyn:- Sewing is another of my creative outlets so I often make clothes that I perform in, and I love to collect vintage clothes and mix all of that with some modern pieces. I like dressing in my own distinctive style generally, as I consider it another way of expressing who I am. Dressing up to perform is just another way of sharing more with the audience visually whilst I’m on stage. I do feel it’s important for performers to have their own image, I think it can add to the connection with the audience, allowing people to see more of your personality and enhances the message or stories you tell with your music. In one of the projects I perform in I also had the role of styling/designing and making stage costumes for the band. In that case the clothes were an essential part of creating stage characters for the performers.

TM:- So what’s in the immediate future for you musically?

Brealyn:- I’m really looking forward to playing at Resonate Returns next week with The McCormacks and Jeremiah Johnson. Over the next few months I plan to be very busy. A couple of weeks ago I was filmed for Balcony TV performing my song Wayward Girl, which is due to hit their website in April and I’m really looking forward to that. I’m continuing to focus on more writing, and my biggest immediate plan is to get ready to record an EP in the next few months. Longer term I hope to perform in some festivals later in the year as well as continue working on some other interesting projects that I should be able to share more about soon. People can keep up to date with my gigs and recording plans on my Facebook page

Brealyn plays a showcase gig this Thursday the 12th March at Resonate. Resonate is held every Thursday night at the Grand Hotel in Cairns.

Todd Macalpine

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