By Kate Amrine and Rebecca Epstein Boley, with Bria Skonberg
New York based Canadian singer, trumpeter and songwriter Bria Skonberg has been described as one of the “most versatile and imposing musicians of her generation” (Wall Street Journal). Recognized as one of 25 for the Future by DownBeat Magazine, Bria Skonberg has been a force in the new generation with her bold horn melodies and smoky vocals, and adventurous concoctions of classic and new.
Brass Chicks: As a trumpet player and vocalist in the jazz world, you have developed a unique voice covering many jazz styles. How has being a vocalist informed your brass playing, and vice versa?
Bria Skonberg: I loved singing as a young girl but honestly was too shy to do it openly. Playing trumpet helped me gain confidence to sing in front of people. Learning lyrics has been such a benefit for learning melodies and I often embellish my vocals the same way I would on the horn.
BC: Have you faced any specific challenges related to being a woman in jazz? If so, how have you seen them evolve over the course of your career and how have you confronted them?
BS: I think if I was to compare the benefits to challenges of being a woman musician they would even out; If I’ve lost opportunities I’ve gained others. I do think there’s a higher expectancy for you to perform well so you have to make a strong first impression and opening musical statement. Confidence is key and something I have had to work on, but it’s worth knowing how to “fake it ’til you make it”. Stand up tall, hold your bell up and put that air through the horn!
BC: Tell us about your new album and collaboration with Pledge Music. Why did you choose to use that platform and what has been your experience with it?
BS: I wouldn’t recommend anyone get involved with Pledge right now because they are not paying out to their artists, myself included. I chose that platform because I had a successful experience with them two albums ago. They have a sizeable database to attract new audiences and you don’t have to make your financial ask public which I prefer. I am frustrated but will deliver what my Pledge community has ordered no matter what happens.
BC: What do you have coming up? What are you looking forward to this year?