For some artists finding the inspiration for new music is like trying to find a needle in a pile of needles. For Montreal-based musician Auresia, it’s as simple as stepping out the front door in the morning.
The Edmonton native moved to Montreal almost a decade ago after having visited the city just once before. “I travelled [to] here when I was 17 and completely fell in love with the city,” said Auresia. “I just felt at home instantly,” she added.
Since her self-titled debut album in 2008, Auresia has continuously indulged her sense of wanderlust. She has travelled extensively through North, Central and South America, absorbing all the diverse cultures along the way to create a sound that is not easily classifiable, however a fateful trip to California’s Reggae on the River festival prompted a stronger reggae influence in her music.
“I was just so happy. I danced for three days straight and I don’t even remember sleeping much,” said Auresia. “It was a turning point; it changed my life.”
As a result, her first album garnered much attention from the international music community, and even earned her nominations at the Indie Awards as well as the Canadian Reggae Music Awards. Auresia drew heavily from roots music and reggae and described the album as having “an old school feel and sound.”
For her upcoming album Risin’, out Sept. 3, the singer-songwriter explored new musical territory and drew inspiration not only from her travels, but from her own city as well. “Being around all the different cultures has definitely inspired me,” she said of Montreal. It is evident from the album’s first single “High”, that Auresia created a sound that is as unique and diverse as the city she lives in.
“This time around I just really wanted to express all the music that’s influenced me,” she said. “I wanted to express my whole self in this album. I really love folk music and strong melodies so it’s kind of a mix of all these styles and flavours like reggae, pop, salsa, dancehall, R&B, even some elements of flamenco, reggaeton and rock,” she added.
To add to the plethora of genres in the album, Auresia drew from her own cultural heritage as well. “I was actually born in the Ukraine and moved to Canada when I was a baby,” she said. “I grew up with a lot of Ukrainian music where there’s a lot of strong melodies, a lot of strong harmonies and I think it carried through to my album,” she added.
When she’s not busy touring or recording, Auresia seeks out the simple pleasures the city has to offer. “I hang out with my friends, have sangria, go to the park and walk on the mountain,” she said, referring to Mount Royal. Despite her busy schedule, Auresia tries to get out to the mountain several times a week. “It feels so good to just get out of the hussle-bussle even if for half an hour,” she said.
With most of her family still living back in Edmonton, she tries to get back out West as often as she can; the ambitious musician revels in the time she gets to spend with her family. Despite her eternal fondness for her hometown, Auresia’s heart belongs to Montreal. “There’s no place like Montreal, and I’ve travelled a lot,” she laughs.
With no signs of slowing down, Auresia could not be more excited for the release of her upcoming album Risin’. It is a unique amalgamation of all the musical styles she’s encountered throughout her travels and carries an overarching empowering message. “Fuel up on love. It’s all about finding your power, your core, your energy,” she said. “This album is the evolution of my growth as a woman, and as a human being.”
Auresia plays Club Espagnol de Quebec on Tuesday, Sept. 3 and l’Artère on Saturday, Sept. 28.