Rising country star Brea Lawrenson visits Winchester

Seen in photo above: Carleton place native Brea Lawrenson, entertaining for the seniors and staff of the Dundas Manor on Monday. Smith photo, Nation Valley News

Kelsey Smith
Nation Valley News

WINCHESTER — Up and coming country music artist Brea Lawrenson made it out to the big town of Winchester yesterday to play for residents of Dundas Manor at their annual Strawberry Social.

Lawrenson was born in Toronto but spent a total of one month living there. She has since resided in Carleton Place for the vast majority of her life.

Although Lawrenson has not yet hit the ‘big time’, she is still a very well-known and popular artist throughout the Ottawa Valley.

Seen in above photo: the very talented Brea Lawrenson doing her favourite thing … performing. Smith photo, Nation Valley News

She once opened for both Tom Cochrane and fellow Canadian country star Brett Kissel.

Her songs are played frequently on Country 101.1 out of Ottawa.

The radio station was the first to take a chance on her with her first single Honey.

The track allowed Lawrenson to catch her “lucky break,” as she called it, and she has since released six other songs on the radio. With You Whiskey, Bottom of the Bottle, Hell on High Heels, Canadian Pearl and 25 to Life have all received airplay, as has her newest single, Guts and God that debuted in April.

Making it in the music business can be a very hard, expensive, and long process. On top of having a music career, the songstress also spends her time during the week teaching music to youth as a side job.

She loves teaching children to play music, but her true passion is making music of her own.

Captured in above photo: Lawrenson singing her chart hit, ‘Canadian Pearl’ which was perfect for the Canada 150 themed event. Smith photo, Nation Valley News

Music is a “labour of love. Music is my first love. My husband understands,” she laughed.

She added, “You have to love it to make a career of it.”

And Lawrenson must really love it for all of the work and training she has done to get this far.

She started playing music when she was a little girl — saying it “made her feel normal” —

and took singing, piano, and classical training from the age of eight to 18.  This helped her acquire a broader range and a higher register.

Studying classical music also taught her how to sing properly in order to not strain her vocal chords.

At a young age her aspirations were to become a pop star like her then-idol Avril Lavigne.

When she was 15 years old, she released her very first album which was geared more towards the pop genre. The singer later released a second pop album at 18.

She had a wide range of musical influences as her mom was a pop/rock fan while her father was a country fan.

As she began to sing in front of more people, they told her that she had quite a bit of “Lanark twang” in her voice and that she should throw her musical hat into country music.  Thus, she set her sites to the countrier side of music.

Her third album #Brealieve was produced by former Prairie Oyster member Keith Class, which catapulted her career onto country radio.

Seen in photo above: Lawrenson’s 3rd and most successful album #Brealieve. Smith photo, Nation Valley News

This album was created by Lawrenson herself as she had dropped her management team and decided to fly solo.

Not counting Guts and God, all of her previously radio aired songs were from her #Brealieve CD. Her highest charting song to date was her single Canadian Pearl that reached 54 on the top 100’s chart.

Having a social life is not an option, according to Lawrenson.

It takes all of your time but it “never feels like work when I’m playing,” she said.

‘Singing Policeman’ Dominic Darcy is one of her biggest mentors, she revealed.

His influence helped her gain more confidence in front of crowds and how to walk up to people and introduce herself.

Seen in photo above: Lawrenson and her guitar that was a gift from a close friend. She wanted her to have one similar to her idol Miranda Lambert. Her guitar strap was also a gift. A local guitar strap designer created a one-of-a-kind creation for her. With pink shoes (similar to the ones she always wears), a BL embellishment, and a Canadian flag with pearls. This was a present from her dedicated stepfather/ road manager. Smith photo, Nation Valley News

Even though much of her life has been spent in the Ottawa Valley, Lawrenson has also established a second home in Nashville, where friends invite her to stay whenever she is stateside.

Her “Tennessee Family,” as she calls them, have played pivotal role in her success. They have been “essential for the things I have accomplished,” explained the artist, growing emotional.

Lawrenson can be seen next month playing at Kemptville Musicfest, as well as Ottawa Bluesfest.

She will also play at Havelock Jamboree and Navan Fair later this summer.

Be sure to listen for Lawrenson on local country music radio stations.

Brea Lawrenson performs at Dundas Manor, June 26.

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