Norine Braun is an award winning artist (Los Angeles Music Awards, Artists For Literacy) from Vancouver BC who has a slew of festival appearances under her belt. Norine’s new full-length CD “Coventus The Eye Of The Heart” follows Norine’s songwriting journey through life-threatening disease, a death in the family, new beginnings and the celebration of life. We love the story that Norine has to tell in our interview, but also through her music – it’s about as honest and lyrically strong as roots/blues rock gets.
Entertwine: Briefly tell us a little bit about yourself and your past musical experience?
I am a Vancouver based singer-songwriter who has been called “jazzed up, funk tinged pop.” That should tell you how my music defies conventional categorization. Built on a solid foundation of soul, I experiment with forms from blues to jazz and roots rock. I have released 9 independent albums, performed all over from the Triad Theatre in NYC to Shibuya Home in the entertainment district of Tokyo and to the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics and a slew of festivals in BC.
ET: What brought you to play roots/ blues rock over all other genres?
As a guitarist and songwriter, songs are usually written with an acoustic roots sound to begin with. Songs often evolve in the recording process and sometimes seem more natural in different genres. As I often perform solo or duo roots blues is great to do either as a soloist or with a full band and is the best genre when scaled down as roots or blues still retains the fullness of the song in my opinion. I do write in a variety of styles but am a natural to blues and roots.
You write about many stories about your personal experiences in life in your most recent release, “Coventus The Eye of The Heart.” Give us a little insight on your writing process for this album, and why it means so much to you?
“Conventus The Eye of the Heart” is my new and ninth album born out of life’s unions and struggles. The past couple of years I encountered many unions in different disguises. I was diagnosed and cured of colon cancer. As I lay in my hospital bed last January, I listened to my roughly recorded demos of these songs and I let them show me the way to health. Music was a healing activity that held my interest and focus in my recovery.
This past year I also embraced a most magnificent union. I married my partner of 25 years on the anniversary of our first meeting. I watched my partner’s mother dementia advance and witnessed a great love and strength as we moved through this life transition. I looked at the union in my own family of origin relationship and how my life’s journey as an adoptee has greatly shaped who I am. All of these unions, union of self and body, self and spirit, family union, union of love and marriage are found in the creation of these songs and my new album.
Which song would you say was the most challenging to write, and why?
Fire Flames was probably the most challenging, it started as a different song many years ago that I had long forgotten. When digging through my archives last year I came across the tune and loved most of it and wondered why I never finished or reworked it. I sat and down and the song started to flow with a new tango feel with the sliding guitar that I play on the recording, strangely the only part of that song that remains now is the intro and bridge, the rest of the new song emerged as a result from the new feel of the tremolo guitar. I struggled with the lyrics and was not sure what I was really writing about which is often the case for many songwriters. It seemed like I was writing about being a jilted lover but now I think I was writing about the betrayal of my body.
What do you hope your audience can grasp from listening to your sound?
I hope my audience grasps the message of coming from their heart and living life from their heart. There is joy in survival and to live life fully. The music is joyful and heartfelt and is about surviving and moving forward.
Where do you see your music career headed in 2014? What are your ultimate goals?
I see music moving into more performances for 2014 I am currently putting together some small tours in BC as a trio and I think that will be much fun touring the province and Alberta. My ultimate goal is to continue doing what I love and sharing that music with people. I hope my music brings joy, comfort, makes people find meaning and gives hope and the courage to live another day.