Ariane Brunet may only be 22, but she knows exactly where her future career path is going to take her. A determined, smiling and lively singer-songwriter, she answered our questions straightforwardly without taking herself too seriously. After Le pied dans ma bulle, her refined, introspective pop debut album, she released her second opus, Fusée, a collection of upbeat, catchy tunes, this past August.
“I have become more self-assured, that’s for certain,” Brunet stresses. Three years after her first album, the young musician is making giant strides in her understanding of what’s happening in her life and around her. While the lyrics of Le pied dans ma bulle were written when she was in her late teens, she is now a more mature woman casting a thoughtful look on universal themes such as love and loss, the importance of finding one’s place in life, the urgency to live, and more.
Brunet already had an album in mind, and knew how to surround herself with musicians who could help her take her ideas further. Involved in every step of the creative and recording processes, her personal touch is visible everywhere on the finished product, as she freely voiced her opinion on each and every aspect of the album’s production to her manager, and producer Toby Gendron. “I learn everything from him,” she says. “He provides me with great freedom, and I am welcome to tell him exactly what I want my music to sound like. I am also able to tell him what bothers me. I’m open with him – he’ll help me get the sound I have in mind.”
“You need talent, but I think there’s more to it than just that. Plenty of other factors come into play.”
As demonstrated on Fusée, Brunet’s palette can be quite extensive, with styles ranging from pop to groove to ballad, with nods to the bossa nova (“Que des amants”) and jazz (“Le temps de vivre”). Asked whether she believes that her considerable talent was the cause of her precocious success, she humbly acknowledges that “Yes, I think it played a part. You need talent, but I think there’s more to it than just that. Plenty of other factors come into play. Talent is helpful, but it can never replace hard work.”
In spite of her obvious gift for lyric writing, Brunet is more prone to call herself a melodist than an author, feeling like an “imposter” in the latter role. “The fact that I am a musician does not make me an author,” she cautions. “I couldn’t write verses that are not meant to be part of a song, but I can write musical pieces without words. The first thing that comes to me is the tune: that’s what I focus on. Later on, when I get to the lyrics, I look for pleasant sonorities and rhymes. I try to pick words that suit my melodies.”
When Nadja fell under her spell and asked her to contribute pieces to her upcoming album Des réponses, Ariane accepted in spite of the fact that she had no idea how she was going to go about honouring that request. She ended up adapting a couple of lyrics she had lying around, and was delighted with what happened. “When I heard the result,” she beams, “I was thrilled. Nadja also asked me to help her solve some melody problems she was dealing with, and I couldn’t believe it – it was such an achievement for me!”
Brunet is now planning to tour Fusée throughout Quebec over the next few months, including songs from her previous album and two covers, Isabelle Pierre’s “Le temps est bon” and David Bowie’s “Space Oddity,” on a suggestion from her show’s stage director, actor and Mes Aïeux member Stéphane Archambault. “I am gearing up for an action packed show where each song will portray a different situation with its own emotional palette. I want to be performing on percussion, guitar and piano, and I want a variety of styles,” the musician said excitedly a few weeks before the start of her tour.
In spite of her two album releases and several radio hits, Ariane Brunet, far from resting on her laurels, is actively planning her third album, which will deal with new themes such as anxiety and the difficulties of existence. Originally from Montreal’s West Island, she is now also considering the release of an English-language album under a pseudonym.
Any other future plans? “I’m quite pleased with what I have done up to this point. I can see a progression between my first and second albums. It’s a work in progress. I feel that the third one will be even better. I enjoy climbing the ladder one step at a time, slowly but surely.”