Artist Jodie B. Photo submitted by Jodie Bruce.

Mi’kmaq artist Jodie B releases her first album

She shares what it’s like to produce and mix her own music, and the childhood experiences that brought her here.

For Jodie Bruce, known by her performance name Jodie B, releasing her first album is four years in the making.

“It’s just kind of [a] reflection, personal perspective on the last few years of my life,” she says. 

Bruce is a live loop performer, multi-instrumentalist and producer, and she has fans across the country, including fan bases in Kelowna, Calgary and Toronto. While she is no stranger to performing live at festivals such as Shambala Music Festival, Fozzy Fest, and Astral Harvest Music Festival, to name a few, this is her first time dropping a full album — and she produced it herself.

“I started to record an album quite a few years ago, and then really fell in love with the engineering and mixing process of it,” she says. 

I decided right then and there that I wanted to be more involved in the producing side of the tracks.” 

The album is called equanimous, which means to be calm and composed.

“The name actually came to me when I was attending a 10-day meditation retreat. I took a vow of silence, and basically just meditated all day, every day for about 10 days. And I think it was about the eighth or ninth day I really decided that, in there, that I wanted to do an album and title it equanimous,” she says.

“It just sort of goes to show that no matter what happens in your life all these different lessons and setbacks and what not, I think it’s really important to try to remain in a state of equanimity.”

What to expect of the new album

Equanimous is an 8-track album with songs titles: Soul City, Bad Apple, Wanderer, Russian Aggression, The Riddle, Swamplands, Unbreakable, and War Cry. 

Bruce explains what pushed her to release a full album, as opposed to releasing singles: “I think because I had so much involvement in this album, not just writing and creating the tracks, but also mixing my own vocals,” she says.

“I can’t tell you how many hours went into mixing my own vocals on all of these tracks. Honestly, I think it just got to a point where I was ready to release it as an entire body of work that reflects, like, a good last few years of my life.” 

“So I feel really good about it. And I feel really excited to apply what I’ve learned on the next project.”

Jodie B first album ‘equanimous’ released October 2, 2020. Photo submitted by Jodie Bruce.

The opening track for her album is titled, Soul City, and Bruce will be releasing a music video to accompany the song soon.

“I think that’s probably one of my favourites,” she says. 

Another song that holds a lot of meaning for Bruce is War Cry. Bruce explains the meaning behind and backstory behind the song: “I felt really trapped at the time. I felt like I was in a place where on the outside it would appear to be everything is perfect… and I felt like I couldn’t express myself, and I couldn’t be myself around other people.”

In the opening of the song she sings, “My war cry, It’s so great up here in the nest, when everyone around you tells you what’s best.”

The song is about her feeling societal pressures, and expectations.

“I didn’t really want to fall into that Monday to Friday, 8 to 5 kind of office job. So I think when I did find myself there, I did find it very suffocating it and so that song was a reflection of that.

Childhood memories

When asked how she got into music, Bruce responded immediately, “My dad actually.”

“My dad he raised my sister and I. I have an older sister. She’s featured on a lot of the tracks as well, playing saxophone and mandolin and singing with me.”

Bruce says  she learned how to play instruments early on, and was performing from the age of three.

“Our dad, he raised [us] the street performing so busking in Calgary when we were younger. And every weekend, every Saturday, Sunday, we would go down to Eau Claire Market or Stephen Ave in Calgary and we would busk,” she says.

“So we would play music, and then the money that we made from busking my father would buy us instruments and lessons,” says Bruce. 

Bruce says she is “very appreciative” for her upbringing as she explains, “It’s also taught me a very valuable work lesson, just always putting the money back into the craft and into further developing itself.”

Bruce first learned how to play the harmonica and then piano, guitar, and she explains that her father put her and her sister in mandolin, accordion, violin and trumpet lessons. 

“I first learned how to play the harmonica. My dad is a bit of a bluesman, so he’s always playing blues. And always when my sister and I were younger, we played at the King Eddy hotel of like in the early nineties,” she says.

When it came to songwriting Bruce explains that it wasn’t until the loss of a best friend before she wrote her first full song. 

“My older sister at the time, she was always writing songs in it. I felt a little envious, I think, how I wasn’t able to write as quickly as her,” she says.

“And then my best friend actually passed away and I was in Australia at the time, and she ended up, kind of visiting me in a few dreams there. And I ended up waking up one night’s dream, and I wrote us a song about the memories that we had together one specific summer in particular that we traveled together.” 

What’s next

Due to COVID-19 pandemic, most venues are shut down so touring is no longer an option. Instead, Bruce says that she will be releasing more music videos.

One of her goals with the new album is to raise awareness for Indigenous and non-binary music producers.

“I want to try to spread more community and awareness within the Indigenous and with the women and non binary music producers,” she says. “I’m just still trying to involve being more into that community and creating a network.”

The album, which was released today, is now available on iTunes, Soundcloud, YouTube, and her website she says. 

Bruce hopes that people pay attention to and take away from the principle of the title equanimous. 

“I really hope that people take away the title of it more than anything honestly because I think it’s really important to remain calm and composed.”

She explains that being equanimous can impact all areas of your life, “it was just a very fundamental principle that should be applied to every other area that affects your life to just really just trying to not overreact.”