Her music is captivating and takes us back to what is essential: the heart.
Some artists seek out a life in music. For Beyries, the music found her.
Since a young age growing up in the Montreal neighbourhood of Outremont, Amélie Beyries would write songs at her grandmother’s 1923 Heintzman & Co. piano, but for the longest time, she kept those songs to herself, not wanting to lose her love for simply writing and playing for personal joy.
In a sense, Beyries lived an entire lifetime before Landing, her debut album. She worked at restaurants and had a variety of office gigs, and even when her manager played her intimate, deeply personal songs for industry friends, she chose to present the music without her name, so people could judge it on its own merits. Even Landing’s eventual producer, Alex McMahon, was a longtime friend of Beyries and didn’t know it was her when he first listened.
With the 11-track Landing, Beyries became unmasked. From the first concert in her entire life – a trial by fire performance opening for Martha Wainwright in Rouyn-Noranda – audiences were drawn to her openness, inspired by the likes of Cat Stevens, an artist so powerful he could captivate audiences with just his voice and an acoustic guitar. She performed without sequencers or backing tracks, wanting to speed up or slow down and connect with the audience in a natural way. These were songs that she had kept private for so long that when they were finally brought to the light, they inevitably took on a life of their own. Beyries became a sensation in her home province of Quebec simply by being herself.
All along the way, Beyries received countless signs saying that music had bigger plans for her. One day, she turned on her radio on a whim, only to hear famed Montreal broadcaster Rebecca Makonnen playing her song “The Pursuit of Happiness” from Landing. Her first concert in Toronto at the Drake Hotel became an unforgettable night, with her performing seated, the crowd seated around her, and George Stroumboulopoulos listening attentively beside her. A popular music blogger in Turkey picked up on her music, and suddenly she was playing to rapturous audiences in a country she had never been to before.
After every show, whether it was five or 200 people, Beyries would take the time to meet with fans and listen to them share what the music meant to them. Beyries says she doesn’t just perform to entertain to deliver the songs exactly as they sound on the album – she performs to build lasting relationships. These connections inspire and inform not only her work, but also her approach to life.
These bonds weren’t just developed at her shows. Listeners were drawn to Landing’s melodic storytelling with 11.5K in album sales and 15 million streams across all platforms. Beyries went from never having performed live to playing her songs in England, France, Germany and Canada. The perfectly bilingual artist connected with francophone audiences thanks to French-language songs “J’aurai cent ans” with Louis-Jean Cormier, “Je pars à l’autre bout du monde,” “Maman” and “Au-delà des mots.”
While Landing chronicled her life up until that point, upcoming second album Encounter, coming this August, is about self-discovery through music, touring, and the many people she met on this incredible journey who helped spiritually guide her both directly and indirectly.
From the comedown of performing over 150 shows across the world, Beyries developed a craftswoman approach to songwriting, finding pleasure in working to create a genuine narrative you can hear and feel. The music is more ornate, with more collaborators, orchestral flourishes and expanded arrangements without sacrificing the power of simplicity. If Beyries can’t play a song with true conviction on her Heintzman & Co. piano, which she restored, or an acoustic guitar that song won’t make the cut. The first single, Out of Touch, reveals how her sound has been building and evolving in the past three years.
It’s a refined, earnest sound that has already enraptured audiences at home and is destined to keep growing.
With her debut album Landing, Beyries became a sensation in her home province of Quebec simply by being herself. Born and raised in the Montreal neighbourhood of Outremont, Beyries started writing songs at her grandmother’s piano at a young age, but kept those songs to herself. She worked at restaurants and offices, living an entire lifetime of ups and downs before committing to music. Inspired by artists who create intimate moments with their music, Beyries told simple, relatable stories on Landing through lyrics and melodies, treating songwriting as a craft. Audiences have responded, with 11.5K in album sales and 15 million streams across all platforms, and the deeply personal encounters on her musical journey have inspired and informed her future releases.
One of the rare women in the modern classical world, Alexandra Stréliski is hardly a conventional pianist. Hailing from a classical background yet free-spirited, she creates minimalist, emotionally striking music that enthralls listeners, filling their minds with rich, cinematic images.
Stréliski made her debut with the album Pianoscope in 2010. Independently released, the album eventually reached 13 million streams and was heard in various film and TV projects such as Jean-Marc Vallée’s films Dallas Buyers Club (2013) and Demolition (2016), the trailer of the acclaimed HBO series Big Little Lies (2017), and during the Oscars ceremony (2014). This led Stréliski to sign a record deal with the Montreal-based label Secret City and to release her second album INSCAPE in 2018.
INSCAPE is a commercial and critical success since its release. The album has more than 80 million streams worldwide, and went gold in Canada, where more than 80,000 albums were sold. Stréliski won three Félix at the ADISQ Awards this year for “Breakthrough Artist of the Year“, “Songwriter or Composer of the Year“, “Album of the Year – Instrumental“, received seven nominations at the 2019 Gala de l’ADISQ and three at the JUNO Awards: “Breakthrough Artist of the Year”, “Instrumental Album of the Year”, and “Album of the Year”. It was #1 on the charts in Quebec for 6 weeks, it won the “Album of the Year” award at the Independent Music Awards, and it made the 2019 Polaris Music Prize Long List. Her music was heard in Sharp Objects and the Big Little Lies Season 2 round-table, both on HBO, and at the Hugo Boss fashion show during the most recent edition of the New York Fashion Week. More than 85 concerts are on the calendar since the beginning of the campaign, and all her Quebec shows so far have been sold out.
“To me,” says Stréliski, “Inscape was an existential crisis. A year where everything capsized and I had to go through various interior landscapes — hectic, beautiful and painful at the same time. I found myself in a space filled with grey areas that I didn’t know how to escape. It was a crucial turning point for me. A year of creative evolution during which I reconnected with my deep nature, my essence, my X.”
INSCAPE is the work of an artist unconcerned with conventions, whose approach of neoclassicism is resolutely current. In her attempt to fill a certain emotional emptiness, she follows a creative urge that commits to taking the listener back to a form of lost sincerity. “A piano, on its own, is a very vulnerable thing, and I want to share this moment with the listener.”
An artist who grew up between Paris and Montreal, Stréliski comes from a long lineage of Jewish musicians and was steeped in music from the two continents during her childhood. From an early age, she was moved by classical artists such as Chopin and Satie and by film music composers like Zimmer, Glass and Nyman.
Recruited by the advertising community at the onset of the new millennium, the musician also won several awards for her creations in that field: the CREA award for best Pan-Canadian advertising music in 2007; a Bessies at the Toronto Marketing Awards in 2010, and another CREA in 2014 for best music in a Quebec campaign.
Nevertheless, she felt a strong urge for free creation which led her to record Pianoscope, and to follow her path as a performer and full-time professional musician.
Billboard called Stréliski one of the foremost new stars in modern classical, and Noisey stated that her music is a contrast of depth and fragility that uncannily resembles the human condition itself.
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