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Edmonton, Alberta, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 2014 | SELF

Edmonton, Alberta, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 2014
Band Electronic Downtempo




"BMBSHL - Recover"

Canadian electronic-soul artist BMBSHL, is singer/songwriter Brenna MacQuarrie from Edmonton, Alberta. In BMBSHL’s video for “Recover,” the singer gets into some interestingly beautiful costume changes – perhaps to show the many sides of herself.

BMBSHL is a soul singer who belts like the vocalist child of Bjork and Celine Dion. If you can imagine that. If not, watch the video and you’ll see what I mean. The music is synthetically chill and gripping all at the same time.

You can see her play live in Montreal, Ottawa and Toronto in June with a date next week in Vancouver. Check out the dates listed on her website. - Lady Indie

"Featured Artist: BMBSHL"

One thing that’s awesome about being on the BestFan team is getting invited to some awesome events and parties. With NXNE and MMVAs falling in the same week our team was all over Toronto going to numerous music showcases and performances. Among the bands and artists performing are also a number of musicians who are just out to meet people in the industry and get their music out there. In comes Brenna MacQuarrie, better known by her stage name as BMBSHL (pronounced bombshell). I ran into BMBSHL at least three times in four days so I knew I had to check out her music. Beyond being dead gorgeous and having a real cool ‘rocker chick meets cute girl’ look, she’s a super sweet girl, plus her music is really cool too. BMBSHL has a cool, dark, yet calming sound. Her soulful vocals rides the electronic production which makes for quite the unique sound. Think of The Weeknd, if he were to smile, and be a girl. With her own independent writing, production, performance and engineering there is a bit of a raw sound to it, which I actually was drawn too. I think she’s really on to something with this new sound, she definitely has the BestFan approval. Give her some time to develop and I really think she could make some waves in this industry of ours. - BestFan


Last summer, Brenna MacQuarrie found herself at a crossroads. She had left her place in a couple of local bands and wasn’t quite sure where to direct herself, but some digging into the digital wizardry of ProTools became the start of her solo writing and producing career.
MacQuarrie, who goes by the stage moniker BMBSHL, turned to friends and support system Jay Sparrow and Brad Smith for feedback on her work, and the pair challenged her to write one song every week during the summer of 2013. The tracks that emerged became MacQuarrie’s self-titled debut album, a disc filled with lush, visceral electronic melodies that ebb and flow around her soulful and confessional vocals.
“Their encouragement really made a difference for me because it helped me to believe that it was something I was capable of, because it’s really hard to dive into something like that and make something you feel is complete, because it’s like you never really feel like you arrive when you’re making a song on your own because you have full control, so it can never be finished, right?” says MacQuarrie, who is one of the few female producers in the city. “I could spend years on one song if I really wanted to, but they pushed me to make a large volume of work in a short period of time, and that’s exactly where my album came from, because I ended up surprising myself even in the way I was able to complete full ideas and then I kept putting out song after song after song.”
Of course, there were days when the words and music emerged more easily than others. MacQuarrie explains that, as an artist, it can be difficult to stand behind what you’re doing sometimes, and during the writing process she would alternate between feelings of elation when the elements of a song would fall into place and frustration when they didn’t.
“Everything you make isn’t going to be great. You just have to make a lot of things so that you have the good and the bad, because you’re always going to make shit—there’s always going to be a certain portion of your work that’s not going to be good, especially because I’m just starting,” MacQuarrie adds. “Instead of being hard on myself and forcing myself to ditch any idea if at some point I didn’t feel like it was working, I had to just trust the process.”

--Meaghan Baxter
Vue Magazine
May 14 2014 - Vue Magazine

"BMBSHL flexes her musical powers"

You won’t catch Brenna MacQuarrie tweeting photos of her lunch. Or her cat.
“I just don’t want to do that,” she says. “The kind of artist I want to be has a certain ‘Je ne sais quoi’ — like (singer) Lana Del Rey. Nobody really knows what her deal is; she’s just cool all the time. I think that whole rock star esthetic is lost.”
So we won’t dwell on MacQuarrie’s past as a preteen choir member or her days as an aspiring jazz vocalist at Humber College in Toronto.
From here on in, she is BMBSHL, a sultry electro-pop artist and one of Edmonton’s only female music producers.
“I once had someone say to me, ‘Are you sure you want to use that name? Isn’t BMBSHL a little pretentious?’ I don’t see it that way. I see it as a symbol of power.”
After working with several producers across Canada, two of them challenged BMBSHL to flex her own power. Holed up in her basement studio, she ended up writing and recording 10 of the 12 tracks on her self-titled debut, available April 15 on iTunes. As smooth and dreamy as some of her trip-hop arrangements are, she tackles such heavy subjects as alcoholism (Safe Place Song), deception (Stories), and motivation (Strike, Little Too Deep).
Her music videos, for Recover and Strike, also explore this contrast between darkness and light, with images of beach beauties, decaying buildings, and mysterious kissers shot in and around Alberta and Havana, Cuba.
The Journal recently talked to BMBSHL about songwriting, image, and success.
Q: Last summer, your friends (and Edmonton producers) Jay Sparrow and Brad Smith challenged you to write and record a new song each week, which became the basis of your album. What was the process like?
A: “I would have nights where I’d be writing a song and I’d be there for a couple for hours and I’d come out: ‘I did it, I’m a rock star!’ Then I’d have days where I’d come out and say: ‘It’s over, I can never write a song again. My life is over.’”
Q: What’s it like to have to think about your image, not just making music?
A: “It’s new for me to think about what colour my hair should be, but you have to think about all those things.
I started working with people who understand the importance of image — people like my makeup and hair artist or Jay (Sparrow), who directed my videos, and my best friend, Julie, who helped me think critically about what I should wear. Whereas before, I was like: ‘Who gives a f--- about what I wear? I’m a musician; it’s about the music.’ But it’s the whole thing. You have to think about the whole thing. I would love to say it’s just about the music, and for me it is, but depending on what kind of success you want, it becomes about different things.”
Q: What kind of success do you want?
A: “I would love to do what Lana Del Rey has done. I don’t know. I haven’t really given a lot of thought to labels or approaching them, because I have to build another record right away. I got a Rawlco grant (for $10,000) to make another record, which is super awesome, but I haven’t even released this one. Yeah, so I want to release another record before I think about labels. I would like to take some time and live in the States, if I can. I don’t want to put any limits on (my career). I just want to keep doing it.”
Q: There still aren’t many female producers in the music business. What words of advice do you have for those who might be thinking about it as a potential career?
A: “That’s a heavy question. I’ve thought about this a lot and it’s a big reason I did what I did — I was pretty tired of being just the singer. ‘Oh, she doesn’t know anything, she’s just the singer.’ The amount of times I’ve got that in my life, it just pissed me off. Ultimately, the network of women doing this is unreal and the network of men supporting those women is also unreal... . It’s been such a male-dominated portion of the industry, but that can change.”

Sandra Sperounes
Edmonton Journal
April 21 2014 - The Edmonton Journal


Still working on that hot first release.



BMBSHL is the brainchild of Canadian songwriter/producer Brenna MacQuarrie. Lush cinematic overtones dominate BMBSHL's downtempo electronica. Brenna's stunning voice shines through multi-layered trip-hop beats, distorted synths and visceral songs of heartbreak & disillusionment. Truly one-woman's vision, BMBSHL enlists melody and cadence from classic soul music while set upon a hyper-modern digital aesthetic. Even though correlations can be made to artists like James Blake, Massive Attack or even Erykah Badu, BMBSHL stands alone as a distinct sovereign entity. 

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