Toronto-based singer-songwriter, Rêve, gives an insight into her music, career, and her favourite things to do during the Halloween season.
Growing up in a suburb of Montreal, Briannah Donolo (Rêve) spent her early teens dreaming beyond the white picket fences of her hometown. While most of the kids had their sights set on becoming doctors and lawyers, she was preoccupied with the music and art that deeply moved her.
From a young age, she learned to cope with trauma by converting negative emotion into art; her piano quickly became her therapist and closest confidant.
When the global pandemic hit in 2020, Rêve refused to let the state of the world break her stride. Instead, she connected with Montréal-based production duo Banx & Ranx.
Rêve made her major-label debut in June 2021 via Universal Music Canada and Astralwerks, releasing the first collaboration with Montréal production duo Banx & Ranx, who co-sign her to UMC. In 2021, Rêve is here to remind us that life isn’t perfect, but everyone’s gotta have a dream.
Her song “Still Dancing,” is inspired by her unforgettable nights at Montréal clubs and quarantine dance parties she had during the global pandemic.
Yet glamorous, dark and surreal on the exterior, Rêve’s repertoire is profoundly thoughtful and emotional at its core. Coupling thought-provoking lyrics with melodies that will emotionally and physically move her audience, Rêve’s music reminds you to embrace the emotions and parts of yourself that you are taught to perceive as flaws in today’s world.
A Conversation With Rêve About Her Music
How did your music journey begin?
My musical journey began a long time ago! I come from a very creative home where my dad played guitar and constantly had a record on no matter the time of day. I think the constant flow of music in my life from a young age allowed me to develop an ear for it. I spent most of my early life teaching myself basic chords on the piano and guitar and eventually singing completed the missing link of my creative outpour. I was kind of an outcast in my early teens so my piano became my therapist. As I got older, music remained the only constant in my life and whenever I’d try to shift my focus elsewhere it would always pull me back.
How do you land on the feel and aesthetic you want your music to have?
I grew up in Montréal where we have so many great & quirky venues for house music. I saw my first electronic show when I was 16 in a place called Velvet that literally looks like a Medieval dungeon in the basement of an inn in the Old Port. It was the first time I’d ever experienced true Euphoria in my life and from that moment on, electronic was the only thing I could listen to. I spent years after that trying to marry those sounds with emotional toplines and nostalgic concepts I’d usually throw over a piano ballad, and through that, I eventually built a sound of my own.
The lyrics in my songs are also heavily inspired by Montréal and the “joie de vivre” at its core. There is so much passion that courses through the veins of the city and Montrealers have a way of seeing life through a romantic lens. Every lyric of mine tells a story that I’ve actually lived and I hope that my music can transport people to that place of euphoria that started it all for me at 16.
What are some of the biggest influences you take from to include in your songs?
A lot of my influences as a writer come from listening to such a wide variety of genres as a kid. My dad would load up my iPod with rock classics, bluegrass, and folk music while my mom and I would often cook dinner listening to R&B, Motown and some of the earlier dance records of the 80s. I was the offbeat kid who had Simon & Garfunkel, Emmylou Harris, the Eurythmics and Luther Vandross on the same playlist. I love to cross-pollinate and borrow sticky tricks from all of those influences where I can. In terms of dance specifically, I draw a lot of inspiration from the piano house of the 90s.
How do you find ideas and concepts to write song lyrics?
A lot of my lyrics are based on the conversations I have had. There is often a lot of poetry spoken in everyday life and in basic conversation, but most people just don’t notice it. My notes folder is basically a time capsule of phrases that I’ve absorbed over the years and often make for great song concepts!
Halloween Recommendations From Rêve
Stay tuned for much more to come from Rêve in 2021 and the years to come.
Published by HOLR Magazine