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Andria Piperni was an accomplished dancer, competing internationally in her high school years, before she turned her attention to her true passion, singing.

Image courtesy: Calli Cohen / @mrsmakaveliart

Canada’s emerging artists contribute to the fabric and strength of communities. “Creative Culture: Emerging Artists to Watch” is a new series profiling young Canadian artists as they begin to grow from emerging to established.

Montreal’s Andria Piperni is in the early stage of her music career, and has just released her new single “Fresh Paint” from her upcoming EP “Who’s Counting?” She regularly receives comparisons to the soulful and lyrical singers Corinne Bailey Rae and Alicia Keys, which would be inspiring for any performer at any stage of their career. Piperni is no exception. As a fan of both artists, she is flattered by the comparison.

“I love her,” says Piperni immediately when fans compare her work to Rae’s. The two share something else in common: Like Rae — who studied another performance art (violin) before immersing herself in singing — Piperni was an accomplished dancer, competing internationally in her high school years before she turned her attention to her true passion, singing. “Dancing was my outer expression, and I loved it, but singing was something that took much longer for me to share with others. I think I kept it more to myself at that time because it meant more to me, if that makes sense,” she says with a laugh.

Her 2018 debut single “Say Something” garnered attention for the young dancer-turned-singer from the music industry as well as the Canadian music charts. Piperni followed up with several singles, most recently, “Above the Clouds” and “Coming Home To You.” Her collaboration with Canadian DJ Andrew Pololos, “Never Be the Same” quickly found its place on Spotify’s Viral 50 Canada Chart.

Staying Connected and Creative

I am a sensitive person and I find we are usually always connected to music in some way. I pull inspiration from those feelings of connection. Although there is some much going on in the world, we can often forget how connected we all are.

Given the momentum and trajectory of her musical career, one would expect Piperni to be lamenting the enforced limitations that the impact of COVID-19 had on her, but she found meaning in the chance to slow down, write lyrics and be creative. “I was stuck at home like most of the world, but that time gave me some breathing room since everything was at a halt. I could just create to create.” Being creative hasn’t always come easily. “I had a period last year where I had writers block, self-doubt, etc., but I was inspired by a book called ‘The Artists Way’ by Julia Cameron which offered a way to flex my creative muscles by free writing three pages every morning.”

When she’s inspired now, she captures it in an unfiltered way via handwritten notes, notes on her iPhone, and recorded thoughts. “I pull ideas from my own experiences and those of other people as well. I try to look for the different ways we connect as humans and incorporate that into the music.”

Connections she made in several organizations have helped support her along the way and she references MTL Women in Music, an organization that hosts networking events in the city for artists, and YES Montreal a non-profit organization offering services and workshops for artists.

Finding Inspiration from Life in Montreal

“Coming Home To You,” released in April of this year, was recorded before the pandemic and inspired by her own situation. “I wrote this song some time after my boyfriend and I moved into together, and it’s about how even the simple things are amplified when you’re with someone who makes you happy,” she laughs. The pair live together in Montreal which has an incredibly vibrant music community Piperni is embracing — and still discovering.

“I went to business school, so I didn’t have a big network in the local music scene at first, but Montreal has a lot of jams and live events. I would go to different spots each week to meet people and listen to music.” It’s through blending and collaborating Piperni hopes to see her career continue to expand, including, one day perhaps, a podcast with a chance to interview people in the industry and other emerging artists.

First and foremost however, like many artists she hopes to have a chance to tour and travel the world. “But,” she says, “I love my city and hope to remain based in Montreal.”

Andria Piperni participated in First Up with RBCxMusic this summer. This program launched in May to support and promote emerging Canadian musicians and recording artists impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. You can see her First Up virtual performance on IGTV here.

Andria’s Advice for Emerging Artists:

  • “People in any industry may try to change you or your style. It’s easy to be swayed, but if you want to connect with fans, you need to be true to yourself and be authentic.”
  • When you first start out, you have to promote yourself. “Make cold calls to people in the industry, go to events, ignore the little voice that might make you second guess yourself and get out there … You can only overcome that voice by taking action.”
  • Find people in the city you live in and check out their music, whether that is live, on Instagram or music apps. Set up meetings, and ask people out for coffee. “That’s how I ended up meeting my band members. We hit it off and we still work together today,” Piperni says.
  • Education outside of music can be a huge benefit. Piperni graduated from Concordia University with a degree in marketing. “I went into marketing because at the time, it seemed like a creative career that was still a safe path, and it’s turned out really beneficial for me as a musician,” she explains. “My marketing background has proven really helpful as an independent artist … having some marketing savvy gives me a mindset to look at [all aspects of her music] and evaluate how it all works together. Having a team is good, and I have a great team working with me, but it’s so important to have an awareness myself.”
  • Harness the opportunities platforms — like Spotify and Apple Music — offer to reach an audience on your own. “Up until fairly recently, the only real way to reach an audience was through a record label,” but today new artists can find fans via social media platforms and musical streaming services that are free or low cost. This allows new artists the opportunity to start building a global fan base on their own terms.

Find out about how RBC supports Emerging Artists.

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