Alysha Brilla

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Alysha Brilla
Performing at The Jazz Room, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada on June 13, 2014
Background information
Born Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Origin Kitchener, Ontario, Canada
Genres Blues, jazz
Occupation(s) Singer, songwriter
Instruments Guitar, Piano, Drums
Labels BMG, Lava/Universal Republic, Sunny Jam Records

Alysha Brillinger (born November 3), better known by her stage name Alysha Brilla is an Indo-Tanzanian-Canadian musician. Born in Mississauga, Ontario and raised in Kitchener, Ontario, Brilla started singing in her early teens in local bands and at various festivals, including the Coalflats[1] and Kitchener Blues Festival, where she was the 2008 winner of the Grande River Youth Legacy contest.[2] Brilla briefly attended Humber College's Jazz program in Toronto while playing local gigs and building a fanbase. In 2010, she was signed to Lava Records/Universal Republic.[3] Brilla was a featured performer at the 2010 Kitchener Blues Festival and Gala.[4] Alysha is now independent and runs her own music label, Sunny Jam Records Inc. and has released three self-produced studio albums on that label. The first two were Juno Award nominated.

Early life[edit]

Brilla was influenced by her mother's Canadian folk and American jazz music and also her Tanzanian father's Afrobeat/Indian music. With a strong pop influence until she was 14, Brilla immersed herself in blues and jazz music when she moved to Southwestern Ontario and began frequenting open mics.

Always having a love for blues music, she started up a band composed of musicians aged 13–17 called "Alysha and the Allycats" and played gigs, parties and festivals around Ontario. Brilla cites Amy Winehouse, Bonnie Raitt and Joni Mitchell as her biggest influences.

Brilla's first instrument was piano and she grew up with an organ and keyboard in the house. She began playing self-taught and composing music on the piano at the age of seven.


Teenage years[edit]

In 2005, Brilla won the "Rhythm of The Future" contest hosted by a local radio station. This sponsored her $20,000 to record a demo with producer Marcus Kane in Toronto. Brilla's mother would drive Alysha to Toronto after school several nights a week, sometimes coming home after 2 a.m.

On her 14th birthday, Brilla was given her father's acoustic guitar and she began teaching herself to play. While still playing blues and jazz covers with her band in Kitchener, Brilla began testing her own material at solo-acoustic shows met with a very positive response.

After graduating high school, a brief stint at Humber College deepened her appreciation for jazz music. During this time, Brilla was recording/producing her own songs and released an eleven song EP called "Got Soul". Friend Brad Marshall introduced Alysha to Jacksoul keyboardist and producer Ron Lopata and the two began to demo some of Brilla's original songs with a full band.

Shortly thereafter, Brilla was signed to Last Gang Management.

In 2010, Alysha Brilla signed a record deal with U.S. Label, "Lava/Universal Republic" Records. She moved to L.A. and began recording and collaborating with American producers Brian West, Rick Nowels, Sam Farrar and others. Due to creative differences, Brilla split with the label in 2012 and started her own record label, "Sunny Jam Records".


Brilla was signed to BMG Publishing and she writes all her own music and lyrics, as well as writing and co-writing with/for other artists. Brilla's music has been featured on TV shows including Degrassi: The Next Generation and CMT's Unstable.[5] as well as Showcase Network's Television series King. Brilla is currently self-published through her company Get Lifted Publishing, Inc.


Brilla has practised yoga for several years. On her Facebook page she has stated that it makes her "so happy and has gotten (her) through so many difficult times". In November, 2014 Brilla travelled to Rishikesh, India where she studied and obtained her yoga teaching certification. She currently teaches in the disciplines of Hatha and Vinyasa yoga.


Brilla plays a unique style of guitar picking often likened to African/Reggae music, a rhythmic and lyrical style in an Afro/Brazilian popular structure.

Personal life[edit]

Brilla was bicycling topless with her two sisters in Kitchener, Ont., on July 24, 2015 when they were stopped by a police officer. She said he informed them that their actions were illegal and that they had to cover up. During the encounter, Brilla told the officer he was incorrect about the law as women have had the right to go topless in public in Ontario since 1996 as a result of the Gwen Jacob decision.[6]


  • 2016 Winner Midem Artist Accelerator, represented Canada in Cannes, France[7]
  • 2015 International Songwriting Contest winner in Lyric Category "Immigrant"
  • 2015 JUNO Award Nomination for "Womyn", Adult Contemporary Album of the Year
  • 2014 U.K. Songwriting Contest winner in Pop and Singer/Songwriter categories for "Never Gonna Get Me Back" [8]
  • 2014 Oktoberfest Woman of The Year winner.
  • 2014 JUNO Award Nomination for "In My Head", Adult Contemporary Album of the Year [9]
  • 2014 Galaxy Rising Star Award Winner, Burlington Sound of Music Festival
  • 2013 Ibiza Music Video Festival Fan Choice Award Winner, "Nobody"
  • 2013 Speaker at Tedx Youth Waterloo - May 27
  • 2012 Leading Edge KW Arts Award Winner
  • 2010 Record Deal with Lava Records/Universal Republic
  • 2010 Host of "The Buzz", a weekly Indie artist showcase at Toronto's Historical C'est What Venue.[10]
  • 2008 Oktoberfest Woman of The Year nomination.
  • 2008 Canwest Media Rhythm of the Future Winner
  • 2008 Grande River Society's " Blues Youth Legacy " winner[2]
  • 2008 Toronto Blues Society's Annual Contest top 3, 2008.[11]
  • 2007 Youth Legacy Award Winner
  • 2005 Canwest Media's "Rhythm Of The Future" winner.
  • FACTOR (foundation to assist Canadian Talent on Record) grant recipient.
  • Publishing Deal with Cherry Lane Music. Brilla briefly attended Humber College's Jazz program in Toronto while playing local gigs and building a fanbase.[3]
  • Has opened for April Wine, K-OS, Lights, Snow and Adam Bailie.


Studio albums[edit]

Year Album
2008 Alysha Brillinger
2012 Brilla (EP) [12]
2013 In My Head [13]
2014 Womyn [14]
2016 Human [15]



  1. ^ "Players Bio". Archived from the original on 28 May 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-29. 
  2. ^ a b " - arts - Brilla wins Showcase award". Retrieved 2010-06-29. 
  3. ^ a b "Cherry Lane Music Publishing Company, Inc. - New Signings for LAVA and Cherry Lane". 2010-06-14. Archived from the original on 27 July 2010. Retrieved 2010-06-29. 
  4. ^ "Performers". Kitchener Blues Festival. 2010-07-01. Retrieved 2010-07-01. 
  5. ^ "Country Music Television : Videos, Music and Community". Retrieved 2010-06-29. 
  6. ^ Shulman, Michael (2015-08-01). "'It is our right': Sisters lead topless protest for bare-breast awareness in Waterloo, Ont. | CTV News". Retrieved 2 August 2015.  The resultant controversy that arose resulted in a protest march on August 1, 2015 to support the trio.
  7. ^ "Midem Finalists". 
  8. ^ "U.K. Song Writing Awards 2014 Winners". 
  9. ^ "2014 Juno Nominees & Winners". 
  10. ^ "The Buzzz hosted by Alysha Brilla". 2010-01-05. Retrieved 2010-06-29. 
  11. ^ "Press Release". Retrieved 2010-06-29. 
  12. ^ "Brilla". iTunes. Retrieved 9 October 2012. 
  13. ^ "In My Head". iTunes. Retrieved 9 July 2013. 
  14. ^ "Womyn". iTunes. Retrieved 26 September 2014. 
  15. ^ "Human". iTunes. Retrieved 21 July 2016. 

External links[edit]