Exclusive Interview: Stephanie Braganza on her Animal Rights Music Video
Canadian singer songwriter Stephanie Braganza released the official music video for her new single, “Chains of Silence.” The new single is a jaw-dropping story of an alien abduction with a surprising twist. The thought-provoking video houses a powerful message and has incited discussion amongst its viewers.
“Chains of Silence” marks Braganza’s first foray into the rock genre. The song was written by Braganza and her co-writer, Kolin Stewart. The track was co-produced with John Allen, the co-producer behind Braganza’s last hit single, ‘When We Last Kissed – ft. Drega.’ Chris Strikes, the director of Kardinal Offishall’s award-winning music video, ‘Turn It Up,’ was also brought on board to help envision the music video concept that Braganza and Stewart created. For Strikes, one of the most important elements of approaching the project was creating thought-provoking visuals that also cause the viewer to take a moment and feel compassion toward animals.
Tell us about “When We Last Kissed” and working with Drega, how did that come about? "When We Last Kissed ft. Drega" is a song about whether a love is real or not. It's also about how there is an unknown when it comes to temptation. Giving into temptation could have great satisfaction or have devastating consequences.
I had a couple of rappers in mind, but I really liked Drega's rhythm and the messages he portrayed in his own original songs. He is very positive and honest in his lyrics. He loves to create and it was great to work with someone that was open to working on a song that was in the dance genre, and a little different than what he may have been used to.
What was the inspiration behind the new song and video “Chains of Silence”? After becoming heavily involved in animal activism and becoming vegan, I realized that one of the most difficult things that comes with being vegan is trying to understand why otherwise good and caring people, like family and friends, continue to participate in needless violence against animals. These feelings of pain and frustration flowed when I penned them to paper when writing the lyrics to “Chains of Silence.” For the music video, I thought it would be easier for people to understand what animals go through if I used the female body as an analogy for what dairy cows go through. The dairy industry is arguably one of the cruelest industries in animal agriculture.
What has been the response to the song and video? I had assumed I may get some backlash when I released this video. The genre of music is a lot darker and heavy than what I usually write, and the video is a bit on the mature side. Surprisingly, the response has been mostly positive. I have had many people tell me that the video and song was powerful and moved them. I have had people say that after watching it, they did more research on the dairy industry and they are now slowly cutting dairy out of their diet. To know that my music made a difference like that in someone's life, is incredible.
The song is more rock than your previous releases, are you taking your music in a new direction? Or is there more dance music to come? At this point, I can't say for certain. I've grown up with, and performed, many genres of music. What genres I love more than others always fluctuates, but I love them all and admire all the different technical aspects of them. I will say that for "Chains of Silence", the rock vibe did the song's message justice. I've been a growing lover of classic rock vocalists like Steve Perry of Journey and Freddie Mercury of Queen, and with my co-writer/guitarist Kolin Stewart's Megadeth influences, "Chains of Silence" came together.
You have collaborated with Kolin Stewart on your recent music, how did you end up working with him? Kolin and I both met at music school and we got our music degrees together. A lot of people were focusing on different areas of music, for example, going to perform on a cruise or becoming a jazz arranger, but we both had the same interests and ideas when it came to composing and what we wanted to do with our music and sound.
What is your song writing process? There isn't one right process. But often, I come up with the theme first. Then I write music. After the music is written I try to write lyrics and then work out melody lines. Kolin and I will work out a guitar riff together, and when I have something that resonates with me, I'll contact my producer to get something more firmly in place.
What kind of music did you listen to growing up? Who are your musical influences? I would say that my biggest musical influences growing up were Ella Fitzgerald, Michael Jackson, and Whitney Houston. Currently, I'm a big fan of Journey, Heart, Queen, Paramore, Amy Winehouse, and Sia, to name a few.
What can audiences expect from your live show? The live show is all with a live band. It's energetic and exciting and we play renditions of the songs that are not on the recordings. The band-mates that I work with are great. Nothing makes for a better show (for me), then the connection you have with the musicians you work with.
What are your plans for 2017? I'm definitely planning to continue to write. I already have a few crazy video ideas in mind.
November 4, 2016 12:47pm ET by Diane Foy