Hannah Bussière is a Toronto based artist and the lead singer of the band VEINS. Her passion for music is reflected in the dreamy euphoria that effortlessly flows from her mouth in a plethora of good vibes and jazzy tunes. With such a vast range of skills it is no shock as to how exceptionally charming she is. Within the past year Hannah has played several venues, notably an event to end rape culture and victim blaming called No Skirting Around. She recently released her first album with the band called Moon Garden which can be streamed or bought on their Bandcamp page.
When and how did you get into music?
When I was little, my mom was a stay-at-home mom – she was always musical and we would sing songs and play instruments every day. My favourite movie was the Sound of Music and I knew all the words to every song – I still have recordings of me at 4 singing “I Have Confidence”. I asked for piano lessons at 5, and then started violin at 7, voice lessons at 10 and guitar at 12. When I was 9, my mom joined her partner, now her wife, as being an owner of their music school, and that’s where I did all my lessons.
Who inspired you to start singing and playing instruments?
I honestly can’t pick out one specific point where I was inspired to play music; I’d always just grown up around all these teachers and students at the music school and was constantly inspired by them. It was kind of funny, because I was always a really shy kid but at the same time always had this ongoing desire to be performing on stage.
What are your top 5 favourite songs right now?
Always the hardest question…
– 1612 – Vulfpeck
Are there any femme artists that have inspired you? If so, what have you learned from these famous ladies?
So many. Here are a few:
1. Shannon Shaw (of Shannon & the Clams) – She really sets an example of confidence – strong body image, and is the sweetest vocalist.
2. M.I.A. – Also such a confident woman, and cool as hell. I’m definitely inspired by her political lyrics as well.
3. Melody Prochet (Melody’s Echo Chamber) – She wrote, recorded and produced her last single all on her own, which is amazing because it’s a pretty mindblowing track.
4. Janis Joplin – I recently watched a documentary on her and was really inspired by the honesty in her music and performances, as well as her spirit; she wasn’t afraid to be herself and to do whatever she felt.
5. Brittany Howard (Alabama Shakes) – Like Janis, she has such an honest, raw and unique voice and always gives it her all. Also a great guitar player.
6. Annie Clark (St. Vincent) – She’s a killer guitar player, which totally inspires me to keep practicing.
As a womyn in the music industry, what is the most important problem to eradicate within the industry? Objectification of womyn, safe venues, lack of popular artists within the LGBQT+ community, etc.
I don’t know if I can pinpoint one issue to deem as most important, as there are many different and equally important issues within the music industry, but here are three things I’m a big advocate for:
1. More diversity on stage – I would really like to push for this one. I have played too many shows where I have been the only person onstage who was not male and white.
2. Safe spaces for all genders & races
3. Respect and recognition for all talented performers, regardless of gender, sexuality or race.
I realize that as an artist, I have a certain power to voice my opinions on these issues and I really hope that I can help make a change.
Which cities have you played in?
Toronto, Montreal, and London (Ontario – I wish U.K. though)
Do you have any favourite venues in Toronto, or any of the other cities you’ve performed in?
The Cavern has always been a home for me – we played our first VEINS show there. Although it’s small and not the best sound quality, I always feel comfortable there, and it’s fun because it’s right below a hostel, so you meet a lot of cool people there.
We’ve also played at the Rivoli a couple of times which has been awesome because of the sound quality, and the stage is nice and big (there’s 6 people in my band now!) so there’s more room for us to dance around and have fun.
I’ve also always wanted to play at the Horseshoe, but that’s yet to happen!
Who is your biggest fan and most loyal supporter?
Probably Jacob, my boyfriend. He helped me start up VEINS and helped to record the very first VEINS songs. But he’s in my band so maybe that doesn’t count.. my friend Emily is also wonderful – she always comes to my shows and always has great creative ideas for me, and she really believes in me which is really lovely. And of course my mom.
If you had advice for any emerging artists in the city what would it be?
1. Don’t be afraid to reach out to local artists you admire! They can give you feedback on your songs and maybe help you land a show.
2. It sounds so cliché but believe in yourself. Don’t be discouraged if something doesn’t work out; always be confident in your art and in yourself.
3. Always set goals for yourself so that you can constantly motivate yourself. There’s no one to nag you to get things done, so be proactive. I make lots of to-do lists.
Are there any resources for femme artists that you can suggest?
Obviously WIMA has something cool going on …but definitely come talk to me if you want to set up a kickass femme show!