A pinch of sweet and a dash of spice flavours the jazz-rock, blue-jean and heels, powerhouse performer Cayla Brooke’s musical Le Creuset. Garnering comparisons ranging from modern vocalists Adele, early Holly Cole and the late Eva Cassidy to classic belters Janis Joplin and Barbra Streisand. The Vancouver performer mixes intensity with a sensitivity wrapped in effective contradictions with essences of benchmark bands like Steely Dan and Chicago. A musical gumbo, Brooke embraces and explores her wide spectrum of interests and life experiences in her music and writing. Cayla Brooke in the simplest summary? Accessible. Sophisticated. Soulful. Self-proclaimed Foodie.
The easy-going Brooke, who seamlessly shifts from sparse, heart-wrenching ballads to full on flavour explosion, multi-instrumental dance tunes, aptly transports her audience on a musical journey with each performance. Her comfort in contrasting styles and tempos holds the listener as they travel along for the ride. But it’s Cayla’s innate soulfulness and personality that ties each composition together. Born and raised in Vancouver, Brooke is simply doing what she’s always done. She learned to sing in Church deciding that she was going to be a performer by the age of three. Her father was an avid country music fan. Her mother a lover of big band and jazz. All contributing to her soup pot of influences. She believes her foodie instincts stems from her gospel roots. “I remember the aroma of roast beef and casseroles wafting into the sanctuary near the end of the sermon. Calling me to come and get it. Music and cooking have always gone together for me. It’s no wonder I love both.”
Cayla Brooke grew up singing other people’s music, beginning her professional career at the age of 14. It was as an adult; however, and her discovery of the late Eva Cassidy’s legacy of music that was the game changer for her. She related to the singer’s fusion of jazz, folk and gospel. Cayla felt a kindred spirit with the late artist and was compelled to tell her story. She wrote a script, gathered some of Vancouver’s finest musicians and rented a theatre. After critical acclaim and sold out houses Brooke felt the need to share her own story. Her debut album Plush Red Chair, being released at an age when most artists are slowing down, does just that. The album of ten original songs (co-written by Cayla and producer Bill Sample) pieces together personal moments from Brookes life. Telling stories of heartbreak, love, survival and the indelible nature of the human spirit. Each song resembling something familiar and yet fresh. New. Like comfort food for the soul. During the writing and recording of Plush Red Chair, Cayla found a new sense of purpose. “Society tells us that once we reach a certain age we’re done.” Something she has a hard time swallowing. “We have so much to offer! So many of us are folding up when we’re just about to blossom. I say, unless we’re boots up, it ain’t over!”
“WOW! WOW! WOW!”
“Wow! I’d be at the dictionary for hours to find enough superlatives to praise Cayla Brooke ... Hands down, this was the best show I’ve ever seen at the Theatre Festival. I can’t be more superlative than that. ***** (5 stars)”
— Anne M. Holmes, GI News