Calm swirls in the center of any storm. Past the rain, above the clouds, and beyond the thunder, harmony exists. Bri Tolani pulls such harmony out of emotional extremes. Ahead of her 2019 solo debut, the songstress boldly breaks the storm into bliss.
“When I hear music, I feel emotion first,” she explains. “It comes down to a connection. Since those feelings are always changing, the songs evolve. I never had a journal. I never had a diary. I never had any other way to express myself. I hate talking about my issues, so I sing.”
Bri actually sang before she could speak. As a toddler, her speech would be delayed a full year beyond the norm. However, she instead sang at her parents, “louder and more aggressively,” until she got their attention. Music offered a refuge from turbulence at home as she gravitated towards a wide swath of influences, ranging from Linkin Park to Taylor Swift. She wrote songs to memorize her homework throughout middle school before penning a proper tune in the aftermath of a freshman year heartbreak.
Despite soccer ambitions, the sport’s effect on the budding artist’s vocal cords caused her to forego pursuing it beyond high school. While attending the prestigious Bandier Program at Syracuse University, she lent her voice to a string of popular collaborations. “Better” [feat. Bri Tolani] by AJ Salvatore & Fluencee landed in the Top 25 of the Spotify US Viral Charts and Global Viral Charts. Meanwhile, her voice powered “Why Do I?” [10 million Spotify streams] with Unknown Brain, “Because of You” [6 million Spotify streams] with Steve Void and Big Z, and “Words” [2 million Spotify streams] with Steve Void and BEAUZ, to name a few
However, the single “Hazy” uncovers the heart of her singular style. Backed by echoes of clean guitar, her voice slips from hypnotic verses into a chantable refrain, “Everything is just so damn hazy.” Lyrically, she details her own struggles with mental health and dissociation in an uncut lyrics and an unshakable melody.
“The song is my experience with dissociation,” she admits. “It’s when you feel like you’re removed from the reality around you. Everything is foggy. Nothing is clear. It’s like you’re in a fog. It can be pretty scary, so I wrote this.”
In the end, the storm subsides into a raw and real sound culled from true experience.
“I connect on a deep level to my favorite artists,” she leaves off. “If my music can impact people the same way, there would be nothing better.” - Rick Florino (2019)