Brenda’s got style!
Article by Thamali Wijekoon
She sings pop, jazz and classical; she takes over the stage and captures her audience! What’s special about her is her style of performance, the oozing energy she sings with and how she makes the most dispassionate, passionate about it all. She’s Brenda Mendis and we had a lot to talk about her music…
Do you come from a music oriented family?
I was influenced by the musicians in my family. My aunt is Nirosha Virajini. She used to keep me on her lap when I was small and tell me to be like her one day. I used to sing since I was little but was more into gymnastics and art at school than music. I am originally from Kandy and studied at Good Shepherd Convent in Kandy. My father got a placement in Colombo and thereafter we moved to Kandana.
After moving to Kandana, I attended Seventh Day Adventist. The class next door to mine was the western music class. I was fascinated by all that was going on there and wanted to pick music classes over art. Amidst displeasure of my art teacher, I decided to pursue my new found passion. But I chose eastern music. I had a great teacher who was very encouraging and supportive. She was really fond of me. We placed at group singing competitions and I came to find experimenting of my new talents to be very exciting. That’s how it all began.
Did you jump into western music thereafter?
I competed at a reality competition 6years ago. The funny thing is, I used to hate public singing because it made me really nervous. One day when I came home, my mother said that I got a call back from the organizers and that was when I learned that an application was sent by my mother and sister on behalf of me to the competition. I was really scared because I was inexperienced and there would be many talented singers at the auditions. I didn’t have a trainer except for the practicing that I did with my father.
I then enrolled at my aunt’s ‘Beats of Heart Academy’ to study into detail on how to perform in public, use techniques and all that.
So how did your lessons go?
She taught me the very basics. She was a stern teacher, I would say. You can’t have a teacher who is always nice to you and affirms everything you do without criticizing. My aunt would straight up tell me that I’m horrible, when I was actually horrible. I was more into singing English and western Sinhalese songs by then but as I suddenly diverted into classical music, the variations promised to be very difficult to grasp. Nevertheless my aunt managed to make it all easy for me.
If you could give one tip for our readers from your experience what would it be?
Be different and do your own thing! I was never afraid to be different. Even when I walked in and out of competitions, I always managed to put a smile on my face and refused to cry one bit. People still recognize me from the reality competition I took part in six years ago. I felt very humbled and proud of myself by that. You wouldn’t remember someone if they weren’t different.
So you believe that studying music can change the performance of someone drastically…
Check out http://brendamusiclk.com/ to see more of her work!