Q & A W/ SINGER-SONGWRITER DAVID NEWBERRY

Posted on May 2, 2014

“I’m passionate about songwriting… because it is the way that I best know to communicate”…

Over the 20 previous Volumes, singer-songwriters have contributed to some of the most memorable and emotional Brief Encounters creations — and so we’re really excited to see what singer-songwriter David Newberry, together with powwow dancer Nyla Carpentier, are working on for Brief Encounters 21. David is a story-driven musician with a keen eye for detail: two qualities that are sure to come in handy as he and Nyla carve out their creation. Below, David takes us into his mindset as he dives into the process.

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Q: Briefly tell me about your work. What’s your artistic passion? Career highlights?

DAVID: I call myself a songwriter/performer, by which I mean I try to make sure there is some kind of performative aspect to the work I create. That doesn’t necessarily mean choreography or pyrotechnics, but I want people to come to shows expecting something more than a thirty-something from East Vancouver singing about his feelings (though I certainly do that too).

I’m passionate about songwriting and performing because it is the way that I best know to communicate. I sometimes have trouble communicating, especially to strangers. But I also feel like I have a lot of things that I am passionate about and want to communicate about and create discussion around. This is the best way I have found to do that. And I love it. I love it enough that it’s hard for me to think of something like career highlights. I often find myself leaving stage thinking that that particular experience was a highlight for me. Maybe I just have a short emotional memory.
 
Q: What did you say when you were first asked to participate in Brief Encounters?

DAVID: I said, “Yes.” I’d been angling to participate for a number of years, so I feel like they were not surprised by my answer.
 
Q: What are you hoping to get out of the Brief Encounters process?

DAVID: On a basic level, I was just looking to connect with other kinds of artists, and have the opportunity to create a new collaborative work. My collaborative experience in the past is largely limited to helping a friend with their song, or seeking help for one of mine. So I am hoping to grow my ability as a creator and collaborator.
 
Q; What are you most excited about re: Brief Encounters 21? Is there anything that you’re dreading?

DAVID: I’m excited to learn more about other people’s creative processes, and stretch mine out a little. My own process is usually very slow, super methodical, and occasionally painful. I don’t know if there has ever been a circumstance in which something I created has been presented to the general public within two weeks of creation, so that is a bit of a dread. And while I’m often on stage, it is almost never in a theatrical sense, which makes me a bit nervous for that.
 
Q: Tell me about your Brief Encounters collaborator. Without giving too much away, what can Brief Encounters 21 audiences expect from this collaboration?

DAVID: I’m working with Nyla Carpentier, who has been billed as a Pow Wow dancer, but who I just learned is also an actor, trained mime, singer, and so much more. So, you can expect a show with a diverse range of influences. We’ve been working through a number of possibilities. [We’ve] found common ground in an interest of various manifestations of “emptiness,” and the causes and consequences that go along with it.
 
Q: What advice do you have for artists who participate in future Brief Encounters?

DAVID: Clear your schedules. I have a number of other performances and small tours during the creation and rehearsal process, and while it’s doable, it’s also a bit more stressful than it needed to be.  
 
Q: Anything else you’d like to share with me?

DAVID: Vancouver, obviously, has a lot of really excellent art, and really vibrant artistic communities. But I find that, even more than other cities, Vancouver’s artistic communities tend to keep to themselves. For me, this is why I find Brief Encounters to be really exciting, not just as a participant, but also as an audience member, which I have been a number of times. It’s really exciting to finally get to be a part of this enforced cross-pollination, and I’m most looking forward to creating lasting relationships across artistic boundaries.

Brief Encounters 21 | May 8–10, 2014 @ Guilt & Co.

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