EAC Friday Feature: Brooke Surgener

Friday Aug 12th, 2022


10 Questions with Brooke Surgener

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Brooke Surgener

-written by Nat Richmond


As an artist, it takes a great deal of courage to express the most vulnerable parts of your life's journey with the world. Brooke doesn't mind finding the most sensitive parts of her story, and composing works around those parts to birth songs that inspire her audiences to feel and think. As a singer/songwriter, she takes a great amount of care to ensure she's creatively digging deep, and she finds her narrative by staying true to her own authenticity. I had a fantastic conversation with Brooke about her process and what it means to be an Artist that stands in her truth.

What is the story of your origins with Music?

I was always around music. My mom gave piano lessons and it exposed me to music very early on. I loved Music because it gave me a voice that I didn't feel I had. I was able to be myself and feel comfortable expressing myself to people.

What instruments did you start with and what do you play now?

I originally started off playing piano, but once I started playing guitar, I fell in love with it. Honestly, I will play any instrument that I possibly can when I am making music now. On my latest project, Moon Waves, I've played guitar, piano, banjo, mandolin, and the bass.

What artists have been an inspiration for you?

I've noticed that, since Covid started, I have been listening to more female artists.  I've been feeling empowered by listening to them because, for so long, I was listening to mostly male-led bands. Since finding more female artists, like Big Thief, Samia, The Wild Reeds, Kate Rudy, Phoebe Bridgers- it has been showing me that there are some pretty powerful women out there. 

What song in your catalog have you really had to dig deep to compose and perform? A song that has really pushed you to come out of your comfort zone.

"Black Coffee". This is a song that I had to write in pieces because it deals with my depression. It's a reflection of the cycle of depression, how sometimes you could be in a good place and other times, the world could feel like too much. It was inspired by this time I was at home with my dog, and I made some coffee. I realized that I didn't have any cream or sugar, so I drank it black. My father used to drink his coffee black, and he passed away a few years ago. As I was drinking it, I started to sing out loud all the things I was feeling. I love to sing this song live because I can tell this story, and it's therapeutic for me. I feel proud that I am able to sing it out loud and express these emotions, and hope it’s able to help someone else struggling as well.

As an artist, do you feel like you've dug the deepest you can go? Or, is there more to uncover?

As an artist, I feel like the work is never done. Although I am comfortable where I am creatively, I still feel like I can grow more, and I’m excited to see where that growth takes me!

How do you feel like you impact the Music culture here in Erie?

Erie is such an amazing city, and full of that support that inspires you to keep going. But, I also want to inspire artists to not be afraid to seek success outside of the city. Don't be afraid to expand. Also, where I work I  give young girls Music lessons. It’s beautiful and empowering to see them express themselves and that I’m able to help!  I'm all about girl power and inspiring them to create.

What are your ambitions for the near future?

Honestly, I just love performing for people and making connections with the audience. The conversations that I have with them make me feel good. I want to be able to travel and make a living off of performing and connecting with people.

Do you have a dream artist that you'd like to collaborate with?

There's an artist by the name of Lights that I really enjoy. She's a great lyricist, and goes between the genres of Pop, Rock, and Alternative. I love her confidence and the way she expresses her authenticity. There would be so much to take away from an experience like that.

Tell me more about your upcoming project, Moon Waves.

This will be a full length, original album. It documents the past several years of my life. The title of it was inspired by a song I wrote called "Tidal Waves", which was a milestone moment for me creatively. I had to grow up fast around that time, so my perspective on life was changing. I'm excited to see how people feel about it. I'm very proud of it. I put alot of hard work into it. The project will be released on October 14th, and I'll be having an album release event at 1020 Collective on October 15th!

Any final thoughts?

I hope when people hear my music they are able to feel the emotions I’m expressing. Happy, sad, love, loss.. these are my stories but I want them to hear their own stories through them. In the end, all that matters to me is that I followed my heart and my passion- as well as put in the work. You gotta know what you care about, and not give up on that spark!

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