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  • Writer's pictureThe Sound Cafe

Brianna Kočka's New Album 'Let It Stay' is a Genre-Defying Work of Art

Brianna Kočka is a prolific songwriter who has been a part of a handful of projects throughout Minnesota. While each project has had it’s own distinct sound, Kočka is best known for her honesty through songwriting—she believes that music is a form of give and take, that lyrics and melodies are an important part of shared life, and that we use these creative spaces to engage in our humanness together.

Evoking the instrumentation of Joni Mitchell, the intimacy of Nick Drake and mournful harmonies of Americana pioneer Gillian Welch, Brianna Kočka’s new album, Let It Stay, is a genre-defying work that juxtaposes closeness and longing through both lyric and sound.

Self-produced and primarily recorded at home with engineer Justin Muffett, the songs take you on a sonic journey from chaos to calm, and ask questions about attachment, impermanence, loss and love amidst the uncertainty of life.

Collaborators include: Jimmy Barnett, Lars-Erik Larson, Joe Peterson, Adelyn Strei, and Adam Wozniak. Acoustic guitar, Rhodes piano, and synthesizer were played by Brianna.

Brianna grew up in a suburb of the Twin Cities, teaching herself to play guitar at age twelve, and subsequently started to write songs soon thereafter. She released her first album, “Write by Night,” in 2010 under her own name. This album was a collection of songs related to the end of an important relationship in her life, and the joys of living in the Maritimes of Canada, where she lived from 2007 - 2011.

In the spring of 2011 Kočka moved back to Minneapolis and created her alter-ego, CAETANI, and released an EP of five indie-rock songs (“The Black EP”) to acclaim in the local music scene. The five song EP was an introspective look at five specific relationships in her life, each song representing a different person, including herself.

In the winter of 2012 she and a group of friends created the Psychedelic/Trip Hop group Sun Gods to Gamma Rays, and over three years released an EP (“The Water, The Wave”) and one full length album (“A Ghost to Find”), while playing extensively throughout the Twin Cities and Midwest. Each of these albums are filled with lyrics about Brianna’s divorce from organized religion, as well as a newfound look at feminism and sensuality.

Needing a break from city life, Brianna moved to an island off the east coast to work and live for ten months. While there she began playing guitar again, and out poured an album's worth of Folk/Americana songs related to the hardships of life, the realities of marriage, and living in isolation. After Kočka moved back to the Twin Cities, she released her second studio album, Dreamlife, on May 1, 2018.

Brianna’s third album is an autobiographical look at love, loss and grief, taking place chronologically from the first optimistic moments of falling in love, to the final moments of losing your loved one to illness. It was also Brianna’s first time producing and arranging the entire album from front to back. Each song has a distinct flavour, from pop-country, to pure Americana, to almost Jazz like singer-songwriter songs. Three Songs was self-released on November 12, 2019.

Amidst a global pandemic in 2020, Brianna wrote Let It Stay, a collection of songs that portray deep questioning and self-witnessing amidst tragedy, civil unrest, isolation and within it all, love. Her most masterful work to date, the songs on Let It Stay are genre-defying and true to form. Produced by Kočka, the album was self-released on May 14, 2021.

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