Radio host and singer-songwriter are just two of the many hats worn by Winnipeg native Jacob Brodovsky.
Beginning his career as a member of numerous bands, Brodovsky jump-started his solo career in 2019 with the release of his EP, Sixteen Years. Since then, the artist has been working on a full-length album, I Love You And I’m Sorry, set to release this fall.
On June 28th, the artist released his new single, “Night Baker.” Centered around a real bakery employee who worked near Brodovsky’s Winnipeg apartment, the song relays the lyrically rich and imaginative tale of the life of a fictional baker working through the wee hours.
With bagels and sourdough as his companions, the night baker’s mundane life is made playful and thought-provoking with Brodovsky’s simple yet effective lyrics. His indie-folk sound is enriched by his own bass and guitar accompaniment, qualifying yet another of his many hats as a multi-instrumentalist.
Despite staying busy with his own music career, Brodovsky also hosts a weekly radio show called, “Let’s Play DJ!.” Driven by a passion for Winnipeg musicians, he hopes to highlight local musicians by bringing them on as guests.
When he is not writing music or hosting his radio show, Brodovsky (along with his wife) serves as director for a children’s summer camp and spends time with his beloved rescue dog Mavis.
We got the chance to chat with Brodovsky about the fun new single, his radio show, Mavis, and much more.
Between your weekly radio show, running a summer camp, and your own music career, you must stay pretty busy. How do you manage to juggle these things and manage priorities?
Ha, I guess I’ve always been bad at sitting still. The camp job is essentially all consuming in the summer, but lightens in the off-season affording me some time to write, record, and tour. It also gives me some financial stability, which is nice as my nervous system wasn’t really compatible with the ups and downs and hustle of being a full-time musician. The radio show is really just fun for me, I love hanging with other songwriters and nerding out about music.
Your new single, “Night Baker”, dropped June 28. It’s a lyrically unique song with quirky and imagery-laden lyrics. Can you tell us more about the backstory you’ve created for this character?
Thanks! I wrote this song during a summer when I was feeling pretty down, and basically spent an evening sitting outside this bakery after a long shift at the diner I was working at projecting my own misery onto this fictional person. Though I’m an introvert, I do really enjoy being around other people especially at work, and I really don’t like staying up late, so I was sort of trying to imagine what it would be like to work alone like that late at night, and what kind of person would be drawn to that kind of job.
You covered the vocals, guitar, and bass for this new single. When writing music, what part of the process do you typically start with first, and how do songs typically flesh out for you?
Jeff Tweedy is one of my favourite songwriters, and I remember reading a quote from him somewhere where he says essentially if a song sounds good with just acoustic guitar and voice, it will work no matter how you dress it up. That’s how I approach songwriting – always acoustic guitar and voice first, and then with this record specifically, I really enjoyed bringing in some pals and letting them play to their instincts without giving them much direction. It was a real treat to collaborate like that and it resulted in a pretty big variety of arrangements for the tunes.
What messages or feelings do you typically try to convey in your music?
I want folks to chuckle at the first verse or chorus, and be punched in the gut with emotion by the third verse. I try not to take myself too seriously and try to convey that in my writing.
I see that your album, I Love You, I’m Sorry, is set to release this fall. How long have you been working on this project, and how might this album be different from your 2019 EP, Sixteen Years?
It’s been a heck of a long time! I started to write these songs at a Banff Centre Singer Songwriter residency, which was run by Kevin Welch (who I believe was based in Nashville for a time). We started recording in the February of 2020, which was obviously terrible timing, and so I just sort of chipped away at it through the pandemic.
Every Friday you host a radio show to discuss music with members of the Winnipeg music community. How has your show influenced your own music, and what do you hope that listeners take away from the program?
I hope folks discover new music to listen to! My favorite way to get to know a new artist is to dig into their influences, and what music they are really excited about, so I hope folks get to know their favourite bands a bit better. Winnipeg has such an incredible music community, and I feel privileged to be apart of it as well to be able to showcase it a little bit on my show.
If you could choose any current musician to have on your show, who would you choose and why? And what might you want to ask them?
Oh that’s a tough question! Too many to count, but off the top of my head, I’ve been really digging Courtney Marie Andrews, Christian Lee Hutson, and Aimee Mann lately. I mean if I could interview anyone, Joni Mitchell would probably take the cake. I’d ask them what I ask everyone which is – “What music are you listening to these days?”
Your Instagram profile is full of pictures of your adorable rescue dog, Mavis, and she is featured in the promo photos. It’s clear she means a lot to you; is there a story behind her adoption and her influence on you?
I wish there was! I’ve actually never really been a dog person. I never had a family dog and was always quite uncomfortable/scared around dogs. My partner and I had always talked about getting a dog, and the opportunity to adopt Mavis was kind of just sprung up on us one day. We got her when I was on tour in Germany. When I got home from tour, It was love at first sight. I don’t think I’ll ever not have a dog. It totally changes your perspective on animals and living things in general. Dogs are such kind and generous beings. I feel lucky to have her!
As mentioned previously, you and your wife run a summer camp for children in your free time. How did this project get started and what has been the most rewarding part of this experience?
Yes! More of a day job than an ‘in my free time’ sort of thing. We met at camp a long time ago, and worked many summers out here before taking over as directors in 2020. It’s just the best. We get to teach kids to be kind and to have an appreciation for the wilderness. Since taking over we’ve tried to make our camp a lot more accessible to folks with financial barriers, and it’s really rewarding to allow more kids to have a summer camp experience who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford it.
What else might fans of Jacob Brodovsky expect in the near future?
Lots more music! And some tours! Singles will be coming out for the rest of the summer and then the full record in the fall. I’ve also been working on a re-imagining of the record where other bands take my tunes and make them their own. Stay tuned!