Canadian pop-country duo Broadtree returns to shine a light on hope and optimism with their latest feel-good end-of-summer single entitled "Breath of Fresh Air."
After losing their stage work as actors due to the pandemic, the stylings of Armand Antony and Nicole McCafferty paired up to create their pop-country duo, Broadtree.
Using their platform to speak out about racial equality, First Nations rights in Canada, and supporting the LGBTQ+ community, it's clear that Broadtree uses their platform to encourage unapologetic living for each and every voice.
Now releasing their hopeful end-of-summer single, "Breath of Fresh Air," Broadtree mentioned how the pandemic felt similar to an abusive relationship; once it starts to get better, things quickly turn south. Without literally mentioning Covid-19, Broadtree personifies the virus as whatever's keeping us down in life while encouraging us to keep hope for a better day.
Listening to "Breath of Fresh Air," the song opens with a warm and lush country instrumental that leads us into the first verse. As the drums and electric guitar begin to expand, Nicole McCafferty makes her melodic vocal appearance while expanding on the many ways the pandemic has affected our lives by telling us what to wear, to stay inside, and leaving us trapped without an inch of hope.
As Broadtree takes us around the hook, both Nicole McCafferty and Armand Antony leave us with nothing but hope and faith to escape these dreadful times and keep our heads held high. While the song makes its way to the outro, Broadtree and their magnetic pop-country instrumentals leave us with a needed "Breath of Fresh Air."
Move onward and upward with help from Broadtree's latest single, "Breath of Fresh Air," now available on all digital streaming platforms.
Thank you for catching up with us at BuzzMusic Broadtree. We highly appreciate such an influential and optimistic single like "Breath of Fresh Air." What inspired your group to personify Covid-19 and not literally sing about the virus when creating this hopeful single?
Armand: Thank you! Life during the pandemic has been sad enough as it is - we didn’t want to write a song about living in these times because things are depressing enough! There are so many artists who have been inspired to write about isolation and their pandemic experience but it was the one thing we wanted to avoid. We’re truly sick of this pandemic, or the plague as we like to call it. We’re tired of feeling depressed, isolated, hopeless, and we wanted to focus on the positive point we’re in now. We wanted to focus on the escape and freedom we’re starting to experience now that things are settling down and our world is opening up.
Nicole: Life during the plague felt almost oppressive. Obviously, that’s a very ‘First World Problems’ term to use, but many people lost everything that made them who they are - their jobs, their families, their hobbies, their friends, their dreams - all activities that provided hope and distraction from hardships. It really took a toll on your mind; many people experienced severe depression or anxiety for the first time. And then there was that terrible uncertainty of when, if ever, you’d be free of such a hopeless situation. When we tried to describe the feeling of finally escaping that, we realized it sounded like coming out of an abusive situation. It’s anything that’s keeping you from being your true self or living a full life, whether that’s something as simple, and perhaps even fun or silly, as a teenager annoyed with their controlling parents, or a mean boss always on your case, to something much more devastating, like an abusive relationship or something less tangible like an illness or disease. So we really played with that - we wanted the imagery to be very specific while keeping the interpretation very open and relatable. Above all, we wanted to focus on the joy of newfound freedom. The character in this song is a person who has endured, overcome and escaped, who is looking back on difficult times and saying “I beat you. I made it out. And it feels GREAT.”
Did your duo split the songwriting process for "Breath of Fresh Air?" What was the main theme or concept you wanted to get across with your lyricism?
Nicole: The main concept for ‘Breath of Fresh Air’ was “escape”. How do you capture and describe the feeling of an escape? I came into this one with half a verse and chorus in mind, and that first verse was describing the thing keeping you down, what they took from you, how that made you feel. And then we centered on that personification of COVID that you mentioned earlier. Armand got into the specifics of ‘painting the picture’, as he likes to say, and it then became figuring out what are the rules making them feel this way? What are they being denied?”
Armand: We always have a completely equal and collaborative process when songwriting and this was no different. With Nicole telling the story from the side of repression, I wanted to, as Nicole said, paint the picture of what happens once that freedom kicks in. The chorus of this song is a great summary - when you truly felt you were going to lose someone or something or even yourself to all of this, then finally escaping to a metaphorical or, in this case, a literal breath of fresh air. Once free, we wanted to dive into all the things we’ve missed - taking a joyride, having drinks with friends, enjoying concerts, and even finally getting a real haircut! We both shared our ideas and feelings on the negatives of living through this, but only to use them as a basis for the positive, which is what this song is all about - finally finding joy in reclaiming what we missed.
Did you work alongside any producers when crafting and finalizing your single "Breath of Fresh Air?" Who helped bring the song into existence?
Nicole: We may be one of the stranger artists that consider every song our little baby and won’t let anyone near it - we build, record, and mix everything ourselves. We write, arrange, and produce everything together in our home studio. This song was particularly interesting because it was very much a challenge of keeping the lyrics from sounding too dark. Without the right instrumental and melody behind them, they could come off VERY negative at the beginning, which was not our intention.
Armand: Though we always have final control, we will often have at least one person act as our extra ear. In this case, we worked with our extremely talented friend, Joe Lapierre, who was constantly giving us feedback at each stage in the song both from a technical standpoint and a musical one. He’s played with us live before and we couldn’t think of a better person to support us. And, of course, play the awesome guitar solo on the track. Joe’s become an unofficial member of Broadtree, along with Kevin Frank, who’s an absolutely incredible drummer. Kevin did not perform on Breath of Fresh Air but was a part of Broadtree’s last hit single, “Be As”
Do you often write songs that represent our current times and events, similar to "Breath of Fresh Air?" Would you say that your group is usually inspired by what's going on in society?
Nicole: I would say the influence is definitely there. We don’t purposely TRY to write songs about current events, but we write about what we are affected by, so it tends to comes out. For example, a lot of our first album could be attributed to what was going on at the time because it was a product of how we were feeling, which was a product of the time. Many of the tracks were about a personal loss, mental illness, saying goodbye to a friend - all experiences in the vein of what we had lived or been living through. And while they might not always be songs, we also do our best to be as active as we can in supporting social issues.
Armand: If you check out our Instagram, there are a number of causes we care deeply about that we try to be advocates for - mental illness, anti-racism, LGBTQ+, and First Nations rights to name a few. We released a single called ‘Be As’ during Pride month, which was a re-imagining of a song from 2000. Though the original version mainly focused on racism and homophobia, we expanded that to include many other groups that experience oppression and judgment, like racism in today’s age, living with the stigmas of mental illness, freedom of religion, gender identity, body positivity. All of these are current, relevant topics that we make their way into songs we release.
Nicole: It’s a privilege to be able to talk about what’s going on in the world in a song. When it comes organically, it makes the song even more special. If we can open someone’s mind to something they may not have been aware of, or can help someone feel seen or support them in some way, that’s more than we could ever want. We have a few songs in mind for the future that will probably fall under the ‘social commentary’ category - but that’s a conversation for another time.
Armand: For now, we can say that this is a song inspired by what’s going on in the world but focuses on hope, joy, and the thrill of moving towards a world we once knew and can’t wait to get back to.