The Shmooze

A Jewish Taylor Swift?

By Michael Kaminer

  • Print
  • Share Share

Could the next guitar-toting, post-adolescent pop sensation — a la Taylor Swift or Colbie Caillat — be a 16-year-old Jewish girl from suburban Montreal?

If the buzz around Brittany Kwasnik, a soft-spoken singer-song writer, is any sign, there’s a good chance.

Kwasnik, who started writing songs in her bathroom, went from musician in hiding to a record contract almost overnight. After hearing a song she wrote last year, friends encouraged Kwasnik to post it on YouTube, which she did with only an old photograph of herself.

A few days and 37,000 hits later, Kwasnik caught the attention of LA-based music impresario Greg London; a couple of months after that, she was on a plane to Los Angeles, where her debut CD, “I Don’t Know Me” was produced by ex-Rembrandts frontman David Zeman. With her first album out, The Gazette, Montreal’s English-language daily, has already linked her style to famed singer-songwriters Tracy Chapman and Joan Armatrading.

With her cousin, music-industry veteran Sheldon Cwinn, as her manager, Kwasnik’s getting a crash course in how show business works. And she’ll need to be a quick study; the next year includes plans for tours of Australia and Japan, as well as recording of her sophomore album.

While her profile climbs – her single, “Breathe”, has gotten over 130,000 hits on YouTube – Kwasnik is still a 10th grade student at Riverdale High School in western Montreal and lives at home with her parents. Her family’s telephone number is listed. And she doesn’t plan on leaving Canada’s second city for greener pastures anytime soon. “Montreal’s home and it feels like home. I feel in place because I’ve grown up here,” she said.

But if fans have their way, she may not be spending much time there.


Permalink | | Share | Email | Print | Filed under: Tracy Chapman, Montreal, Taylor Swift, Greg London, Brittany Kwasnik

The Jewish Daily Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Jewish Daily Forwardrequires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and The Jewish Daily Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.




Find us on Facebook!
  • “My mom went to cook at the White House and all I got was this tiny piece of leftover raspberry ganache."
  • Planning on catching "Fading Gigolo" this weekend? Read our review.
  • A new initiative will spend $300 million a year towards strengthening Israel's relationship with the Diaspora. http://jd.fo/q3Iaj Is this money spent wisely?
  • Lusia Horowitz left pre-state Israel to fight fascism in Spain — and wound up being captured by the Nazis and sent to die at Auschwitz. Share her remarkable story — told in her letters.
  • Vered Guttman doesn't usually get nervous about cooking for 20 people, even for Passover. But last night was a bit different. She was cooking for the Obamas at the White House Seder.
  • A grumpy Jewish grandfather is wary of his granddaughter's celebrating Easter with the in-laws. But the Seesaw says it might just make her appreciate Judaism more. What do you think?
  • “Twist and Shout.” “Under the Boardwalk.” “Brown-Eyed Girl.” What do these great songs have in common? A forgotten Jewish songwriter. We tracked him down.
  • What can we learn from tragedies like the rampage in suburban Kansas City? For one thing, we must keep our eyes on the real threats that we as Jews face.
  • When is a legume not necessarily a legume? Philologos has the answer.
  • "Sometime in my childhood, I realized that the Exodus wasn’t as remote or as faceless as I thought it was, because I knew a former slave. His name was Hersh Nemes, and he was my grandfather." Share this moving Passover essay!
  • Getting ready for Seder? Chag Sameach! http://jd.fo/q3LO2
  • "We are not so far removed from the tragedies of the past, and as Jews sit down to the Seder meal, this event is a teachable moment of how the hatred of Jews-as-Other is still alive and well. It is not realistic to be complacent."
  • Aperitif Cocktail, Tequila Shot, Tom Collins or Vodka Soda — Which son do you relate to?
  • Elvis craved bacon on tour. Michael Jackson craved matzo ball soup. We've got the recipe.
  • This is the face of hatred.
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.