New solo artist, StFX student basks in ECMA nomination

ANTIGONISH: One of the newer faces in the local music scene cannot believe she was nominated for her first East Coast Music Award.

Antigonish-based folk-pop singer/songwriter Moira Bren (born Moira MacMullin) was nominated in the Rising Star Recording of the Year category for her six-song song debut EP 6 Is Green, which was released on Oct. 16.

“It was not expecting it at all. That day when they released all the nominations, it was crazy,” she said. “It’s the first project I ever released so I didn’t think a first project would get that sort of recognition, so I’m really grateful for that.”

Writing songs since the age of 15, MacMullin said the LP is a mixture of older and newer songs.

“It feels really nice to have those songs out,” she noted. “I’ve had them for so long and they weren’t released. They were songs that I sung in my bedroom that nobody heard.”

The title 6 is Green comes from MacMullins’ Instagram user name, a name she knew she had to use in some capacity.

“People would associate me with that user name,” she noted. “People would message me, ‘hey, Six is Green, how are you?’”

Of all six songs in the release, MacMullin said “Afraid of Your Heart,” is perhaps the most special as it depicts an abusive relationship. She decided to donate half of the proceeds from that song to the Antigonish Women’s Resource Centre.

MacMullin attended the ECMA weekend in Charlottetown in 2019 at a time when she released her first single “Wish.” She said she took the opportunity to attend panels and watch performances.

“I was a really new artist, and I just really wanted to learn about the industry, and those conferences have panels about every kind of thing in the industry,” she said. “I was thinking, ‘maybe I can start releasing music.’ Because at these conferences, you’re learning about all the tools you need to be an independent artist.”

At this year’s ECMA weekend in Sydney, MacMullin will be attending virtually, and the thought of attending as a nominee is thrilling.

“It’s super weird, because in those conferences before, I was just attending the conference and watching people perform,” she noted. “Just being nominated for it is going to be a different experience.”

She has previously released music with her sister in the folk-pop duo Moira & Claire, whose latest single “You Look Good In Yellow” was released on Feb. 10.

MacMullin is also a fourth year StFX student studying a BA in psychology, with a minor in music. She plans on graduating in the spring.

“It’s been pretty hard to balance music and school. I found I’ve been spending too much time on school, and abandoning music. It’s hard,” she noted. “The pandemic did give me more time to record music and collaborate over Zoom with other musicians.”

Returning to her musical side, MacMullin wants to start working her second album this summer, with plans to eventually do some touring.

“I’m applying for a music therapy program. I had the interview for it, but I don’t know if I’m going to get into that,” she added. “So I have two options; if I don’t get into that program, then I guess I’m going to focus more on music. But if I get into that program, then I’ll have to do that balancing of music and school again.”

Those wishing to purchase the music of Moira Bren can go to: moirabren.ca or at the StFX bookstore. To listen to MacMullin’s music, go to: https://moirabren.bandcamp.com/album/6-is-green.