A youthful veteran in the country music business, Lisa Brokop has been called one of the most overlooked talents in Nashville. The Canadian native’s impressive, husky voice seems ready to make it big. At the age of 24, Brokop had three albums, a wealth of singles, and many music awards, and a solid fan base around the world.
Brokop was born on June 6, 1973 in Surrey, British Columbia to parents Herb and Ann Brokop. At the age of four, Brokop became mesmerized when her favorite song, “Rhinestone Cowboy,” played on the radio. Insisting that everyone be quiet, she sang along and hit all the notes. By the time she was seven, Brokop had made her first public appearance, singing the Canadian national anthem at a campground in British Columbia. Soon afterwards, her mother organized a family band; she played accordion, Lisa sang, and son Dean played drums. The trio appeared at church and community events, performed at hospitals, and entertained senior citizens. In a little while, Brokop began accompanying herself on guitar and commenced with voice and guitar lessons.
A few years later, Brokop was performing with top Canadian Country artists, making radio and television appearances, and winning contests. At the tender age of 15, Brokop turned professional. With the help of a special school program for performing artists, she continued her studies while touring Canada with the Marty Gillan Band. She joined the Vancouver-based road band as singer, rhythm guitarist, and keyboardist. Her first major concert was an opening gig for Willie Nelson at the Pacific Coliseum in 1988. The next year, the young singer made her first national television appearance on The Tommy Hunter Show, a Canadian showcase for country music performers. Subsequently, Brokop organized her own band, continued touring, and began releasing singles in Canada. Her first single was “Daddy Sing To Me.”
In 1991, Brokop won the Nashville Songwriter’s Contest sponsored by Vancouver radio station CKWX, giving her the opportunity to co-write with Peter McCann. Shortly thereafter, McCann produced her first album, My Love, which was released on the independent label Libre in 1991. The album included four of Brokop’s earlier singles and six McCann compositions. The album sold extremely well for an independent label release, with over 25,000 copies purchased. It was also popular with country radio listeners.
After winning several awards from 1990–92, Brokop was cast in the movie Harmony Cats. This exposure, coupled with her independent record release, brought her to
Born June 6, 1973, in Surrey, British Columbia, Canada; daughter of Herb and Ann Brokop.
Became a professional performer at age 15, touring Canada as singer, rhythm guitarist, and keyboardist for the Marty Gillan Band; appeared on The Tommy Hunter Show, 1989; won contest to co-write with Peter McCann, who produced Brokop’s first album My Love, 1991; signed with Capitol (Liberty/Patriot) records in 1993; moved to Sony Music, 1997.
Awards: British Columbia Country Music Association (BCCMA), Horizon Award winner for Best Newcomer and Gospel Performer of the Year, 1990; BCCMA Female Vocalist, 1993–95, International Achievement Award, 1993–95; Canadian Country Music Association, Vocal Collaboration of the Year, for “Two Names On An Overpass” with Duane Steele, 1997.
Addresses: Record Company —Sony Music, 34 Music Sq. E., Nashville, TN 37203–4323. Fan Club— Brokop Entertainment Ltd., Box 123-7101C 120 Street, Delta, BC, Canada, V4E 2A0. Agent— William Carter Career Management Co., 1028B 18th Ave. South, Nashville, TN 37212. Website —www.lisabrokop.org.
the attention of Liberty Records and resulted in a 1993 record contract. Brokop also moved to Nashville in 1993. Here she was riding high and won many awards during 1993–95, before Capitol’s Liberty label went out of business. After the record company reorganized, Brokop felt it was time for a change and sought a new manager and label. She proceeded to release Every Little Girl’s Dream in 1994 and Lisa Brokop in 1996. Both albums did well resulting in three singles each.
While Brokop had gained international acclaim with her singles, she had run into some problems trying to straddle the U.S.-Canadian border. With fans in both places, some songs ran into bureaucratic snags in her home country because of rules imposed by the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission. Their rules state that two out of four elements of a song—production, artist, music, and lyrics—must be Canadian to qualify for Canadian content (CanCon) status. Without this designation, a recording may not receive favored playing status on Canadian radio, which directly impacts a song’s position on the charts. In 1994, Brokop’s single “Give Me A Ring Sometime” lost its CanCon status and position on the Canadian charts because of a commission ruling. Her 1996 album, which was recorded in Nashville with American musicians and songwriters, also failed to meet Canadian content standards.
Brokop maintained a positive outlook in spite of the difficulties she encountered while making music for both Canadian and American listeners. Brokop told Rod Campbell of the Edmonton Sun that the songs on her 1996 album were chosen because “we … went for the best songs I could find. We hoped people in radio would play them because they love them, and not because they were CanCon.”
More than one music critic has commented on Brokop’s impressive and powerful voice. One reviewer at Stereo Review praised Brokop’s work on her self-titled 1996 album, noting her “distinctive huskily searching voice and … quasi-spiritual song selection that burrows beneath the obvious.” A Billboard reviewer noted that although her 1996 single “Before He Kissed Me” might not be her ticket to greater fame, she had an exceptional voice, one “possessing a strength and clarity that should make her a star.”
One of Brokop’s more popular tunes has been “She Can’t Save Him,” a song about a wife who’s trying to save her alcohol-addicted husband. Although Brokop hasn’t personally had this sort of experience, she felt presenting the theme might help others. She told Calgary Sun reporter Anika Van Wyk that fans have told her, “Because of that song I got out of a situation.” Brokop finds having this sort of impact on fans gratifying and said, “It makes me realize there’s a reason I’m doing this.”
During 1996 Brokop toured throughout North America with artists such as Alan Jackson, George Strait, Marty Stuart, John Michael Montgomery, and Clay Walker. Some of her singles, including “Take That” and “Give Me A Ring Sometime,” were now earning her international acclaim. She left Capitol Records by the end of 1996. Around the same time, she hooked up with a new management company and, in August 1997, Brokop signed a seven-record deal with Sony Music. By September of that year, she was in the studio working on her next release.
Although she spent the bulk of her time during the fall of 1997 in Nashville—writing songs and working on her album—she made several brief “mini-tours.” One included a handful of stops in British Columbia and Vancouver Island. In September 1997, she gained recognition for the song, “Two Names On An Overpass,” which earned her a Canadian Country Music Award for Vocal Collaboration of the Year. Sung with Duane Steele, the cut was highly successful in Canada, where it made the Top Ten hit list.
The vocal tracks on Brokop’s next CD were completed in January 1998. Atthat time, the album was to be called When You Get To Be You, and included eight songs co-written by Brokop. While awaiting the album’s release, Brokop enjoyed some time out for her family and hobbies. Despite having average every day needs, Lisa Brokup’s ambitions are anything but ordinary. She spoke about her goals with Les Wiseman in British Columbia’s Businessman: “I want to have gold records, platinum records, double-platinum records. I’m a very competitive person, a perfectionist.”
My Love, Libre Music, 1991.
Every Little Girl’s Dream (includes “Give Me A Ring Sometime” and “Take That”), Capitol, 1994.
Lisa Brokop (includes “Before He Kissed Me” and “She Can’t Save Him”), Capitol, 1996.
(With Duane Steele) “Two Names On An Overpass,” from P.O. Box432; 1997.
Billboard, July 15, 1995; March 9, 1996.
British Columbia’s Businessman, December 1997, pp. 67- 70.
Calgary Sun, July 11, 1996.
Edmonton Sun, March 22, 1996.
MacLean’s, October 14, 1994, p. 42.
Stereo Review, May 1996.
Additional materials provided by fan club coordinator Ann Brokop.
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