See the Flipping Book of Honoree Portraits.
Larisa Bryski is a singer, songwriter and vocal coach and one of the most popular live acts in the Sacramento region. She’s a SAMMIE (Sacramento Music Awards) winner for Best Female Vocalist after debuting as a solo artist in 2000 with her album The Long Way. In 2003 Larisa released her edgier, self-produced 2nd CD, “Violet.”
Larisa has performed extensively with such renowned and diverse national artists as Bad Company, Journey, Oleander, Peter Frampton, Dishwalla, Berlin, Tommy Castro, John Waite, and King’s X. She has also participated in several top music festivals, from Nadine’s Wild Weekend in San Francisco to SXSW in Austin.
Larisa and her band (Willy Seltzer, guitar; Tommy Armstrong-Leavitt, guitar; Andrew Houston, bass; Darrell Hale, drums) take pride in combining powerful vocals with infectious rock melodies, crunchy guitars, and classic style arena rock vocal harmonies with plans for a fourth album in the works. And if that weren’t enough she has been coaching aspiring singers, helping to nurture new talent for years as well.
From Larisa–– “For the record, I’m proud of any student who reaches a goal like performing on stage for the very first time without freaking out, or a student who can write their first original song and sing it in front of an audience (or me) with soulful conviction. I’ve had several students who’ve gone on to attend Berklee College of Music, which is super cool. I’ve also had a few students attend the exclusive CSSSA (California State Summer School for the Arts), which is a huge source of pride for me because I’m an alumni of the very first class. Other students have toured the country in their bands, studied music or performed abroad, have recorded solo albums, won SAMMIE awards, and have played lead roles in acclaimed musicals. I’ve also had the privilege of working with some adult pros as students–some of whom who are quite “famous”–and I do take pride in knowing that I’ve helped them open up a bit more of themselves as artists. Overall, I guess I’m the most proud to know that over the years, in various ways, I’ve helped hundreds of vocalists, songwriters, and musicians of all ages work toward becoming the very best that they can hope to be.”
We asked Larisa a few questions…
What moves you and or touches you about your community? How interconnected it is. We all know someone (who knows someone) from pretty much every occupation or walk of life. And sometimes we’re all able to band together for a greater good.
What is the one thing that you love the most about yourself? I’m extremely honest.
What are you most proud of? My daughter, my career thus far, and the successes of so many of the young people I’ve worked with over the last two decades.
What gets you up in the morning? The thought that each day brings an opportunity to make a positive impact on someone, whether it be a friend, stranger, a vocal student, my daughter, or someone who might enjoy the music that I make.
If you have a completely free day what would you CHOOSE to do with it? Go for a long hike somewhere in nature. Then a couple of hours getting pampered at a spa. Hasn’t happened in a really really long time!
What are you most passionate about? Expression through music. Creating art through music. Cultivating creativity and confidence through music. Following truth.
Do you have a childhood memory when you knew the essence of who you’d grow up to be? Yes. Singing John Denver and Jim Croce songs in harmony in my living room at age four or five. Crying because the music was so beautiful.
Are you surprised because your career is a happy accident or are you delighted because it’s what you always wanted? I’m delighted. Even though I don’t necessarily make a lot of money, I still feel incredibly fortunate. Being successful in music isn’t always about being a super famous rock star. Sometimes it’s just about doing music and sharing music and and loving it 24/7.
Larisa writes a Haiku:
Lean into it and just sing
A glorious song