Guilford’s hidden talent: Bria Kam

“Music is my passion; it’s what keeps me going,” said sophomore Bria Kam. Bria is a 20-year-old singer and songwriter. She performs at local clubs and restaurants, and has performed in shows at the Atlanta Fox Theater, Alliance Theater, Capital City Opera Company, and many community theaters. She also plays her original songs and practices new ones all over campus.

Growing up in a home where music played a big role, Bria found inspiration in her parents. Her father is a singer and her mother is a singer and guitarist. They’ve both encouraged her to pursue her music. Bria says, “My mom is my biggest fan.”

Bria started taking piano lessons at about age five, and her parents insisted that she continue even when she really wanted to quit. By the time Bria was eight, she started writing music. At the age of 10, she began writing music with words, and by the age of 12, she started writing complete songs. Today she has written over 400 songs.

Once Bria realized she could unite her own voice with the piano, she loved it.

“I’m totally captivated by her voice and piano playing,” said Parke Puterbaugh, part-time lecturer in music and former senior writer for Rolling Stone magazine. “I actually thought of Tori Amos when I heard her piano-playing.”

Sophomore Liz Cochrane, Bria’s roommate her freshman year, says that Bria’s music is very relaxing for her. “I love to just sit there and listen to her play,” said Cochrane. “Whenever I get really stressed out, just listening to her music helps. It’s a great way for me to relax.”

Both of Bria’s parents are very proud of her. “I am so happy that she has a medium with which to express her deepest feelings,” said David Kam, Bria’s father. “I am proud of the fact that she puts them out there and does so in such a unique and elegant manner.”

Because of their desire for nothing but success and happiness for Bria, they see areas where she could work on her music. Her mother would like to see her work with professional songwriters to make her music even better and make full use of her obvious talent. “Bria writes directly from her heart,” said Nancy Kam, Bria’s mother. “And because of that, sometimes her music sounds like something from a page of her diary.”

While some of Bria’s songs may sound somewhat like a diary, others sound fully developed. “Listening to her song ‘Corrupted,'” said Puterbaugh, “I thought I was hearing a hit record, waiting to be released by a national label. You have to confront talent like that. I really can’t do much more than shake my head to the music and be amazed.”

Bria’s songs usually come from something difficult she is going through. She wants people to know that while most of her songs are sad, it does not mean she is always sad. “I’m not actually depressed,” said Bria. “My music can be depressing because that is how I take out my emotions, and because of that, I am actually a very happy person.”

Marshall Jeffries, a sophomore and close friend of Bria’s, hopes that her talents will some day be recognized. “You hear her play, and she blows your mind,” said Jeffries. “I’m just waiting for the right person to hear her music so that I can see her CD on the shelves of stores.”

Puterbaugh agrees with Jeffries regarding Bria’s obvious talent. “It sounds to me like she’s got really big things ahead of her if she stays on this path,” he said. “I would not be surprised to see great things happen for her.”

Bria is taking next semester off to go back home to Atlanta, Georgia, to focus more on her music.

“Everybody wants to be heard, and I feel that I should be heard through my music,” said Bria. “My goal is to be accomplished, succeed, and be able to support myself through my music because music is what makes me happy.