By Heidi Hopf

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Kristen Bezemer has been going strong for well over a decade to release her full-length album under the name Innersha with her backing band consisting of A.K. McLeod on guitar, Steve Cullen on drums, Stella Thomas playing harmonica and Jon Harris holding down the bass. It hasn’t been an easy ride to say the least.

It all started over 15 years ago when her and her brother began writing songs together. After his death, she wasn’t sure how to move forward with bringing those songs to life. Until she ran into Jason Inberg, a close friend of her brothers.

“The biggest thing about losing my brother, obviously that I was sad that I lost my best friend but also, that we had never recorded any of our music,” said Bezemer. “There was nothing that I could listen to and show somebody else. I was really shocked to go to jam with Jay and see he was playing those songs. We picked up right where my brother and I left off.”

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Bezemer adds, “I don’t know if you believe in fate or destiny but I do. Sometimes it’s hard to believe in that stuff when you get in a routine of life, but then something crazy will happen and it reminds you that things do happen for a reason. That was one of those moments when I reunited with Jay.”

From there they went on to open up for reputable acts such as Brian Burn of I Mother Earth and David Wilcox. Although things seemed to be moving forward seamlessly there was one major struggle on the horizon. Their producer.

A Toronto producer had contacted them after seeing a YouTube video and was highly interested in working alongside Innersha. After three years of scraping together nearly 12 thousand dollars and working to form a close working friendship, things went south. Approximately a week prior to the CD release date he began insisting that Bezemer maintain a country feel, suggesting she loose weight and dress the part.

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“I’ve always had country roots from doing singing competitions but I’m more of a rock person,” commented Bezemer. This became clear to me while listening to her EP that has a variety of genres from rock to new country and the track “Guilty” reminiscent of female alternative rock of the 90’s.

After declining the producer’s suggestions but expressing an enthusiasm to keep the previous producer/artist relationship they hoped things would even out. Not so. The day before the CD release party innersha received a shabby and unfinished version of their single
“Know Where Your Heart Is” that was unacceptable for release.

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The band began feeling the crunch of defeat. “Most people our age buy houses with that kind of money, but we knew what we wanted to do,” Bezemer said. “These are songs we wrote years ago. At that point, we were ready to give up.” However, staying true to her nature Bezermer did not. She picked up her feet and began moving forward. After visiting Jukasa Media Group and talking with producer Darren Magierowski she found comfort. “They treat you like a person and don’t try and change you.”

From there they moved forward with what scraps of recordings they had and hired a backing band. Unfortunately, it was here that Jason Inberg felt it was time to move on. Time had passed and life had changed as it does for all of us.

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Over ten years later, after approximately ten band members and nearly 20 thousand dollars, innersha has released a four-song EP on iTunes and Spotify. Bezemer’s face radiated as she reflected on the experience. “It was worth it. At the time you always think ‘why is all this happening to me?’ But once you complete it and you’re surrounded by good people who actually believe in who you are, it pans out really well.”

innersha has seven original songs left to record and is looking forward to starting fresh upon completion.

“I just need to take a step back and focus on recording. I know those songs are really important to record. I want to finish the Innersha album that I always wanted to do. After that start fresh. I just know I need to finish what I started. I’ve come this far and I can’t give up.”

With her knack for variety and strong determination, I’m sure it will be exciting to see where innersha takes things in the future. It’s refreshing to see someone sticking to their guns and really pursuing their passion no matter what the cost.

There is definitely something to be learned from this story. Sometimes we all need a reminder to have faith in ourselves and never give up.

Catch innersha supporting Juno winner Derek Miller on May 18th at Club NV in Brantford.