Ashley Bieniarz

Lifelong musician turns her attention to the stage

Musician Ashley Bieniarz sits by a grand piano in Eva Clare Hall at the University of Manitoba faculty of music.

Photo by Daniel Crump

The title of musician is simply not enough to do justice to Ashley Bieniarz’s involvement in music. 

The 22-year-old is also a teacher, a student and a radio host on top of her performance-related roles of pianist, singer and songwriter. 

When she was only three-years-old, Bieniarz started piano lessons. 

“(Music) has always been a part of my life. I’ve been doing it since I could barely talk,” Bieniarz says. 

Currently, she continues her piano-training as a second-year student at the University of Manitoba. Bieniarz is also working as a lifeguard, a barista in a coffee shop and teaches piano lessons. 

Another major project in her life is the Winnipeg Music Project, which takes form as a blog and a radio show on 101.5 UMFM. Bieniarz’s goal with these outlets is “to make a connection between established and emerging artists, to connect to fans, or influence musicians who are thinking of starting a performing career.” 

While still figuring out her own music style, Bieniarz leans toward acoustic, pop and indie genres. Through her songs she tries to communicate her feelings and experiences to the audience. 

“It (music) allows me to express myself in ways that I’m normally unable to,” she says. 

Bieniarz was born in Iqaluit, Nunavut, but soon moved to Winnipeg with her family. During her school years she’s moved to Phoenix, Arizona, but came back to Winnipeg after Grade 10.

In her song “Paralyzed for Life” she shares her experience of being bullied in school. 

“It was hard at the beginning, but I just see it as something that kind of made me who I am today,” Bieniarz says. 

The major influences on her style are such singer-songwriters as Sarah McLachlan, Sara Bareilles and Regina Spektor. 

“I find the most efficient way for me is having a melody and something that I’m very technically happy with,” she says. “I will have an idea what I want to sing while I’m writing a melody. Titles are usually what I actually start with. The title and an idea of what I want to sing.” 

While she’s working towards a future teaching music, Bieniarz’s ultimate dream is to be a professional songwriter. 

“I love to song write, but the only way you can get your music out there is if you find someone to sing it or sing it yourself,” she says. 

Meeting with other musicians helped Bieniarz to work on her own style of writing songs. 

Bieniarz had only one live performance with her original music last year, so currently she aims to perform regularly in Winnipeg. 

“Doing it more and getting feedback from an audience so I can understand an audience, so I can write better,” are goals for this year, she says. 

Hear more from Ashley Bieniarz at

Published in Volume 70, Number 15 of The Uniter (January 14, 2016)

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