The Next Chapter

Measha Brueggergosman explores marriage, motherhood and faith in her memoir, Something is Always on Fire

The opera singer discusses why she decided to open up and write about her life experiences.
Opera star Measha Brueggergosman has documented her life story in Something Is Always On Fire. (Craig Cooper/CBC/HarperCollins)

In one of the most difficult years of Measha Brueggergosman's life, a compliment about her newly cut and dyed hair would go a long way. At 39 years old, the award-winning opera singer had already faced miscarriage, divorce and health challenges. But Brueggergosman doesn't shy away from hardship. In her memoir, Something Is Always On Fire, she reflects on her life and career, from her childhood in Fredericton, N.B. to her success as an internationally acclaimed soprano — and everything in between. This interview originally aired on Nov. 20, 2017.

Empowered by her past 

"I made so many mistakes and I committed so many colossal failures. I needed to figure out what the root of this was. For better or for worse, I like to know exactly how things have gone and exactly how bad it is. I don't want to go back. I didn't want to lose weight more than once. I didn't want to get divorced more than once. I don't want to be cheated on more than once. I do not need to lose more babies. There are things that I just know I do not need to experience again. I'm not saying that I want to avoid pain. I'm not saying that I want to give over to the human universal misery of wanting bad things to end and good things to last forever. I want to go from the difficult and challenging struggles and move victoriously forward, equipped with the knowledge and wisdom that I've garnered from a tough situation."

On motherhood

"I constantly struggle with wanting to not screw [my children] up. I don't want to give them a false sense of my need to accomplish my own goals. If they see me pursuing what is right and my purpose in life, I pray that I will be leading them by example into the same kind of life. I'm not there physically all the time, but I do not want them missing me. If they're missing me, then there is something lacking in their everyday existence." 

From bully to leader

"I have real rage issues. Early on, I was bullied and made to feel powerless. Eventually, I turned into the bully as a way to feel like I had power. I have to be constantly keeping my overwhelming need to control in check because that doesn't empower anyone. It just controls people. I want to be the kind of leader who unlocks the potential of the people who work with me. I want to be a person that people want to work with, not somebody who scares people into service." 

Sharing her story

"Writing a book where you share your life doesn't seem like a massive sacrifice to me. I can't see myself keeping all of this information, when I know how many people it has the potential to help and comfort." 

Measha Brueggergosman's comments have been edited and condensed.