Behind the Song: Coffee at Midnight

erica bryan, behind the mic, beaverdamusa.comWell, on the last blog I sang a cover from 1999…so today it’s time to showcase a song I wrote in 2014! Back when I went on my writing retreat last fall, I ended up being very productive in the songwriting arena. I house-sat for one of my music colleagues and there was no wifi, no tv…just me, the piano, and his dog. 

One morning I got up at 5am…because sometimes my body likes to do that to me–especially when I want to be productive. So, at 5am, I went straight to the piano and started playing to see if maybe some genius would come to me that early in the morning. Now, I wouldn’t call what happened genius…but it was at least something! 

I started off with the happiest melody I’ve ever written. Then, the title “Coffee At Midnight” came to me because I was drinking coffee at 5:00am…which might as well have been midnight to me. I started writing a love song and thinking about the time I started dating my, now husband, Billy. We started dating while I lived in NYC. When it rains in NYC, it’s the worst. Even if you’re decked out in your umbrella, rain boots, and rain jacket, it doesn’t matter. Your umbrella will inevitably flip inside out from the wind tunnels made by the buildings, all your stuff will get wet, and you will have the worst day ever. But, when I was dating Billy, literally nothing could get me down. I could be walking in the rain, but since my phone was lighting up with messages from this new guy, every day was the best day ever. 

So, that is the essence of this song. It’s about the giddiness and joy of the beginning of a relationship, which I’m sure we’ve all felt before–and pray that it never goes away! Below are the lyrics and a link to hear a demo of the song. Enjoy!

Coffee At Midnight by Erica Bryan

Verse 1: I’m drinking coffee at midnight
You got me staying up all night long
And now I’m watching the sunrise
Still writing you a love song

Pre-Chorus: They say that love can be so blind
But it’s pretty clear you’re why the sun shines

Chorus: Baby it’s you, you got me wired
Baby it’s you, I can’t get tired
when i’m hanging on to every word you say
you give me a reason to love everyday
and it’s you, yeah it’s you

Verse 2: One taste now I’m addicted
Can’t live without your kisses
You got me buzzing while sober
I don’t want this high to be over


The Basement Sessions: “All the Small Things”

erica bryan, behind the mic, beaverdamusa.comRemember that epic day in 1999 when the punk pop song “All the Small Things” by Blink 182 debuted on the radio, and probably TRL…and probably when people watched VH1?! 

Well, fast forward 16 years to when Billy and I are old and eating dinner on the porch. For some reason we think of that song and I say, “What if we did like a cool soul version of that song?! I know it’s not a lyrical masterpiece…but I think it would be funny.”

Achieving “The A- Life”

erica bryan, behind the mic, beaverdamusa.comI was watching an episode of Chopped on Netflix the other night, and one of the chefs in his interview said, “When I set my mind to something, I go all the way. I do not hold anything back.” I looked at my husband and said, “You know what, I’m not that way. When I set my mind to something, I almost do it. That’s so weird!” (And well, a little embarrassing to admit that to yourself!)

Since that realization, I’ve been thinking about a phenomenon I call “The A- Life.” The A- Life is where you achieve your potential to an A-. You do not reach for the A+, nor do you underachieve anything lower than an A-, you simply do enough work to get an A (or A-). This phenomenon perplexes me because I think it’s rare to be someone who always achieves, yet never overachieves. (This is where you come in, and make me feel better about myself by saying, “I can relate to that!” And if you’re an overachiever…yeah, might want to stay out of this one for now!)

I think back to the times in math class where I would do all my homework except the last 3 math problems. I still got an A, I just didn’t get an A+. Or the time in English where I would follow all the directions on my English essay except the final sentence, where it said I got 7 points if I underlined my thesis statement. It’s easier to think of effort in terms of grades because they are tangible measures, but I look at my examples metaphorically and think, “Am I putting A- effort into life? Do I ever over-achieve or just achieve?” “Should I be overachieving at everything?”

I started googling things like, “Why can’t I finish things?” “Why am I not an overachiever?” Some of the answers were, “You’re afraid of success” or “You’re afraid of failure.” But I feel like when I was doing my math homework, I wasn’t afraid of being successful because an A to the world is success. I also wasn’t afraid of failure because I didn’t fail. I wonder if I just got bored? Or in my mind I had mastered the task and it was time to move on? And what does it mean for life? Do I just get bored with things? Do I think I’ve mastered something enough to move on?

Well, I don’t have the answers. I don’t think google does either, but maybe some of you can relate to being in this baffling continuum between achieving and overachieving. And while the overachievers are jumping out of their chairs right now wanting to give us life advice, us achievers gotta stick together and almost get things done.

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

erica bryan, behind the mic, beaverdamusa.comWell, it’s my favorite time of of year: Fall(ish).  It’s finally cool enough at 7am for me to sip my coffee on the porch, I see wearing flannel in my near future, and– all the fall festivals happen! 

This year we will be returning to some of our favorite fall festivals: the Bella Vintage Festival in Franklin, TN, and the Goats, Music, and More Festival in Lewisburg, TN, as one of the openers for Terri Clark. 

I’ll be performing  at my Alma Mater, Samford University, with my brother so I’m super pumped about that. 

We are also adding a new state to our travels: Kentucky! This will be my debut show in Kentucky and we are performing at Country Con in Owensboro. Country Con seems to be the Comic Con of Country music, and I was promised a mechanical bull ride there, so I feel like it’s gonna be a wild time! 

And to finish off the tour, we’ll be playing a fun show in Atlanta with The Walking Guys. The Walking Guys are a songwriters collective that are walking from Maine to Nashville playing shows all along the way. I’ll be playing with them towards the end of their walking tour, so I hope they make it to the show (and maybe take a shower before it), but I’m super excited to share the stage with them and hear about all their adventures from walking and touring. I’m sure they’ll have some pretty gnarly beards to show off as well. 

Give me a shout if we’re coming to a city near you!! I’d love to meet up with you all–maybe sip some coffee?!

erica bryan


I Need YOUR Help With My Music!

I have some exciting things coming up with my music, such as an online concert and a new video to release my new single, “Come Home To You.” However, I cannot do these things by myself. I need YOUR help!!!!One of the ways you can help is by voting on which cover song you would like to see being performed at my next Stage-It concert. Stage It is an online concert venue where you can watch a concert from your laptop in the comfort of your home. The Stage It tickets are pay-what-you-can…you can literally pay as little as $0.10. While I think maybe my music is worth more than $0.10…maybe….I’m willing to stoop that low to get people to watch this thing. But, it will be way more fun if you vote on the songs being performed! You can click here to get your $0.10 ticket.

 erica bryan stage-it show
The next way you can help, is if you send me a photo of you and your significant other. I know I know, all the single people are cursing my name because they think I hate them and am leaving them out. However, I see this as an opportunity to surprise your parents by having them in a music video, or submitting a photo of your grandparents. How cute will that be to have them in a music video? So come on people, bring me the photos! It will be awesome!
erica bryan come home to you
And that’s all I have for now. I know I’m sounding needy with all your help, but it’s really just because I don’t want to do this for myself. I think music is something to be shared, and I hope to share it with all of you.

The Basement Sessions: Shake it Off

This is what happens when my bro comes to visit. Here’s another episode of The Basement Sessions featuring some t-swizzle, and my brother Russell!

Anne of Green Fables

erica bryan, behind the mic, beaverdamusa.comLet me take you back to a time when I lived in New York City. I moved to New York City to do BROADWAY!!!! (And you have to sing the word BROADWAY like Liza Minnelli in your head)

And let’s be real, that’s about the only city where you can have a sustainable musical theatre career! So, like every actor in the city, I was getting up at 5am for auditions to put my name on the list so I could get “seen.” Getting “seen” is what us actor folk refer to as “actually getting to audition.”

What you may not know is even though you show up for the audition, you may not get to audition. They may “type cast”  you. Type casting is where they stand everyone in a line and pick people out of the lineup purely based on your looks. And then those people get to audition. I know- we thought type casting would only be some Hollywood shenanigans…but nope, it happens to us poor musical theatre kids too. 

One day, I was auditioning for a company that was doing Anne of Green Gables, among a few other shows. I was psyched out of my mind because I knew I was perfect for this role. Anne has red hair, a sweet demeanor, and a sassy flair–I mean c’mon! Who could do this role better than me?? So, I “got seen” and sang my song for them. The directors liked it so much, they called me back into the room to read from the Anne of Green Gables script, as Anne, of course. (Cause, duh!) After I left that day, I felt great about my audition and assumed I would get called back a second time. 

The next day, I did get another call back. I was elated! All my hard work and 5am mornings were paying off!! THIS WAS MY BIG BREAK! WOOOOOOOO

So, a few days later, I go to the call back. I get to the front desk and tell the monitor my name and she hands me a script. It says, “Harry the Dirty Dog.” I incredulously look at the girl and say, “What is this?” And she says, “They want you to read for Harry, the Dirty Dog.” 

…………………………………………………………… (fill in the blanks with every thought imaginable here). 

I could not believe it. I bombed the call back in the worst way because I was so upset that I was reading for a dirty dog and not my dream role of Anne of Green Gables. I cried to my mom on the phone afterwards and all she could do was laugh because I kept saying over and over, “They want me to be a dirty dog!” 

So I think the moral of this story is: When you see yourself as Anne of Green Gables, and other people see you as a dirty dog…well… you gotta cry to yo momma, then move on and keep singin’! (or dancing, or painting, or joking, or whatever you do!)

(*Footnote—any casting directors out there? I’m still open to performing the role of Anne of Green Gables!!!!!!!)

Alison Krauss and the Tale of the Tracksuit

erica bryan, behind the mic, beaverdamusa.comI thought I would do a little throw back Thursday with the blog today and reminisce about the time I thought Alison Krauss was a crazy psycho woman. Now, I know you are all thinking, wait- how could this happen, Erica?! So, let me set the story straight. 

Let’s flashback to a time when I worked at a recording studio, where we locked the door, because crazy people would come in. However, we had no way of telling if they were actually crazy, so we usually let anyone into the building if we didn’t see anything suspicious. This particular time, I let an unsuspicious-looking elderly woman in a tracksuit come in the door.

She came to the front desk and said she was here to see my boss. So, I called him up, told him she was here for him, and he said, “Send her up.” So, I sent her up to his office! (What actually happened, was that my boss and I had a miscommunication and he thought she was on the phone. So when he said send her up, he thought I was transferring the call, not sending this lady up to wander our office halls!) Unbeknownst to me, this lady had come to the studio before, armed, and had made numerous malicious threats to the company.

So needless to say, when my boss found out she was actually here in person wandering the halls, he covertly grabbed his gun, and escorted her back downstairs and coaxed her out of the building. That was a close one! And of course, no one was happy with me for letting her in the building–but how was I supposed to know a nice old lady in a tracksuit was a crazy person? So, that day had me on edge and I took my job of letting people through the door a little more seriously! 

Let’s flash forward to another day. It was 9:00 a.m. on a Friday. By Friday, I’m usually at my wits end and have less patience with people (I know, I’m working on it!), so I refer to my mood on Fridays as “sassy redhead Friday.”  That should paint an accurate picture of how I was feeling that morning. This particular morning, I saw another lady come to the door in a tracksuit. This lady was in her 40′s and had no makeup on, and reminded me immediately of the other tracksuit lady. But, since I saw nothing suspicious, I let her in.

She came to the desk and said her name was Alison and she wanted to see the studio. I told her that she couldn’t go to the studio without the studio manager present but she was welcome to sit and wait for the studio manager to come in (See, I can be polite sometimes!). However, this woman didn’t seem like she wanted to wait. She said, “Well I’m calling my producer!” My sassy redhead Friday response was, “Well, I’m not sure how that will help.” So, she sat down in the sitting area, calling her producer, while all this time I still have no idea who this lady in a tracksuit is and I am certainly not letting her just wander around the studio unsupervised!

Then, my boss comes down, and starts talking to her like they are old buddies! He then proceeds to walk her to the studio. After they look around, they come back to where I am and the tracksuit woman leaves. My boss then looks at me and says, “You don’t know who Alison Krauss is?” And I said, “That was Alison Krauss?? I know who that is, but I didn’t recognize her in a tracksuit with no makeup on!” So, for the rest of the day, people kept giving me a hard time about not knowing who Alison Krauss was. Turns out, she was planning on doing a session at the studio and just wanted to look around the room to make sure she would feel comfortable there. Well, I’m pretty sure I didn’t make her feel comfortable by thinking she was a crazy psycho! 

I feel bad that I let my prejudice of tracksuits dictate my actions that day. But, I think we can all agree on the moral of this story: just put the tracksuit to rest. 

The Story Behind the Secret Song

erica bryan beaverdamusa.comWell, it’s about time I release some new music!!! I’m super excited to share with you the secret song that I wrote for my husband, and surprised him with at our wedding. I wrote the song back in February with my friend Sarah Williams. I was telling my friend Sarah that sometimes Billy’s schedule was very different than mine and we would go days without seeing each other. After 4 years of dating, I was ready to come home to him after a long day. That’s where I came up with the title “Come Home To You.” Sarah had just gotten married also, so we were both on the same page with wanting to come home to our husbands!

Writing the song without Billy knowing was easy. I’m always heading off to write songs and sometimes I tell him about them and sometimes I don’t, so he didn’t really think anything of the write that day. But recording it was a different story. I had to tell him I was writing with the same person over and over and we just never could finish the song (while all along I was recording it every night with my Producer friend Charlie). After night 3 of “writing” (recording), Billy asked me what the song was about. The first fake title that came to the top of my head was “Take Another Piece of My Broken Heart.” So I just kept calling it that. Then, he asked me how it went, and I started humming Faith Hill’s “Take Another Little Piece of My Heart”–and I got away with it!!

Another day, right before we were leaving to go to Georgia the week before the wedding, Billy was putting some files on my computer. While he was doing that, the song was RIGHT IN FRONT OF HIM on my iTunes. But, he didn’t look too closely and just x’d out of the screen. Phew- I got away with it again!!!!!

Another time, I had to secretly tell the DJ of our wedding that I was planning this secret song for the first dance. I even talked to the DJ about it while in the car with Billy, but I was so covert that Billy never thought anything of it! (I guess I’m good at being sneaky!)

On the wedding day, Billy thought we were just going to do our first dance that we had choreographed ahead of time. But right before the first dance, my mom took the microphone and announced that I had written a song for Billy. He was so surprised and caught off guard. We slow danced to the song and the surprise turned out perfect!

Now, I’m releasing it for you all!! The final album version will be available later this summer, but I am releasing the version that I played at my wedding to my mailing list TODAY! This song is so special to me and I cannot wait for you to share in the magic moment.

To join my mailing list, you can sign up here.

secret song 1

Billy and I dancing to the secret song.

Billy really likes the secret song.

Billy really likes the secret song.

Billy and I doing our real first dance, after the secret song. We choreographed a dance to "Home" by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros. 

Billy and I doing our real first dance, after the secret song. We choreographed a dance to “Home” by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros.

The Land of No Guitar Players

erica bryan, behind the mic, beaverdamusa.comWell…I’m back from my honeymoon! I guess I could blog about that, but I feel like I’ve been all about getting married and not about the music lately. So, now that I’m back from the honeymoon, I’ve been hitting the ground hard with the music. In fact, I already wrote a new song yesterday! 

We also have some more shows coming up. The first show we’ll play this summer is at Smith’s Olde Bar in Atlanta opening up for Ricky Gunn on 7/9. I accepted the offer to open for Ricky because I already knew of him from watching his music video on CMT…and when people are on TV- you open for them! However, since I’ve been kind of out of it with the wedding planning, I waited until we got back from the honeymoon to put the band together. 

As most of you know, my viola player and background vocalist, Katherine Holmgren, left me high and dry to move to….Kansas. I know. I don’t know why Kansas would be more appealing than Nashville….but moving on…I’m not upset at all at losing a crucial part of our band. So, I figured the guitar player we had been playing with could at least still do it…but he informed me he’ll be on vacation. So, I texted my plan B. My plan C. I texted a piano player. I texted my plan D. I texted my piano player plan B. And so on and so forth, times a million. NO ONE can do the show! I thought when I moved to Nashville I could throw a rock and hit a guitar player. But apparently, they’re all gone. Why did I even move here? I’d probably have better luck finding a guitar player in Kansas!

But alas, when you have no one to turn to, you can always turn to family. Luckily my brother sings and plays guitar, so he’ll be performing with me 7/9. He lives in Atlanta though. Maybe I should move there? Finest Craft Beers from America’s Best Micro Breweries- 728x90 banner