Erica Bryan: Acting’s Loss is Music’s Gain

erica mastheadActress turned Singer
Releases First Single

Erica Bryan’s life is a whirlwind.

And she wouldn’t have it any other way.

The actress-turned-singer from Roswell, Ga., recently talked to us about her roundabout journey to Nashville.

“My mom brought me to my first audition when I was 8,” Erica said, “She kind of introduced me to theater, and that was all I had ever done ‘til I was 18. Then I went to college and majored in musical theater because I didn’t know what else to do with my life,” she laughed. “And so, then after college I moved straight to New York City to audition for professional stuff.”

erica bryan, beaverdamusa.comMost fresh college graduates would be intimidated heading to the world’s biggest stages, but not Erica. “It was just simple,” she said. “It was an easy transition because I was like, ‘well, here’s what I know, so let’s go to the city where we’ll make it happen.’

“So, while I was in New York, I was auditioning for stuff in New York but also for stuff all over the country, because everyone auditions in that city no matter what state they’re from,” she said. “So I got different shows, but the first show I got was in North Dakota. It was actually a country revue. I had one country song in my book that I sang (for the audition), and I got the part. So I spent summers in North Dakota singing only country.”

Like all upstart actors, Erica had a second job. “I was in a country band on the side also, and so that’s how I started singing country again; because I hadn’t sung it since I was in 7th grade and did Shania Twain karaoke.”

That marked the beginning of Erica’s rekindled love affair with country music. There was just one problem. “I was like, ‘you know, I really need an acting role. That’s why I came here — to be an actor,’” she said.

“And so I went back to New York and auditioned for more stuff. And I got a leading role in a play in Indiana that was an original musical with very heavy acting. I lost my mom and had to go find her — so very heavy acting, lots of singing.”

All the while, the country music bug wouldn’t leave her alone. “At the end of it all I was like, ‘you know what? I had way more fun in my country show than this heavy acting role.’ So I said, ‘I think I’m in the wrong field.’ So I literally just decided after that to move to Nashville.”

erica bryan, beaverdamusa.comShe high-tailed it to Music Row and never looked back. “I knew three people,” she said. “One was the orchestrator of the musical in Indiana, and he was in Nashville, and he had some connections in Nashville. So I met with him and set up some meetings with the people I knew. And then those meetings led to meeting people at publishing companies. And those meetings led to meeting other songwriters. And from there it’s just really helped me get my first introduction to Music Row and everything that goes on in Nashville.”

The story of her first single, “This House is Haunted,” is as unorthodox as the story of her journey to Nashville.

She explained, “Well, I was dating my boyfriend, and he also moved to Nashville when I moved here. We had been long distance for a while, so our living in Nashville is really our first real-life kind of situation. But we ended up going through a breakup time, and so during that I went to my co-write (with Tammy Jacobs and John Milstead) and we were just kind of talking about what was going on in our lives. And I was like, ‘you know I’m going through this breakup and I have to pass my boyfriend’s house every time I go, and I’m always reminded that he’s there.’

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“And then I go to our room and see our pictures everywhere,” she continued, “because I don’t know what’s going to happen with us. And I haven’t taken them down and then one day I was lying in bed and looked down and realized I was wearing one of his old shirts to go to bed in. And I was like, ‘gee, he’s everywhere.’ And so just from talking about that, we kind of got the song together and started writing it. And it was definitely what I thought was the best song that I have written and so it’s like, I have to put this out.”

With another quick laugh Erica added, “But we’re back together now. And he’s in my band so he has to hear me talk about it like every time we play that song.”

But there is nothing funny about “This House is Haunted.” The writing is as impeccable as Erica’s vocal. She channels her inner actor and tenderly delivers the lyric with a heartfelt vulnerability and heartache. (Buy it right now.)

And her efforts have not gone unnoticed. “I’ve gotten a really good response,” she said. “I think people have been really relating to just that feeling of going through a breakup and knowing someone is always there. And it seems like a lot of people have appreciated the kind of new sound that it has because I don’t think it sounds just like everything on the radio especially with country.

“It has kind of a darker feel, so I appreciate the people are liking it and getting it, because it’s kind of scary putting out something that’s different.”

Erica told us what fans can expect from her live show. “They really get me. I try to tell a lot of how I wrote the song and really where it came from. So I’m not trying to just manufacture something. They really get the real stories and pretty much all my songs have a lot of emotion in them, so it’s really just having my story and lots of raw emotion with a full band.”

Erica plans to release an EP in 2016. And if her first single is any indication, Nashville will not want Erica Bryan wandering off for a long time.


About Barry Currin

Barry tries to be funny and poignant, and he's usually satisfied when he succeeds with one or the other. (Being both is awesome. And sometimes that happens.) Email him:

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