Oh, the Places You’ll Go…

erica bryan, behind the mic, beaverdamusa.comWell, this past weekend we wrapped up our Fall Tour. It got me reminiscing about all the shows we’ve played this past year, and how we found ourselves doing a lot of things we never thought we would!For example, I played at a local pageant! There wasn’t much room in the auditorium, so we ended up waiting backstage when we weren’t playing.  Billy felt really weird being surrounded by only young girls, and tried to stay as close to me as possible. Billy and I were originally scheduled to play transition music between the age groups, but at one point in the pageant, the judges needed to see the girls again. So, they had Billy and I come out and play songs while the girl’s waved and walked across the stage. I’m not sure they thought they would make their last entrance to Taylor Swift’s “Shake It Off,” but that’s what we played!

Another day, we played at something called “Mule Day Jam.” I was told there would be hundreds of mules everywhere. To be honest, I wasn’t even sure what a mule was–and I’m actually still not sure, because there were no mules at this show. Apparently Mule Day was about 20 minutes down the road and, instead, we played at a car dealership. So…we never saw any mules, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t have fun!

Now I’m gonna be real with you–some of the best experiences we’ve had playing this year is playing in our own basement and streaming it online. It’s weird, because I still get nervous jitters when we go “live” while streaming, but there’s no one physically watching the show. But, the responses from everyone watching online is always so great and I love being able to reach out to listeners across the globe!

We’ve played for crowds of hundreds…and we’ve played for crowds of just my parents. But either way, every year is full of experiences that I never would have dreamed of.

Now that my shows are done, I’m busy recording my EP (that may become a full album…because…well…I have too many songs for an EP). I can’t wait to go on tour next year to promote the new record, and will eagerly await our new experiences to come! Thanks to everyone who came out to the shows and/or watched the shows online. As always, I couldn’t do it without you!

erica bryan, beaverdamusa.com
beaverdamusa.com, erica bryan
erica bryan, beaverdamusa.com

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.”

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.

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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 Love Story

erica bryan, behind the mic, beaverdamusa.comWell, by the time this blog posts, it will be 10 days until my wedding day. WOAHHH! Whenever I have an engagement party or bridal shower, people always want to hear the story of how Billy and I met. So, I figured maybe some of you would want to hear the story!

The love story started back in 2009, before there was love involved. Billy and I were both music majors at Samford University and we ended up being in the same Music History class. There was a group of 4 of us (that included Billy) and we all sat together every class and named ourselves “the quad.” This was a very exclusive group, where I took all the notes for the class and then taught the other three people all the information. Looking back, it looks like our responsibilities were uneven, but oh well, I got an A in the class! I was dating someone else at the time, so Billy and I were strictly friends and study buddies. After many study sessions for the Music History class, the quad also started hanging out outside of class, and doing one of my favorite activities, playing Rock Band. (Also looking back, I wish I spent more time playing real instruments than fake video game instruments during college.)

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The quad playing Rock Band

As I got to hang out with Billy more, he became one of my greatest friends in college and he was the person that I always wanted to invite somewhere because he made everything more fun. We had lots of inside jokes, like our rap group called Magically Delicious, where our rapper names were Four Leaf and Pots O’ Gold. (We still argue over who is who, we both want to be Four Leaf.)
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Billy and me posing for our Rap album cover

But alas, our good times came to an end and we parted ways when we graduated college. (I’m still mourning the loss of college every day of my adult life.) I ended up breaking up with the guy I was dating after college, but moved straight to NYC, and Billy stayed in Birmingham and taught percussion at a High School and worked at a coffee shop. It seemed there was no way our paths would cross again.

But THEN! My friend Shara started working with Billy at the coffee shop.

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Me and my beloved friend Shara!

It turns out, the only thing they had in common at first was…me! So according to Shara, Billy started talking about me…a lot! One day she texted me from work and said, “Billy has talked about you our whole 5 hour shift. I think he is in love with you!” I responded, “Oh I love Billy too, he is such a ball of sunshine!” (But not really meaning love love, just more generally loving him as a person and not thinking anything of it since I was 1,000 miles away!) But in true texting-miscommunication-fashion, Shara took the loving him a little farther…and told him I was in love with him! So, after a few weeks of middle school communication via our friend Shara, Billy and I both decided that we would talk on the phone and see if there was anything there!

I was a little hesitant at first, thinking maybe nothing would come out of it, but it turns out we had a lot to talk about. We ended up talking on the phone for about 4 hours each night. One time, we talked on the phone for 8 hours! I don’t think I ever slept during that time! After 2 months of long distance phone talking, I finally flew to Birmingham to go on our first date. Although Billy paid for our first date with a gift card he had, I decide to let that go (obviously not, because I still bring it up!) and we made our relationship official.

We spent the first 1.5 years of our relationship long distance, buying plane tickets every chance we got. Then, we decided it was time to move to the same city, and we chose Nashville, TN. We’ve now been dating 4 years, but we’re about to start the marriage countdown at 0 in 10 days! It’s cool to look back and see how the person I always wanted to hang around in college is the one I will hang around with forever! He is still a ball of sunshine and my best friend. I’m glad I gave that phone call a chance, and I’m glad my friend Shara was determined to be a matchmaker. I couldn’t think of a better match!

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The Basement Sessions: “Thinking Out Loud”

erica bryan, behind the mic, beaverdamusa.comI started a blog for this week – a feminist rant on how it’s unfair for men to be vocally aggrieved by your haircut – but I decided to save that for another day!

In lieu of the feminist rant, I decided to start a live video series with some members of my band called “The Basement Sessions.” These sessions are aptly named because we record the videos in my basement! Our plan is to record a series of acoustic covers and original songs, and hopefully grace your ears with beautiful sounds. Live videos are like live theatre- someone could mess up at any moment, I could sing a wrong note, the viola could start playing a different song- who knows what could happen!! So, you’ll just have to watch and see!

This week we decided to cover the song, “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran. If you’ve stepped out of your house in the past 3 months, you’ve heard this song! It’s a catchy love song that any girl would die to hear sung to her. (I hope boys want it sung to them too- because in our cover, I am singing it!) Our version includes a lovely viola solo by the fabulous Katherine Holmgren (a fellow blogger!).

Now sit back, grab some popcorn, and enjoy our version of “Thinking Out Loud.”

My Future Home: the Bachelor Pad

erica bryan, behind the mic, beaverdamusa.comWell, I have an update to my house hunting saga…and that is- Billy and I have found a place to live! We decided to live in the house he currently lives in–which has been occupied by 4 guys. They’ll all be moving out by the time I get there in May, but that doesn’t mean they haven’t left their mark on my future home.

Let me give you a tour of the house: As you walk through the front door, you enter into the living room. You look over to the left at the glass coffee table that hasn’t been wiped down in about 6 months and find it adorned with Tabasco sauce and beer bottles. You glance at the hardwood floors that have never, to my knowledge, been cleaned in 2 years, and find it texturized with dog hair from a boxer. (This dog has the shortest hair imaginable–how does that thing even shed?!)

As you walk past the living room into the kitchen, you find the art-deco whiskey bottles from 2 years of whiskey drinking on every counter in the room. These cannot be thrown away because men must prove that they drink whiskey regularly. Then, you pass the kitchen, go down the hall, and enter into the bathroom. It is simply decorated with beard trimmings that have been haphazardly brushed off the sink. The toilet paper is sitting on the top of the toilet, because putting it on the roll would be too sophisticated for the bachelor vibe of the house.

Then, walk back down the hallway, through the kitchen, and down the stairs to what will become the music room. Right now, there is a couch that has 6 hiking bags on it, a bag of formal wear that one of the roommates has been missing for about a year, wood pallets that have been left there to rot by another roommate, and a drum set, where Billy plays drums. Go back up the stairs, through the kitchen, to the back patio. The glass door to the patio is streaked 6 feet high with mud from the dog, who tries to claw her way back in the house when she feels her time outside is done.

As you walk outside onto the patio, you feel the cool breeze of wind through the torn porch screen. You look out at the sunset as the sun rays beam down on the mud pathway the dog has created as her own personal racetrack. You stand there and take it all in…this could be yours one day.

I know this house has a lot of potential, but it’s been hard to look at it through the lens of my future home. I can’t help but walk around and look at the whiskey bottles and think- when will these go away? Or point out all the moldy food in the refrigerator and ask Billy when his roommates will clean it out. I know it’s not my home yet, and I still have two months, but I can only hope that when I move in, it’ll be like brand new.

If you want a real tour of my future home, I actually filmed my music video there last July! (I made them edit out all the nasty stuff!) Enjoy!

The Most Romantic Proposal Ever

erica bryan, beaverdamusa.com, behind the micSince this blog is titled, “Behind the Mic,” I figured it would be OK to blog about what’s been going on in my life behind the mic.

The most recent event that’s happened is…getting engaged to the drummer in my band, Billy! WOOO!

I thought I would share the story with you all on how it happened, and all the romantics out there can get your fill of love for the day–and all the cynics can make fun of me!

The story begins on the twelfth day of December, when I rolled out of bed and headed to my day job (at Reba’s Business). It was a Friday, so I dressed down for the day in a puffy vest and my fat jeans. Luckily I did straighten my hair.

I was at work and it was a little stressful, so I remember sending Billy a text saying, “Is it time to go yet?!” at 10am. (Little did I know I wouldn’t be there for long!) Billy came and surprised me at lunch, which is not unusual for his day off, so I didn’t really think anything of it.

But as we started driving to lunch, he started passing all the restaurants until there were only trees around us. I asked him, “Are we eating lunch in the wilderness?! How will I get back in time?” He looked at me and said, “I have a secret…you’re not going back to work!”

Apparently he had sent an email to my boss asking if he could take me away early that day to surprise me. Well…it worked! He brought me to Cheekwood, a botanical garden in West Nashville and we ate a picnic that he brought. Then, we went on a walk through the Japanese Garden.

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We walked through a bamboo pathway and then came up to a pavilion that overlooked a zen garden. When I looked over to the right, there were photo albums and a Polaroid camera laid out on the bench in the pavilion. It was then that knew this was pre-meditated and felt like a proposal was coming on!

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We went through the photo albums we had made together and reminisced on all the fun experiences we’ve had in our 3 1/2 years of dating. Then, we got to the 3rd photo album that I had never seen before, and we looked through Billy’s favorite pictures and memories of us. When we got to the last page, it said, “And one last question…”

Then, Billy got down on one knee, told me how much he loved me and that he wanted to make a lifetime of memories together–and then asked me to marry him. Spoiler alert…I said YES!

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Then, he grabbed the Polaroid camera so that we could take one last picture to finish the photo album. (I loved his photo theme!!!! So thoughtful!)

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If that wasn’t surprise enough, Billy surprised me later that night at dinner. When I walked into the restaurant, both sides of the family were at the dinner table! Some people had even flown in from Orlando for the occasion, and I started bawling just thinking of how sweet it was that everyone came to support us.

Then, Billy brought me back to his house where there was a bonfire with some of my closest friends there! So many surprises! Needless to say, I was emotionally drained by the end of the night, but it couldn’t have been a more perfect series of events for this special day.

Thank you to everyone who had a hand in this engagement and the people who have congratulated us. We feel so loved and I cannot wait for what 2015 has in store for us!

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Meet the Band

erica bryan, beaverdamusa.com, behind the micMany people have been noticing that I mention my band a lot in my posts and have been asking me more about them. So, this week’s post is dedicated to meeting the band.

When I got to Nashville, I started hearing the term “good hang” thrown around when referring to traits people look for in band members. At first, I really didn’t understand why people cared that much about personality and thought it seemed like a popularity contest rather than based on pure talent. But now that I’ve been touring more, I understand why a “good hang” is so important! My band spends hours in the car together, on top of rehearsals, video shoots, performances, recording, etc. I feel like we’re never apart anymore! Luckily, I love these people to death. We have so much fun and spend a lot of rehearsal laughing instead of practicing (I hope you can’t tell….).

If you’ve been out to my shows, you may have seen a few different faces on stage. Sometimes I add people to the mix, or someone has to sub-in, but on the whole, these are the faces you will see with me at my shows.

PictureMeet Katherine. Katherine hails from Wichita, Kansas, and came to Nashville by way of Belmont University. While at Belmont, she studied Classical Viola Performance. Katherine and I met at a church new member meeting, and while I was getting to know her, she mentioned she played viola. After our initial meeting, I hired her to play on a video with me, and then asked her to play a show with me…and then another, and then…the rest is history. Katherine is a comedian at heart. While we’re in the car, Katherine is always pulling up new comedians for us to listen to. On our one weekend off of touring, she suggested we all get tickets to a Comedy Show…which ended up being an awesome decision.
You may find it unique that Katherine plays the viola. Many people don’t understand that the viola is different from the violin. She gets many comments about playing a “big violin” gets asked why she just doesn’t play the violin instead. Although the viola is misunderstood, I couldn’t imagine a world where Katherine didn’t play her emotion-evoking viola solos in my songs. You can follow Katherine on twitter and instagram @keholmgren.
PictureMeet Amy. Amy comes to us from the small town of Hickory, North Carolina. She came to Nashville for a recording studio internship to finish up her Commercial/Electronic Music Degree from Western Carolina University. Amy and I met at her internship and became fast friends! She told me her instrument in college was Jazz Guitar….so you can probably guess what happened next…I recruited her for the band! Amy is also a talented Mastering Engineer and is an Assistant Mastering Engineer at Yes Master Studios. (So, if you need a song mastered, contact her!!) She mastered my debut single, “This House Is Haunted,” and did a fabulous job. Amy is the one in the band that’s always happy. On stage, she’s always smiling, in the car, she’s always laughing, and on guitar, her leads are always upbeat! You also never know what Amy is going to say. One time I needed to kill some time at one of our shows because we played through our set pretty fast, so I asked everyone in the band to tell an interesting fact. Amy’s fact was that she enjoys pickle juice with her potatoes. I have never heard of this, but I guess I’ll have to give it a try before I can judge it! You can follow what Amy will say on twitter @amybrown214 and instagram @ambrown21492.

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Meet Billy. Billy holds a soft spot in my heart because we’ve been dating for over 3 years (Sorry Amy and Katherine…you have soft spots in my heart too…just not the same spot). Billy grew up in West Palm Beach, Florida, and came to Nashville…well…because I moved here. (haha) He also thought it would be a good move for him so he could pursue  professional drumming after receiving his Percussion Performance Degree from Samford University. After he attended Samford, he taught Percussion at Spain Park High School for a few years and continues to teach here in Nashville. He also plays for another band, Gil and the Harbor, but I’m always happy to snag Billy to play with me whenever possible. Billy is often times the only boy on the road, so he is our resident driver and roadie when we need some heavy lifting. Billy is also a comedian at heart, and Billy and Katherine sit in the front of the car and plan out their own comedy routine, which they hope to perform soon. (Amy and I sit in the backseat and end up sleeping a lot…so it works out.) You can follow Billy’s budding comedian career on twitter and instagram @billy_gunter.
To see these bright and shining faces in person, you can check my website for our tour dates. 
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Erica Bryan Video Behind-the-Scenes

Today, I am going to give you an exclusive behind-the-scenes look at my music video and what hidden gems you can find throughout. First things first: watch the video so you know what I’m talking about!

This music video was filmed and directed by Skylar Sprague. Skylar recently moved to Nashville from LA and is an accomplished actor, as well as film director. We both sat down and talked about what we wanted as far as the premise of the video, but most of the scenes are Skylar’s brain child. If you are ever in the Nashville area and need some film work, you can contact him through his vimeo pages: vimeo.com/skylarspraguevimeo.com/coffeeatmidnight

(Click photos to enlarge.)

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This video also features my boyfriend (in real-life and in the video) Billy Gunter! Billy kindly let us use his house as the set!

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The first line of the song is “I see your shadow painted on the wall.” So of course, we had to start the video with Billy being a shadow. Billy’s roommates were sitting on the couch laughing in the same room while we were filming this part…so this scene took a lot of concentration on my part.

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Billy painted this picture when my parents took us to a Paint By You class (where you bring your own wine and you all paint the same picture.) Billy tried to sell it on Facebook for $1,000…but when that didn’t work, he brought it to his house and hung it in the kitchen. It was hilarious to us when it made multiple appearances in the video. He is still trying to sell it for $1,000…maybe it is worth more now that it’s on the big screen!

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Billy and I had not eaten dinner the night we filmed and by the time we got to this scene around 10pm, we were starving. So we filmed a scene eating our actual dinner from Wendy’s!

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If you look closely above the reflection of Billy’s head, you see a painted lion on the wall. When Billy moved in to his house, his room used to be a child’s room and there are animals painted along the border of the wall. Well, Billy decided he could live with the animals and never painted over them. We tried to get most of the animals out of the film shots, but I knew one would sneak in somewhere!

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After this take, we ran out of storage space on the camera…so that was the last take, and only take of this scene. I think we made it work though!

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Thanks for reading my behind-the-scenes of the video and hope you enjoy it!

Video Release for ‘This House is Haunted’

erica bryan, beaverdamusa.com, behind the micMy music video released yesterday! WAHOO!!!!!

I decided that I didn’t just want to release the video into YouTube land and hope that people watch it. I decided I’d rather make it an event- I mean, who wouldn’t?!

erica bryan, beaverdamusa.comSo in order for this event to work out, I needed to find a site with some media pull. After many emails and prayers, the best result I could have hoped for… happened. CM Chat Live came to the rescue and said they would gladly help me out with my video premier.

Some background about CM Chat: CM Chat (CM stands for Country Music) calls themselves a “blogazine.” CM Chat has had 6 billion impressions on twitter and over 100,000 unique contributors. It was founded by Jessica Northey, who is named one of Forbe’s Top Social Media Influencers. Talk about luck! Forbe’s Top Social Media Influencer told me she would help promote my video release! AHHH!

eb 0814 2And even better, she and her team helped introduce me to their fans in waves. The first article they put out was a review of my debut single, “This House Is Haunted.” Here is the review.

Their next step was to talk about me, the artist: Here is their feature.

And then lastly, they premiered my debut music video! Click here to watch it!

If clicking links aren’t your thing, just press play here to watch my debut music video! It was directed by Skylar Sprague and features Billy Gunter and myself.

Next week, I will tell you all the fun behind the scenes info about the video!

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