Preparing for the Moment

wsmvWell, if you hadn’t heard already, I was on TV this past Monday!!!!! WOO! It was super fun and exciting and I was really happy with how everything turned out! And I’m really hard on myself, so for me to be happy with something is success in itself! 

It’s been great to see everyone’s responses! People have been like “How did you get on TV?!” At first, I think to myself, “Well, it wasn’t really that hard. I saw my friend on the show and asked her who to contact, and voilà!”

But then I stopped myself….actually….it was hard. The reason it was hard is because I had to prepare for years and years to be ready for the moment when I was given this opportunity. 

First, I did a lot of praying…

Second, I had to spend years learning how to sing! Countless lessons, a degree, and many stumbles and hurdles!

Third, I had to learn how to write songs and hope that I wrote a good one, one they would hear and let me play on TV!

Fourth, I had to build relationships. I had to meet the right people who would connect me with great opportunities. 

Fifth, I had to record the songs and spend countless dollars on an EP so that when I submitted my music for people to hear, they would like it and let me play!

Sixth, I had to already have something going on. People want to showcase artists they think are going somewhere or are “on the rise” and so I had to spend years and years showing the world that everyday is a step forward for me! 

Seventh, I had to craft my performance so that when the opportunity came, it turned out to be a good one! You guys have no idea how bad my first shows were compared to my more recent ones…or maybe you do! haha! But I really had to learn how to perform….by performing! 

And……I’m sure there are countless other steps along the way besides these few mentioned. But in the end, I think it’s important to keep preparing and crafting and perfecting whatever it is you want to do, because you never know when the right moment may come. It may seem easy at first, but when you look back at how you actually got there, I think you’ll be satisfied with all the hard work you put in! 

If you’d like to watch the TV segment, click here.

screen-shot-2016-07-25-at-4-33-05-pm_1

Reviewing “Jericho,” Erica Bryan’s Debut EP

music musings, beaverdamusa.comWhile I have written about songs, artists, and various other things over the life of this blog, I don’t recall ever reviewing an album.  Fellow BeaverDamUSA blogger, Erica Bryan has released her debut EP entitled Jericho.  I decided to try my hand at reviewing it for her.  You can download the album on iTunes and follow Erica’s journey to the EP’s debut (among other things) here.

Overall, I enjoyed listening to the Jericho.  Erica has a nice vocal range and great sound.  Recently, a lot of country music is over-produced and too slick; but not this one.  No one went knob-crazy in the production booth.  Speaking of country – I don’t consider this a country album.  Of course, my idea of country and today’s country are pretty far apart.

The album has seven tracks and provides a very nice sampling of Erica’s range and styles.  Erica was smart in putting a variety of styles on the album.  If you don’t like a particular song or style, there is always the “next” button.  I typically judge an album by how many songs do I reach for that “next” button after I’ve listened to it once.  I am happy to say that I only tapped it once.  Here are my quick hits on each of the tracks:

  • Jericho – Has a marching feel to it due to beat.  Love the bass line on it and see this as a top-down, turn it up, driving song.
  • Immune to You – Nice keys starting the track. This song soars in vocals and tempo.  Best song on the album.
  • Gypsy Life – nice ebb & flow on this one.  Like the slow, sultry feel.
  • Billboard – This is the “next” song – just a little too pop’ish for me.
  • Sad Song – Everyone has lived this song.  This has the same sultry feel as Gypsy Life.  Love the line “birds are singing in minor key” – a minor key can make Happy Birthday seem sad.  This is Erica’s wheelhouse.  I picture listening to this song in a dark room with a drink in hand while thinking of what might have been.
  • Leaving You in Memphis – Nice catchy tune.  Like the image of driving east on I-40 after leaving whoever in Memphis.  Of course, the thought of being left in Memphis is plenty scary.
  • This House is Haunted – This song should be played after listening Sad Song.  Along the same thought, this song again lets Erica soar on vocals.

In summary, this is a very solid debut album.  Erica has a beautiful voice and Jericho lets her show it off. I would definitely recommend purchasing Jericho.

Musing In Jericho

Zach

Stream of Consciousness

erica bryan, behind the mic, beaverdamusa.comThe stream of consciousness of someone about to release their debut EP:

Will anyone listen to it?

Have my parents even bought the pre-sale yet?!

I wonder how many people bought the pre-sale?

Do people even buy music anymore?

I get my puppy on the same day as the release!

Will iTunes put it on new and noteworthy?

Will I ever make the money back that I spent making it?

I hope someone puts my new songs on Spotify playlists! How do I get them to do that?

Will my dark album cover be seen with the backlighting of the iPhone? Maybe I should have made it lighter?

I probably should have made the single a different picture.

PUPPY!!!

Will this be my first and last release?

Will people accept it in the country genre even though it’s not that country?

What genre is it?

I need to get the music to tv sync people. Now…. How?

Did I get enough blog reviews? Will they review it once it’s already out or will it be old news?

PUPPY!!

Think anyone new will listen to it?

Will my husband listen to it casually in the car? What if he doesn’t? Does he even like my music?!

Will my new puppy like it? Maybe I’ll play it for him…



While I know I can be negative sometimes, most of my thoughts are a testament to how much I made this music for other people to hear. If I was the only one listening to the sound of my voice, that would be so lame. So I really hope people listen to it and get swept away in the emotions and lyrics and truly enjoy it. That would make my day!!

iTunes. July 15. Be There.

I’m That Guy!

erica bryan, behind the mic, beaverdamusa.comYou know that guy that keeps asking that girl out? And it’s not completely his fault because the girl always gives just enough to leave a glimmer of hope that there’s still a chance!

“Can I take you to dinner?”
“I can’t do tonight, but maybe some other time!”
“How bout this weekend?”
“Oh my gosh, my life is so busy now, I’m so sorry. It’s not that I don’t want to, it’s just the timing!”

BUT SHE NEVER SAYS “NO,” so how is the guy supposed to know?!

Well… I’m that guy. No, not literally (What kind of news did you think I had?!) but metaphorically, and the music industry is the girl- she always leaves me with a glimmer of hope!

I told you when I started this blog that I’d be real with you about what’s going on in my life. Well… Here it is. You can recall in one of my blogs that I thought a possible outcome of releasing my EP could be: “Nothing May Happen” 

But recently, I found out a record label rep is driving from Nashville to my Atlanta show… (Ahhhhh I’m freaking out!!!!) So, that lit some fire under my butt and made me think that maybe something could happen!

I’m super pumped about this step forward, but know I gotta step up my game and give this show, and my music career and EP release, my best foot forward. (Also, that means all Atlantans need to be present at my 7.1.16 album release show!!!)

So, when the metaphorical girl finally says she will go on a date with me, I gotta pick out my best date outfit, arrive early to the date, and sit in the living room charming her father. I gotta bring her flowers, open her door, and seal the deal at the end of the night!

Wish me luck!

Have You Heard?

erica bryan, behind the mic, beaverdamusa.comWell…have you heard? I’m releasing the first single off my debut EP, “Jericho” on 3.31! WOOO

Have you heard the sneak peeks I’ve posted on my website? Click here to listen to 4 out of 7 songs from my EP. I hope you’re as excited as I am to hear the whole thing dropping this July! WOOO

Oh yeah…and here’s the album cover!

 jericho album cover

For an inside look at the photo shoot for the album artwork, check out this article!

Can’t wait to release “Jericho” 3.31!!!!!!!!! Stay tuned!!

The Making of My EP

erica bryan, behind the mic, beaverdamusa.comAs some of you may know, I’ve been recording my EP this past November and December. I’ve always wanted to record an entire project and I’ve been biding my time in Nashville until I felt that I was ready with the right vision, style, and songs.

March of this year, I approached my friend Tommy Harden about producing my EP. Tommy has been Reba’s road drummer for at least a decade. He’s also played as a session drummer on tons of hit records and has a super cool duo with his wife called Lost Hollow. When I heard Lost Hollow’s album, I knew I wanted Tommy to produce my record because their sound is perfectly on the edge of country- just how I like it!

Check out Lost Hollow at losthollowband.com.

Check out Lost Hollow at losthollowband.com.

Tommy and I got together this summer and wrote a few songs to see if we could beat anything I already had. I chose one of our songs as the title track of my EP!

Once I picked the other final songs, I sent work tapes over to Tommy. A work tape is the roughest version of a song–usually recorded right after you wrote it on the voice memo app of your phone! Tommy listened to them and then tracked a “mock up.” A mock up is a reference track for me to listen to and make sure I like the direction of the song before we record everything for real.

And of course, Tommy is a genius and brought every song to its greatest potential, so I liked everything!

Tommy tracked some drums, bass, guitar, keys, and background vocals for the songs (I told you this guy is a genius) and I came in and tracked vocals for each song. If you are a singer, you probably think that tracking vocals sounds fun, but let me tell you, after 2 hours of singing the same song, you start to question if this is really what you want to do with your life!

This is clearly me at the beginning of the vocal session- I'm still happy!

This is clearly me at the beginning of the vocal session- I’m still happy!

Then, after the vocals were all done, we brought in my husband, Billy, to do some drumming and percussion, then we topped it off with bringing in a guitar session player to play all the delicious guitar solos!

Now, after a month and a half, all the tracking is done! I’m currently waiting on the mixes to be finished–the hardest part is waiting to hear the finished product!! I’m beyond thrilled with what Tommy has done with the songs and cannot wait for you all to hear them!!

​Stay tuned!!

 

How to Have a Christmas Shindig

erica bryan, behind the mic, beaverdamusa.comWell, my one friend had a “How To” blog…but she stopped blogging, so I guess that means I can use that title? Mine won’t be as funny- but maybe it will inspire a Christmas shindig at your home!

Now, I used the word shindig because I thought that meant small…but apparently it means a large and elaborate celebration. Whatever the size may be, any Christmas gathering is a good one! (And I know, it’s not even Thanksgiving yet, but my house is already decorated–don’t be a hater!)

I love the Holidays because I feel like it’s a good time to reflect on what’s really important in life. Thanksgiving and Christmas is a time where you take some time off work (oops- sorry retail workers) and spend time with the people who matter most to you: your family. It’s also a time to look around at everything you’ve been blessed with and what you’re thankful for, and hopefully reflect on the needs of others around you. Oh, and you also eat a lot of fattening things.

So, here are some things I did for my Christmas Shindig.

1. Make lots of cookies. Eat most of the dough…and then bake the leftovers.

shindig 1

2. Pick a Christmas charity to shop for! My friends and I chose to support Next Door, a drug rehabilitation center for girls. We made Christmas bags for their Christmas party! If you can’t think of a charity  in your area, try donating to Operation Christmas Child.

3. Go shopping!!!!

shindig 2

4. Come back and assemble your gift.

shindig 3

5. While assembling, eat lots of cookies, sip lots of cider, and listen to lots of Christmas Michael Buble. ​

shindig 4

6. Make some Christmas memories!!

 

Behind the Song – “Wind Down”

erica bryan, behind the mic, beaverdamusa.comHello my friends! As many of you know…I write songs for myself…but I also write songs that other artists can sing too! This song was written with my friends Tammy and Troy. I wrote this song back in the summer when I had just come back from my honeymoon in Napa and Sonoma. Because I had just spent a week drinking good wine,  I wanted to write a song called ‘Wine Down.” My co-writer Tammy rightly said it would probably end up being a lot of wine puns and metaphors (and I mean, I love a good wine metaphor!) if we used that title. So, we changed the title to “Wind Down.” 

We wrote this song for a guy to sing to his wife when she comes home from a long day at work. I personally like writing songs for a guy to sing because I’m a girl, and I know what I would like to be sung to me! The three of us put our heads down and wrote this song and I love how it turned out! Troy, our soul man songwriter, sang the demo of this. 

Enjoy!

Click here to listen!

Wind Down by Erica Bryan, Troy Castellano, and Tammy Jacobs

V. Baby you’re getting home so late tonight
Been swimming all day in deadlines and red lights
Look at those high heels, they can’t be doing you right
Just take em off, take em off, sit down awhile

C. Baby, let me help you wind down
Don’t do anything, just let  your hair out
I’ll pour the chardonnay while you talk about
Your long day, it’s ok, i’m gonna make everything right
Honey, wind down with me tonight

V. So you say you got caught in the rain
Dealing all afternoon with mistakes, headaches
Get wrapped in my arms, I’ll make it ok
Forget it all, forget it all, 
Let’s drift away

B. Tonight I’m gonna let you catch your breath, but only halfway
because baby what you need is for me to take it away

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

My Fall Comfort Fashion

erica bryan, behind the mic, beaverdamusa.comWell, hello my blog friends. Last time I brought you a sports blog, so I feel it is only appropriate to cover the other end of the spectrum: fashion.

As I’ve gotten older (I know, I need to stop saying that!) I mean…(clears throat) as I turned 21 yesterday, I realized that I am no longer interested in fashion that cuts off my circulation and heels that I can only wear for 20 minutes at a time. At the ripe age of 21, I now go shopping for comfort. But, just because I want to feel comfortable, doesn’t mean I can’t be fashionable. Also, I’m a musician, so let’s be real, I’m not rolling in the money. So, I put my outfits together with bargains!

Now that it’s fall- my favorite time of year- I’ve been doing a lot of outdoor activities. Last weekend, I saw my idol Grace Potter perform…it was ah-mazing! The concert was at an outdoor venue so I wanted to look cute, yet comfortable, because I knew I would be standing for a while in the cold. It’s not unusual for my friends to ask me for fashion advice, so I’d thought I’d utilize my concert outfit to share some fall fashion tips with you, so you can spice up your outdoor ensembles!

Tip 1. Leave the North Face jacket at home. If you’re not camping, camping gear is not fashionable. (I know, everyone lied to you in middle school.) Instead, try layering a hoodie with a jean or leather jacket.

erica bryan, beaverdamusa.com

My jean jacket is from Target and my hoodie is from TJ Maxx

Tip 2. Always have a good pair of dark wash jeans. Whether you’re out to dinner or at a bonfire, dark wash jeans look nice for any occasion.

erica bryan, beaverdamusa.com

My jeans were $20 from Old Navy

Tip 3: Denim on denim is still in this year. What could be more comfortable than jeans on both ends of your body?! If you’re at a loss of what to wear, denim on denim is a safe bet, but try two different shades of denim.

Tip 4. Pop of Color. A pop of color gives your outfit personality. My rule with color is that you should have ONE flashy statement. In this case, I chose to go neutrals with a lime green beanie.

erica bryan, beaverdamusa.com

I got this beanie on clearance for $3 at J. Crew!

Tip 5. Wedges! Wedges are a comfort-fashion girl’s best friend. And if you’re short like me, wedges help extend the leg (making you look slimmer!) without making you fall over. I wanted even more comfort, so I chose a wedge sneaker for this occasion.

erica bryan, beaverdamusa.com

Ok, I may have splurged on these Adidas Super Wedges…

Well…I hope you learned a tip or two….now go splurge on some shoes!

 

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