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!

A Year in Review

For my own Christmas present, I made myself an Apple iPhoto book with pictures from my first year as a touring artist. It’s fun to think back on the highlights of the year and how far you can go in only 365 days.Here are some of the highlights of the year! (The description is below each photo.)

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First show of the year at Bongo After Hours Theatre in Nashville, and my first time ever playing guitar in public! EEEE! That was a scary time.

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My first song to ever be released on iTunes!

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My first radio interview and performance on East Nashville Radio

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My first music video of an original song!

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Headlining a show at my Alma Mater, where I used to watch other Nashville artists come and perform!

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The first time Kelly Clarkson ever watched my music video!

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My first Writer’s Round.

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My first (and last) engagement.

Looking back, it’s very evident that this year was a lot of first’s. I spent a lot of time preparing in advance for these first’s, and I’m so happy that I’ve accomplished so much this year. But, I know I’m not done. It’s only the beginning, and I have a lot more work to do. So here’s to 2015, the year of making seconds instead of firsts!

Songwriting: Part 2

erica bryan, beaverdamusa.com, behind the micNote: Last week, Erica posted the first of a two-part blog. You can read it here.

The second part of my 2-part post is about my songwriting. Now, let me preface this by saying I am in no way an expert at writing songs and am still learning new things every day. I have, however, been privileged to receive the highest remarks from the Nashville Songwriting Association about my songs. In fact, they chose my song “This House Is Haunted” to be in their list of the best Top 40 songs written. Maybe their bar is low, or I just got lucky, but either way, it was nice praise for a novice songwriter like me!

I’ve realized that my best songs come from first-hand emotional experiences. Those songs flow freely and effortlessly out of me and end up turning out the best. When I can’t think of ideas right off the top of my head, I journal about what I’m feeling that day or what strong memories I have that have deeply affected my life. Then from there, I can usually come up with an idea or title for the song. In most cases, I start with the title and go from there. However, many times I find that when I start writing the song, it evolves into something totally different and the title and direction changes.

Most writers have a strength. Some writers are melody people and some are lyricists. Of course, many claim to be both, but I’ll let you in on a secret- most people lean towards one strength! My strength is lyrics. Lately I’ve been writing songs by myself and will do the melody on my own, but when I feel like there could be a stronger melody, I will try to co-write with someone whose strength is melodies. That’s how I wrote my debut single, “This House Is Haunted.” 

I started with an idea I had based on my first-hand experience of breaking up with my boyfriend. I had to pass his house every day and so I started writing a song called “Pass By Your House.” (I know, it sounds lame when I look back on it too) I had some lyrics penned down and the main line that stood out to everyone when I brought it into my co-write with Tammy Jacobs and John Milstead was “I go to bed sleeping in your old t shirt, it’s like you’re wrapped around me.” From that line, and everything I had described to them about my break-up, Tammy came up with the better title “This House Is Haunted.” (Tammy is also a lyricist) From there, John (who is the melody machine) came up with the melody and we started writing the chorus. Writing the chorus first is, in my opinion, the best way to steer the direction of the song. If you write the point of the song first, then the verses are easier to come up with. We wrote the chorus first, the verses second, and the bridge last. 

Co-writing is great because you have multiple people’s ideas and creativity in the song. You also have accountability–people who won’t let you put just any mediocre line in the song because you want to move on. Co-writing challenges you to write the best possible melodies and lyrics. But, sometimes co-writing feels like dating. Many times you write with writers you don’t know at all. It’s such a weird phenomenon: you have to spill your emotional baggage to a stranger upon meeting them, and then try to write a good song about it. Sometimes you click and sometimes you don’t. I’ve gone to many co-writes where I felt like I had the best idea ever and thought it was going to be a hit and then the writer and I didn’t see eye-to-eye and the song ended up being a flop. But, like dating, you just move on, and hope you can write a better song next time! 

Lately, I’ve been busy writing songs by myself and with other people, and I can’t wait to share some of my new stuff with you all next year on my first EP! I’ll be playing songs for my producer soon…so I’ll keep you updated on how that goes! 

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!

Ghosting on Broadway

erica bryan, beaverdamusa.com, behind the micPromotion can come in many forms. I’m not really sure how I thought of this form, but I decided that the best way to promote my music video was to dress up as a ghost and run around downtown Nashville. So, I recruited my friends and had my boyfriend film everyone’s reactions. We did get a little nervous leading up to it and thought about all the things that could go wrong. But, what kept us going, was thinking about all the things that could go right.

So here we are, making  our very expensive costumes: white sheets!

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Walmart only had 2 white twin sheets…so one of us had to be a cream colored ghost!

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We did get some mixed reactions. One of us got “hit on,” although no one could see our faces. I didn’t know standards could be set so low! Children were scared of us–but then they were fighting over the free download cards we gave them, so I guess they got over their fright quickly! Some people would “boo” us and try to scare us. And some people just asked what we were doing- which was the perfect time to hand them a download card and segue into telling them about my music video! We filmed the footage and put together a promo video to announce my music video release. Here it is:

And because I love my blog readers so much- I even made a special blooper reel, just for you! Here it is:

If you haven’t gathered the point of these shenanigans yet, it is this: to tell you that my music video will debut on 8.13.14 at CMChatlive.com. I’m thrilled to be able to share it with you next week! Stay tuned, because I will have a behind the scenes post about the music video. And, if you read my blog post Turn Up the Radio, you can stream my interview with East Nashville Radio THIS FRIDAY at eastnashvilleradio.com 8am, 12pm, 3pm, 6pm and 9pm CDT. 

Turn Up the Radio

erica bryan, beaverdamusa.com, behind the micAs an artist on a major record label, when you release a single, a whole slew of promoters are just waiting to run around town marketing and promoting your song.

As an independent artist who just released a single…well…you realize that your promotion team is just yourself. Luckily, I have been blessed to have my single reviewed on numerous websites (you can view all my press here) and have made some radio headway. And last week, I was able to have my first in-studio performance that will be aired over the radio!

Erica 0724 1Meet Richard from East Nashville Radio.

Richard was kind enough to feature my song on his show “Ladies Brunch” that  airs every Sunday.

After he featured my song, he asked me if I would like to come into the studio and do a studio performance. So I said, “Heck yeah!” (I probably said it more  eloquently…but that’s what I was thinking!)

Erica 0724 2I have to admit, I was a little nervous to play by myself, without the crutch of my band. But luckily, I had just had a show, so I was well practiced! I played my single, “This House Is Haunted” (you can buy it on iTunes!!) and then he said, “ok, what’s next?” I had no idea I would play more songs! I ended up playing four original songs and then we had an interview where I got to share some of my story.

My interview will air sometime in the next week or so, so keep up with me on twitter (click here), Facebook (click here), or my personal website (click here), to keep tabs on all my on-goings. Also, I will have a radio interview with Rockin’ Country Radio that will air on July 30. So turn up that radio!

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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.

 

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