Despite a really hectic UK tour schedule last month, Brandy kindly agreed to an interview for Think Country and I took the opportunity to ask her about touring, songwriting and her plans for the next album. Happy reading!
1. LH Welcome back to the UK Brandy, this tour comes towards the end of a very exciting and busy year for you …..I guess your pretty happy with things right now?
BC Yes, I’ve been out on the road a lot this year. Things could always be better but I feel really good about things and its really nice to have the year coming to a close over here. There’s a few more shows when I get back but I can’t say enough about how great audiences are here….
LH That’s great to hear. I hope that keeps you returning to the UK for many years to come.
BC Oh yeah I mean I plan on coming here every year, I made that choice after the first C2C I played in…
2. LH This year you’ve played a wide variety of shows haven’t you, big arena tours with the likes of Tim and Faith, and Miranda, festivals, intimate venues, CMA songwriters….does that mix help keep things fresh and interesting?
BC You know it’s funny, my manager asked me what I preferred…….I LOVE the mix! Last night Miles or Vanessa ( Brandy’s accompanying musicians on her UK dates) I can’t remember who said it was great to play like this again, ‘cos we’ve been out on a bunch of band runs. And when I start those I think “ oh it’s so great to have drums!”. It keeps us on our toes for sure, because the songs are different depending on what the configuration is. It really keeps us sharp. And I feel it gives the fans something different. Somebody who came to one of the Miranda Lambert shows that had never heard of me, became a fan and then came to one of these shows would have a whole new appreciation I think ( I hope! ) if they came and saw me like this.
LH I agree, these intimate shows really highlight your lyrics and songwriting.
3. LH You’ve just done series of CMA Songwriters shows in Europe, haven’t you, in countries you haven’t visited before. Was the support there for your music in particular, and country music in general, a surprise?
BC It was and it wasn’t, because of having been here it didn’t surprise me. I expected audiences that would be similar to the UK and in a lot of was they were as far as sitting there listening which was pleasant, but not a surprise. It’s what I expected of them.
4. LH And earlier in the year you went back to where it all started, your ( very small! ) hometown of Morton, Washington to play a show there for the annual Loggers Jubilee weekend. That must have been pretty emotional for you?
BC It was! You know it really doesn’t matter what sort of accolades you get, you always want the people where you come from to be proud of you. Especially if you’re from a small place because you know ‘em! If you’re from New York City you don’t know you neighbour, usually, but when you grow up in a town like I did you do, and it feels good when you do a show to hear people say you’re theirs!
5. LH And does all this travelling mean that writing has taken a back seat this year?
BC I haven’t done as much as I’d have liked, but a lot of my touring allows me to be back home in Nashville a couple of days a week …….not a tour like this, when you count from the Miranda stuff I’ll be gone for six weeks so there’s really no time in there to write, I can try and I can jot down ideas but that’s all. Some people can write really well on the road but I just don’t as much! But I’ve written a few things, you know, there was a whole record I wrote with Jennifer Nettles that came from us being out on the road, but what helped there was I had a partner with me which right now I really don’t. But back home, say I’m touring Thursday, Friday and Saturday, I’ll leave home on the Wednesday night and come home Sunday morning so I’ll be writing Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday
L Wow you’re a real workaholic aren’t you?
B Yeah! I think I’ll do as much touring next year but it will be different because my focus next year will be on the new record …..
L I was going to ask you about that later on in the interview……There’s a couple more questions before I get to that if that’s ok with you….
6.LH I wanted to ask about your live album that came out this year, which had a previously unreleased song on it “ When I Get To Drinkin’” …..do you have a whole lot of songs like that, ones you’ve kept for yourself and are just waiting for the right time to see the light of day?
BC Yeah you know what happens is I always find these songs I’ve forgotten about, ‘cos when you’re writing songs every day you just write ’em and forget ’em!
L OMG, if I could write songs as good as yours I’d NEVER forget them!
B Ha, you do though, I sent my manager my catalogue and she started going through it…..she started sending me songs I’d COMPLETELY forgotten about. When I made my last record I really had enough material for two records at that point but it’s just a matter of “ what kind of record do I want to make here?” .
7 LH You’ve also got some totally brand new songs on your set list for this tour , “ Favourite Lie” and “ Apologies” ….
BC Yes both those songs were written this year. I wrote Apologies with Scott Stepakoff ( who also co wrote “Love Can Go to Hell “ ) and “Favourite Lie” with Dan Wilson. Both are getting a great response which feels really, really good.
LH So you use your live shows to test out new songs?
BC Yes, very much. I did that before, with a few of the songs on “ Big Day” . “ Soap Opera” was a song we used to open the show with, one of the management team said I should be doing it and it worked. And when Jay Joyce ( the album’s producer) came out and saw me play it was the song he pointed out and said we’ve gotta do that “ ain’t we all the stars song” !
8. LH As we mentioned earlier, you are getting ready to record your next album….do you have a centrepiece song for that yet, as I’m aware you like to?
BC I don’t know!! Some people have said to me that it might be “ Apologies” . Sometimes what has happened in the past is that what starts out as the centrepiece doesn’t end up being the centrepiece! With 12 Stories it began being “Pray to Jesus” then in the recording process it became “ Take A Little Pill” . It just felt like it to me ….I think it’s really healthy when it changes because it keeps me so engaged in the record.
9. LH And now you’re signed to a major label is there pressure to write songs for your albums that could possibly go to country radio or doesn’t that enter your mind?
BC You know I’ve been really fortunate, I was signed to Warner Burbank by guy called Dan McCarroll who encouraged me to make the records I wanted to make . I don’t know if that will happen again, there have been changes at Warner very recently , Dan is no longer there……actually a guy from the UK is coming in to take over! I think what is going to happen to me is that there will be even less emphasis on country radio in that system. That’s me saying something that sounds a bit misleading cos theres never been any pressure on me in that respect. Would I like to be on country radio? For sure!! But that is not what made them invest in me. I remember when I signed with them they said “ this is the place for you if your biggest goal isn’t country radio” so I’ve never had that pressure. I’ve probably wanted that more than they wanted that for me. But who knows what’s going to happen now. If the new regime and i are likeminded musically it will still be the place for me, if not they’ll be another chapter. I’m going to make music regardless!
10. LH And what’s on the cards for the rest of the year for you?
BC A few dates back home, some writing, wrapping up the year that way. And I hope to get into the studio, not necessarily for a record but to do some demos…..feeling what feels good….
LH Fantastic! We’ll all looks forwards to hearing whatever comes out. Enjoy the rest to the tour and thanks so much for your time today.