Brianna Calhoun - Music Interview
Offering music to empower others, Briana Calhoun is an accomplished singer, songwriter and recording artist. Currently, she has three songs released in advance of her upcoming EP including "Learn Girl", "Hang Up", and "Whiskey." Hailing from Louisiana, Calhoun had a rough start. During her teens and early twenties, she went through difficult times and fell victim to addiction, depression, and self-hatred. She wound up doing time in state prison for multiple possession charges. Calhoun was able to turn her life around, and today she has a Master's degree, a successful career, and she is a wife and a mother.
What got you into music?
Music has always been a part of my life. My grandfather played at Radio City Music Hall and my mother is an award-winning Christian songwriter. It's in my genes. I grew up singing and playing in church. I knew harmony by the time I was 6 and could strum along to most songs by 13. I got serious about writing music at 16 because, like most teenagers, I began to struggle with identity and self-awareness, writing songs was an outlet for me.
What is your favorite part about being an artist? Is it songwriting, performing, recording, something else?) Tell us why. My favorite part of being an artist is definitely songwriting. I like words in general-- I actually have three language degrees, which I think officially classifies me as a "word nerd." I like to turn phrases, reshape idioms, play on words, rhyme schemes, all that. But of course, when I'm writing, a melody usually ensues during or right after. It's as natural as breathing for me.
Can you tell us what being in the recording studio is like for you? I'd love to sit here and say that studio recording is as organic as songwriting, but the truth is, it's not. I really struggle with recording sometimes. The sound is completely different, you feel pressure to do things perfectly in the first take, and there's no audience. It can be strange at times. So, I either try to pretend like I'm completely alone, or like I'm performing the song for someone special, someone I feel like would really love it.
As a songwriter or musician, are there any obstacles you have had to overcome or obstacles that you are facing right now in your career? Obstacles are my life. Or at least, they used to be. I fell victim to addiction from the time I was 16-24, and ended up doing time in state prison for multiple possession charges. It's not something I'm proud of, but I'm not ashamed either. In Louisiana, we have an extremely high recidivism rate for inmates. So, the fact I was able to get out, turn my life around, get my master's degree, hold a career down, and start a family -- I feel very fortunate. I could and should have done something with my music way earlier, but drugs robbed me of my opportunity -- like they do so many people these days. So, now my biggest obstacle is trying to balance all I've been blessed with, while still pursuing my music the way that I want to. It's tough sometimes. But I look at what I've already been through and think, "You can do it."
Who do you admire most in the music scene today and why?
I admire a lot of people, and I used to say it was someone big and famous. Someone who's made it -- who sells out shows at stadiums. But now that I've delved deeper into the industry and made more connections with the community, I'd have to say I admire the songwriters most. The music business is TOUGH. There are a lot of songwriters who have a hit song one year, and then are living off scraps the next. Most people who hear it on the radio don't even give them credit either. The artist gets the credit for the song. I'm sure it's disheartening at times, but they don't give up. They keep doing music in some shape or form because they love it. You've got to be really brave for that.
To date, what do you think your best song is? Can you describe the song for us?
Man, this is a tough question. I have a very eclectic style. I'm a mix of several genres and it's hard for me to be objective about my songs because different ones speak to me in different ways and different times, according to whatever is going on in my life at the moment. But if I had to answer I'd say, "Whiskey" (available now) has always gotten a really good response. It's the type of song that makes you wanna put a lighter in the air. And then "Baby, Baby, Baby" (which is about to release) because it's funny and relatable.
Are you working on any new material right now or what's in the works for the upcoming year?
Like I said, I have a new single, "Baby, Baby, Baby," that's about to be released. It's a great song, not to sound too braggy but it really is-- it'll get your toes tappin' for sure! Other than that I plan on playing as many shows as possible when this pandemics over and I also plan on doing as many co-writes as I can with writers that are more established than me. After that, who knows? The moooooooon...
Tell us where fans can access your music? The easiest way to access my music is to visit www.brismusic.com. The front page is a hub for all links, social media, and information. Other than that, you can just look up "BrianaCalhoun" in any streaming service and I'll be there.