Briana Calhoun - 10 Questions Music Interview
Briana Calhoun is a singer/songwriter from Louisiana with an eclectic style and an incredible story. During her teens and early twenties, Briana 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 a beautiful family. Offering music to empower others, Briana 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."
Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it.
My mother and grandfather were the biggest catalysts for music at a young age. He played for Radio City Music Hall and my mom is an award-winning Christian Country songwriter, so music was always there. But music became really important to me once I hit about 16. My home life wasn't great. It was full of turmoil. So I started writing music as therapy and really never stopped.
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career?
I've had the usual rejections, disappointments, and people who try to take advantage of me -- the music industry is not for the faint of heart. But I've never had something particularly crazy happen. Now one of the funniest things that ever happened to me is one time I was playing a show, opening for a band called Muscadine Bloodline, and there was this big sweet country boy in the front row. You could tell he was a few beers in, but he was also listening very intently. After a few songs he shouted out "I LOVE YOUR SENTENCE STRUCTURE!!!" As a songwriter, you can't get a better compliment than that. Especially from a guy in cowboy boots and cut-off sleeves.
What has been the high point of your music path?
Recently, I've had a lot of offers rolling in for collabs on social media and such. I've gotten a pretty good following considering I've only been pursuing music fully for about a year and a half now, and I'm not doing too bad with streams either, but the best is yet to come and I can't wait to see what happens next.
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like?
I usually start with a hook and a melody- I typically use common idioms or turns of the phrase, and then write around the concept. Sometimes, however, I write out a song like a poem, and then add melody and structure later. Just kind of depends on the subject and what I'm facing at the time
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be?
Honestly, labels need to stop hiring people that all sound the same. Just about every song on country and pop radio have too similar of phrasing, styles, and lyrics. Labels don't want to risk someone who doesn't sound like everyone else because all they see is numbers. It's incredibly frustrating. People ask me what genre I am all the time and I say "Southern Pop," which is made up I know, but I feel like it should be a thing. But here's the real question: In a world where people can be genderless, why can't music be genreless??
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?
I'd like to share the stage with Kacey Musgraves or Maren Morris. Our styles are completely different. But they both sort of walk a genre tightrope, too. It's pop with country elements -- Southern Pop.
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show?
I meet the band at the studio and we try to cover at least 5-7 songs in a couple of hours -- try to make them tight and right. As far as my personal preparation, I just try to stay as relaxed as possible the whole day before. Nothing is worse than being super rushed or stressed out and then having to perform.
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
"Whiskey," which is also on the EP, was a a tough one. It's sort of a coming of age song about drinking too much and ruining a good relationship because of it. It was actually one of the first songs I ever wrote. It's hard for me to sing because it's so candid -- It makes me feel like I'm naked in front of everyone. But, people really seem to like it so I just bare down and play it anyway.
What's coming up in the future?
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.