I wanted to tell you all the story behind the song, "Sad Song," in hopes that maybe you can relate to what I went though - and that together, we can get through the tough times!!
I wrote Sad Song during a lunch break while I was at work (I worked at a recording studio so we had pianos there...) I had just started a "break" with my boyfriend (so not technically a full on break up, but it definitely felt like one!) and every day just felt like - there was no other way to describe it - a Sad Song! Every morning, instead of being sunny and warm, it was always gray and rainy outside. Instead of birds tweeting joyously, I felt like they were always tweeting sorrowful dirges in minor keys. The world just always seems terrible during a break up. And when you're feeling the loss of someone - sometimes you just don't want to get out of bed! I just wanted to stay asleep and pull the sheets over my head and never come out. And of course, everyone always says, "Oh, it'll be fine - time heals all wounds." But at the time, you feel like time never moves! Is anyone with me here?!
Here are the lyrics and be sure to check out the music video we just released!!
Sad Song, written by Erica Bryan.
Bird are singing in minor keys
The world feels heavy, weighing down on me
There's no point in pulling the shades back
The sky only cries in shades of black
Everyday is a sad, sad song
The sorrow deep and the hurt is long
I'm just living a sad, sad song
Since the day that you've been gone
I pull the sheets over my head
I think I'll sleep until I'm dead
There's no point in the world outside
I'm just reminded that you're doing fine
They say that time, time heals all wounds
But what if time never moves?
I love when I actually write songs that I like! Sometimes I write songs that I don’t like that much, but that is not the case with this one! And since I’m convinced I like this one, I want to dedicate this song to Jack Marchione, who donated the most notes for my Stage-It show! Thank you so much for all your support Jack!!!! This one’s for you!
This song came about when I got together with my friend Troy. It was our first write together and we were tossing around some ideas and titles. Troy had a title called “Last Night In Memphis.” I have a weird fascination with Elvis, Memphis, and all things blues, so I loved the thought of writing a song about Memphis. We started writing it and it became an I’m-getting-over-you song. However, when we got to the last line of the chorus, our title wasn’t really making sense with what we had written, so we changed it to “I’m leaving you in Memphis.” Then, my weird fascination about Elvis came out of the closet, and we started incorporating Elvis song titles into the lyrics–hidden gems for the Elvis fans out there!
Below are the lyrics, and I will BOLD the Elvis song titles! After you read the lyrics, check out the youtube video to listen to the full EP version of the song!!!
Leaving You In Memphis
Pedal on the gas down I-40 west
Trying to get my mind off of you
Neon lights light up a Beale street sign
I pull up to the Home of the Blues
It’s midnight but that’s alright
I got a lotta heartbreak to heal
The guitar man raises his glass
Says I understand (just) how you feel
Echos of an Elvis song
Remind me only fools fall in love
Memories have followed me here
But I’m leaving you in Memphis
Headed out to the Graceland grounds
Where the king is buried and free
Wish my spirit could fly, be no longer tied
To your unchained melody.
Echo of an Elvis song
Remind me only fools fall in love
I’m checking out of the heartbreak hotel
And I’m leaving you in Memphis
Take a listen to the EP version here, and then get it tomorrow with your Jericho EP presale on iTunes!!!!
Last weekend, my brother-in-law was in town. It was a beautiful evening outside so we all grilled out on the patio and were listening to tunes on our beloved bluetooth speaker. And, while scrolling through Apple Music, I decided to transport us back in time to playing one of my favorite songs from 2003, "Best of Me," by The Starting Line. Then, all of a sudden, we all went back in time to our Emo phase and were passing around the phone putting the next Emo song in the queue. It was glorious. We pictured ourselves back when everyone had stick-straight hair, because the straightener had just been invented. and boys were just now starting to shop in the girl section to buy their jeans. Our parents miraculously let us go to concerts in falling down warehouses and, if you could get close to the mosh pit, (even though we didn't even listen to bands that you should be moshing too), it was a success. We never knew if any of these bands were signed or not, and we didn't care! All we knew was that our friend gave us this CD and we thought it was great because it wasn't what our parents liked.
Now, I'm not sure how many of you had your own emo phase, but here were some classics that we played that maybe you'll remember and will transport you back in time!
"Best of Me" by The Starting Line
"Grand Theft Autumn" by Fall Out Boy
"Hit Or Miss" by New Found Glory
"The Tension and the Terror" by Straylight Run
"Sunsets and Car Crashes" by The Spill Canvas
"Counting the Stars" by Waking Ashland
"Passenger Seat" by Death Cab For Cutie
"Cigarette" by Yellow Card (you know...the album before they "sold out" [i.e. made money])
"Honestly" by Cartel
"You're So Last Summer" by Taking Back Sunday
"Woke Up In A Car" by Something Corporate
"The Big Sleep" by Streetlight Manifesto
"My Own Worst Enemy" by Lit
Any of these songs ringing a bell?!
And, if you want to transport yourself to another time- maybe the Matchbox Twenty garage band grunge phase, or maybe the boy band phase, or maybe just back to the "Baby" by Justin Bieber days, you should! And here's how: Enter to win a free bluetooth speaker by signing up for my mailing list! Huzzah! You, too, can join me in the past and reminisce on your metaphorical Emo phase.
You 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!
First off, a huge thank you to everyone who downloaded, streamed, listened, shared, commented, liked, and even thought about "Jericho" at all. You guys rock!!
I touched a little bit about the story behind "Jericho" in my interview with The Odyssey Online but now I'm here to give you all the juicy details!
When I first moved to Nashville, I was excited to take a leap into the unknown, but I knew that there needed to be a lot of prayer involved if I was going to be successful! I started reading a book called The Circle Maker by Mark Batterson. The Circle Maker relays the story of Honi, a man from ancient times who drew a circle around himself and refused to come out of it until God answered his prayer for his people. The book encourages everyone to pray circles around their dreams, like Honi did with his relentless faith.
After reading this book, I started walking circles around Music Row and prayed over and around every music building. I walked down 16th and walked circles around the publishing companies and entertainment groups. I circled my publishing rights organization, BMI, and prayed that their hearts would be open to me and my music. I circled record labels, praying that doors would be open for me, and circled many other buildings that I didn't even know what they were!
As I walked circles around Music Row praying, I felt a lot like Joshua who circled around Jericho. As recorded in the book of Joshua in the Bible, the Lord instructed Joshua and his army to walk around Jericho, a city that was promised to the Israelites. Joshua and his army walked around Jericho once a day for six days. On the seventh day, seven priests blew their horns and the army walked around Jericho seven times and gave a big shout. Then, the walls came crumbling down and the city was given over to the Israelites.
I'm astounded by Joshua and the Israelites' faith in this story. How would you feel if you needed to take over a city and you were instructed to simply walk around it a total of 13 times and then blow through a horn? That tremendous faith is what inspired me to try and have faith and hope during my move to Nashville.
This idea of "Jericho" as a song was obviously very personal and pivotal to me so I sat on the idea for 3 years until I found the right person to write it with. I ended up writing the song with my producer, Tommy Harden, from a metaphor-perspective of trying to win someone's heart - because I often feel like I'm trying to win hearts here in Nashville!
I decided to call my whole EP Jericho because every song captures some sort of journey I've had while living in Nashville and I cannot wait to share the rest of my stories with you through my EP!!
My hope for you when you listen to "Jericho," is that you're inspired to circle around something that seems unreachable. I hope you keep going after what you've been working so hard to achieve until the walls fall down.
So let's keep marching!
Remember that time we heard the story about Iceland that was passed down through the ever-trustworthy medium of American oral tradition? The story of the Vikings naming Iceland "Greenland" and Greenland "Iceland" so that they could confuse their enemies? Well...I have two theories about this story.
A. American oral tradition has failed us.
B. The Vikings arrived to Iceland during the dog days of summer.
Iceland is aptly named in the winter. While the temperatures are similar to Nashville in the winter (between 25-30 degrees), the 30 mph winds made me feel like I was traipsing through the North Pole half-naked.
But, the winter wonderland scenery made it all worth it!
Iceland surprised me in a lot of ways.
1. They generally like America. (and even have statues commemorating the great friendship between the US and Iceland)
2. They seem proud of their Lutheran heritage.
3. They make killer music.
4. They eat whale.
5. They eat horse.
6. It's CRAZY expensive!
While there, I got to do some pretty awesome things.
I got snowed on at the beach.
I became a Viking.
I rode an Icelandic horse through snowy mountain passages.
I saw the iciest waterfall ever.
I went SWIMMING in the Blue Lagoon during a sleet storm.
I saw the Northern Lights!
I also ate some pretty crazy things too- like Puffin and Whale (don't worry, I didn't have Horse!) I would say Puffin and Whale are both pretty slimy...so...probably won't have those again. But, the best thing I had was an Icelandic hot dog with potato salad on top!(Ok, I'm not 100% sure what kind of meat the hot dog was made out of...I hope it wasn't horse.)
All in all, the trip was a once in a lifetime experience. I never thought I would ever go to Iceland, but I did! But now, I'm ready to be warm. Bahamas...here I come!
Well...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!
For an inside look at the photoshoot for the album artwork, check out this article!
Can't wait to release "Jericho" 3.31!!!!!!!!! Stay tuned!!
Nobody tells you when you are starting out how many hats you have to wear. (and I say "starting out" because after 2 decades of performing, they still tell you you're starting out.) I've learned that being an indie artist isn't just about singing...it's about wearing all the hats of the music business-and hopefully still being in style by the end.
The Songwriter: The first hat you wear is the one of the songwriter. When I moved to Nashville, I didn't even know I would have to write songs. I thought you could just be a good singer and people would want you to sing. I was wrong. You're expected to write your own songs. And you have to write good songs. And in Country music, you have to write very specific songs, for a specific crowd. I don't follow all the rules...but I've learned them-and since I'm an indie artist- I can break them-because I'm in charge :)
The Producer: Now, the word producer has many connotations and it's different in the music industry than in other industries, but for our purposes today, I'm using this word in the more musical theatre/tv-film sense- the Producer being the funder of the project. You want to record the song you just wrote...but if you want a good recording, it's gonna cost you! So, you have to round up the money by saving or finding investors.
The Studio Singer: After you write the song and have money to record the song, you have to sing the song! But you can't just "sing" it like you're singing in the shower. You have to sing it with a "style" that makes you sound like no one else. You have to sing with imperfection so people think you're feeling something. You have to re-live the words you wrote and make sure the emotion is heard or no one will believe you lived it. People have literally told me I have to sound less perfect and less pretty. My Bachelor of Music degree cried a little.
The Audio Engineer: After you sing the song, you have to listen back to different mixes of the recording. Yes, I have an audio engineer recording it for me, but at the end of the day, when you are an indie artist, you have to listen back to the mixes and discern if any changes need to be made. I've had to learn what phrases like,"We need more 2k range" mean and learn to read wave forms- I didn't know I would become a scientist!
The Website Designer: After you have the song recording, you have to have a website to promote it. I've had to learn how to design my website, update it for changes in my tour schedule, and even use html code when necessary!
The Stylist: Once you have a website, you have to have photos to put on the website. To have photos, you have to have a photoshoot, and to have a photoshoot, you have to have clothes to wear. You can't just have any clothes though. You have to have clothes that represent you as an artist and build your brand for the album. And I'm not gonna lie- shopping is harder than you think!
The Model: Once you have the clothes to wear at the shoot- then you gotta wear them! This is probably the weirdest hat to me. I have no idea how to be a model or what to do except smile. I've literally had photographers yell at me to stop smiling and I'm like- what else am I supposed to do?! (I have a photoshoot this Sunday- so we'll see if I get yelled at again...)
The Publicist: Once you have the website and the photos and the music, you have to get all this material into the right hands. A huge part of my job once I have the finished product is to send everything to as many blogs and radio stations as possible. I've even had to learn what the heck a press release is and how to write one! The more people that hear the work, the better!
The Social Media Team: After I've emailed everyone and their mother about the new music, I have to post on social media so that my friends, family, and music base also know about it! This can be the most annoying part, because selling myself on social media isn't my idea of fun, but people won't respect your music if they think no one listens to you, and the only way they see that people are responding to your music is through your numbers on social media! Oh yeah, and when you get all fancy at social media and have all these tracking and metric apps, you also know which of your "friends" unfollowed you...so....
The Booking Agent: Once you have the songs, the social media, the website- you gotta play some live shows! In order to play live shows, you have to find a venue that will have you! As my own booking agent, I contact festivals and venues all over the southeast to book my tours and try to team up with other artists that have traction in their area.
The Promoter: Once you book the show- you gotta get people to come to the show! So- you gotta promote the show! How do you promote the show? Promote through radio stations, ads, targeted social media, posters...etc!
The Performer: Once you get people to the show, you gotta perform at the show. But performing isn't just about "singing in front of people" - it's about moving people with each song and selling your product to the crowd so that they will want to hear the music on their drive home and come see you live again- and hopefully share it with their friends.
As a young girl, I dreamed about being "The Performer." But, I didn't realize all the other hats I would have to wear before I was able to wear that one. I've learned it's a long vertical climb of hard work. You might get some hat hair along the way, but I think it makes getting to "The Performer" all the more worth it in the end.
As my EP enters its final stage of production (mastering), I can't help but wonder what the outcome of years of bringing this EP to life will be. This EP represents the full circle of coming to Nashville at 12 years old and singing karaoke on Broadway, dreaming I'd be back one day. It's the culmination of learning what the heck songwriting is, and years of songwriting with different writers, and the challenge and satisfaction of writing by myself. It signifies the decades and immeasurable amount of money my parents spent helping me master the craft of singing. It symbolizes the countless hours of learning the different instruments I wrote each song with and the innumerable miles driven to play each song live with my band.
Once production wraps up, I will be sitting in the offices of record labels, management, song pluggers, lawyers, and professional friends and colleagues who will listen to it and then tell me the verdict of their thoughts.
When I released my single, "This House Is Haunted," I received great remarks from people in the industry. A CEO of a songwriting publishing company told me that this song would surely be picked up by a big artist. The head of a major artist management company raved about my vocal performance. My idol told me she watched my music video and loved it. A record label told me they loved it and couldn't wait to hear more of my music! And while I feel proud with the headway I made with that song, none of those remarks changed my life. I was still the same girl hustling for myself. I was proud that people liked it so much, but at the end of the day, nothing happened as a result of the "right people" liking it.
So, as I gear up for another round, hopefully hearing how good it is (I may not be that lucky!), I have to brace myself for the chance that: nothing may happen.
Although that may be the case, I have to remember that I'm proud of what I made. These songs are the best versions of themselves. These songs came from real places and emotions in my life, and whether or not people like them does not diminish the years that were put into making this the quality of music I've sought to achieve.
And more than anything, I'll know I reached my goal if these songs resonate with the people who listen to them. I hope you relate to my blissful happiness, my deep sorrow, my aching hurt, my boiling anger, and my desire for strength.
If the string sections well up and make you want to do something bold, or my sad songs make you want to cry, or that driving guitar rhythm makes you drive a little faster- then I'll know I did my job and my music was made for something, not nothing.
As 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
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!
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!!
Sometimes I think I'm crazy. But sometimes, I think I know exactly what I'm doing.