Danielle Bradbery is back in the UK this week as one quarter of a must-see Introducing Nashville line-up – the touring collective supported by the CMA in a bid to showcase the rising stars of Music City. Simon Rushworth caught up with the former winner of America’s The Voice.
Rushonrock: How excited are you to return to the UK?
Danielle Bradbery: I was in London three times last year and I’ve been looking forward to returning ever since. I remember leaving and thinking ‘send me back!’. I played at a couple of festivals and did some radio – it was just a case of getting to know the place and getting to know some of my fans. I’m so excited to be back. I love exploring and sightseeing and this gives me the chance to see some new places.
Rushonrock: Are you aware of the surge in popularity of country music in the UK?
DB: I am. The love for country music in the UK is really special. It makes me even more appreciative of what I do and the songs that I sing. Being able to share those songs with people in the UK is on a whole new level for me. As an artist it puts a completely different perspective on your work. British fans are unbelievably loyal and I feel as if I can really open up to folks in the UK. It’s very, very cool and I’m truly thankful that there is such an appreciation of country music outside of the US.
Rushonrock: How important it for emerging musicians to be given the opportunity to tour the UK through the CMA?
DB: For someone like me it’s very important. I’m at a stage in my career where I’m looking at releasing my third album and I’m ready to play some new music. I’m in the process of listening to some new songs and I’m still writing new songs. Introducing Nashville has that intimate vibe and that’s exactly what I’m aiming for with the new record. I think some of the new music that we have in mind will be the perfect fit for these shows. I’d like to try out some of the new stuff on the British fans and see what they think – it’s all part of the process. I’d love to know what they think about this song or that song as it’s so important for me as a musician and a songwriter. Introducing Nashville is a really cool set up and I’m hoping the fans love hearing some new music and some great stories.
DB: For sure. We all have a very different outlook when it comes to what country music is. Rachel is a good friend of mine – she has a huge voice and loves the storytelling aspect of music and songwriting. It’s really interesting to hear just how different the four of us are and yet we have a shared love of country music.
Rushonrock: Can you describe the Nashville scene to UK musicians thinking of heading over there?
DB: It is competitive but on the other side of the coin the whole town revolves around music. It’s really, really cool but of course it can be overwhelming when you first get there. There are so many places to play but it’s the songwriting opportunities that you’ve got to go for. Yes, you can go and perform in the bars and at the many events staged in Nashville and there will be a lot of eyes on you. But it’s very important to jump into the songwriting scene as soon as you can. You quickly meet so many people – and so many influential people – who’ve been involved in the writing of countless hit songs. And they tend to be such nice people too. Nashville’s songwriting scene is very welcoming and even the most established songwriters are willing to help emerging musicians make their way.
Rushonrock: Looking back do you view your time on The Voice as a positive experience?
DB: I’m so glad that I did that. It gave me a glimpse into every area of the music industry and you quickly learn what needs to be done – whether it’s in front of a camera or in preparation for your big moment. There are so many coaches on hand to guide you every step of the way and not just the four that you see on the screen. Behind the scenes there are specialist staff helping you with every aspect of the process. Even if you go out early you learn so much but I was fortunate to remain in the process until the end. I’m grateful that I got that opportunity. I didn’t have any idea of what to expect and I was very shy before I appeared on that show. If you’re self-conscious or you suffer from stagefright – which I did – then The Voice helps you grow. I went into that process without much confidence and I was painfully shy. I came out of it a completely different person.
Rushonrock: Reality TV gets a bad rap…what’s your view of that criticism?
DB: There are so many ways to back a new artist but a lot of people do see the reality shows as some kind of short cut to a career in music. Go on any one of those shows behind the scenes and you realise just how much hard work goes into making sure the artists don’t mess up on live TV. There’s very little time in between shows to learn new songs and work out how you’re going to do those songs your way. It’s tough.
Rushonrock: It’s almost two years since you released I Don’t Believe We’ve Met – how is your third album taking shape?
DB: It seems like we’re having so many meetings about the new record right now. And on my part I’m busy writing a lot of new music. I’m listening to outside songs – songs that aren’t mine – and creating my own stuff too. There are a couple right now that we’re thinking about taking into the studio. And I’m appearing on the soundtrack of the new Charlie’s Angels movie. It’s the first time I’ve appeared on a film soundtrack and it’s very exciting. The song’s called Blackout and the film is out next month!
Rushonrock: What do you enjoy most about songwriting?
DB: I know it seems like I’ve been doing this for a while but I’m only just getting started as a songwriter. It’s taken me a while to get comfortable with the whole process. I’m still trying to find my spot in the room. Often you’re a writer that’s really good at melodies or you’re a writer that’s really good at lyrics and how to express things. I’m still not sure where my strengths lie. It takes me a while to process what’s going on in the songwriting room but at the moment I bring in the story and that’s been my primary role so far. I want to be able to play a bigger part in terms of putting the lyrics and the melody together but I’m learning every day and getting better and better.
Introducing Nashville UK dates:
Wed 16 Oct 2019 Manchester RNCM Theatre
Thu 17 Oct 2019 Gateshead Sage 2
Fri 18 Oct 2019 Glasgow St Lukes
Sun 20 Oct 2019 Brighton The Old Market
Mon 21 Oct 2019 London Cadogan Hall (Country Music Week 2019)