Guess what: we’ve found one more artist out there who doesn’t have agency representation yet. This time it’s country artist Brynn Marie, who’s already landed the Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo/Cheap Trick tour on her own. She dropped by our office last week to explain things.
Brynn caught our attention because her name wasn’t in our artist contact database. That’s odd: everybody who plays on a big stage is in our system, right? No, not if they are without a manager or agent. We learned that through Brynn’s PR contact. We also learned Brynn was traveling past our office, so she dropped by along with her videographer, band and makeup artist. And they played a few songs.
Yup (cracks knuckles), just another day here in the sticks.
Turns out Brynn has been the center of attention for a while. She’s a former cheerleader and homecoming queen, and sang for years in her family’s worship band before shifting to country music, doing a USO tour along the way. She’s also personable and arrived at our office after playing Modesto where she had a long meet-and-greet (70 photos were posted to her Facebook page.)
Rest assured: you don’t play with acts like Benatar for long before you’re noticed, and Brynn has agents courting.
We also talked to her videographer, Jeff Johnson, who single-handedly shot her music video for “Bandaid On A Bullet Hole.” (Note to industry readers: Yes, he is the offspring of road warrior Jimmy Johnson.) Jeff also happens to be engaged to Brynn.
How did you get this far without management or an agent?
Brynn: A lot of hard work, networking, meeting people. Just getting my music out there any way I could and hoping it would catch some attention.
Jeff: Over the past four years, she’s pounded a lot of pavement in Nashville, playing gigs and taking advantage of the social media aspects of music.
Brynn: Also, I went into the studio and recorded an EP of six songs. I co-produced it; I wanted it to be my sound. I didn’t want somebody to tell me how to do it; I wanted to craft who I am as an artist. Then, when I met Jeff, we did the music video. That way people could see the creativity on film, and who I am as an artist.
Jeff: For the past couple years she’s been learning social media, the importance of YouTube videos and hashtags.
But you don’t have a manager?
Brynn: I have Michelle Tigard Kammerer helping me. She’s just one girl who said, “I really want to help you out and just see how things go.” And we’ve just really hit it off. She has the same vision as me. It’s really hard to find somebody with the same fire, goals and visions.
Jeff: Michelle’s a great person for her. I’ve seen people believe in Brynn but haven’t really been at the level Michelle is. She’s helping Brynn meet people, getting her around Nashville and around L.A. Brynn has had managers where you’re trying to get a phone call back for weeks – [but] Michelle is right there.
Brynn: And she believes in the music; she believes in me. If someone can believe in that, and can run with it, then that’s what I need.
But is she your manager?
(Jeff and Brynn turn to each other and agree: Michelle’s the manager.)
So how did you get on this tour?
Brynn: Oh my gosh, how do we even start? I got the opportunity to open for Pat and Neil in Concho, Okla., at the Lucky Star Casino. It happened through tour management and agents, etc.
I had just been playing a lot – when I say I paid my dues, I mean I played as much as I possibly could. I met a lot of people who would say, “I believe in you! How can I help?” And I’d be, (whispers) “Throw me a date! Gimme an opportunity. Just put me out there. If it doesn’t go great, you don’t have to ever book me again.” The worst they can say is no, right?
But I’m not afraid to ask, and I was very persistent. So Brad Goodman from William Morris Endeavor (who books Pat Benatar) got me on the date. During soundcheck – I finished “Just Like That,” the song I played for you here in the office – I heard clapping. I looked out but you couldn’t see anything. I looked underneath the lights and there’s Pat and Neil sitting there. I’m, like, “You’re joking, right?” I think I said to them, “Oh my gosh, this is so cool! But just so you know, I have to soak in this moment.”
They sat there the whole time! I get off stage and Pat walks up to me and started embracing me. She passed along wisdom about the music business and gave me compliments. We talked so long that day! And I’ll never forget it: she says, “Did you read my book?” I had to say no because, well, I hadn’t read it yet! And she says (sternly), “You need to read my book!”
I did the show, came back to my dressing room, and there was her book on my chair, signed. That night, she called me to her tour bus and asked, “Do you want to come back out?” I said absolutely. And from there it was date after date.
Jeff: I think Brad saw her talent, too.
Brynn: And the fans. At first I thought, “These guys don’t know who I am,” right? I mean, I’m not signed. Let’s just see how this goes.
So here I am, a country artist – with pop and rock elements – and I walk out on stage, they introduce me and I hear a couple of polite whoops. But by the end, they are so there! They’re wanting to know my story. They’re wanting to know my music! They’re standing in line at the merch table. I can’t believe how much merch I’ve sold doing this all by myself. I won’t lie: it’s been a lot of hard work and wondering if anyone would hear this music. But Pat and her crowd have been amazing. The feedback is surreal.
So I did about seven dates with Pat and Neil, renting a car, going up to New York, down to Florida. I ended up getting a phone call and it’s Pat’s tour manager. He said, “Hey, we have an offer for you. We’re wanting to know if you’d be interested in touring this summer with Pat, Neil and Cheap Trick.”
I was, (imitates staying cool and collected), “I’m in. I’m in.” I wanted to scream! It was just a moment where I realized all the hard work was paying off, and these legends are allowing me to open. I’m super grateful and blessed.
Brynn Marie warms up for her June 14 show in Bakersfield, Calif. by playing a few tunes for Pollstar. Fresno, Calif.
June 13, 2013
Do you know that your video, so far, has zero dislikes?
Brynn: Really? That’s so rad!
Jeff: It’s gotta be the short shorts!
Brynn: The girls in the video are Tennessee Titans cheerleaders. Jeff had a field day with that!
Jeff: It was a good day to be a movie director.
You guys are a good couple if you can joke about that.
Brynn: Before the video shoot, I walked into the office and said, “You excited? The Tennessee Titans cheerleaders?”
Jeff: I didn’t know how to answer it. I was, “Uh, Sure?”
Brynn: I said, “Well, I would be if I was you!” We had a good time.
So how is the tour going?
Jeff: Pat’s [been bringing Brynn on stage] to do “We Belong” as a duet. It started at Santa Barbara Bowl. She says now she’s going to do it every night.
That’s like karaoke heaven, right there.
Brynn: Oh my gosh! When we were at the Greek Theatre (in Los Angeles), we had just gotten done with the show and I was saying, “Man, this gig can’t get any better!” And the next show I’m on stage with her.
So you’re obviously a people person …
Brynn: Yeah, I have to hug everyone. I’m Italian. I love meeting everybody. I love hearing their feedback on the songs or the show. The merch line, and meeting everybody, has just been great. I love eye contact. Last night in Modesto there was a nice, long line and I just stood there and met every single person.
I love people who can look me in the eye and have a one-on-one conversation.
Rocking Pollstar’s break room. Fresno, Calif.
June 13, 2013
On “30 Rock,” Jenna Maroney had in her rider: “Everyone must look me in the eye.” You should add that to your rider!
Jeff: That’s so funny. I was Keith Urban’s videographer for years. I would always have my friends come out and I’d tell them, “If you’re ever in the hallway, and you see Keith walking down the hallway, you need to turn and face the wall.”
Brynn: And they would do it! It was so awful.
Jeff: It was the best! They’d look like idiots.
Brynn (to Jeff): Don’t you dare do that to me!
For more information visit BrynnMarie.com and click here for her Facebook page.
Upcoming dates for Brynn Marie include the following shows supporting Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo: June 21 in Inverness, Fla., at the Citrus County Speedway; June 23 in Atlanta, Ga., at the Atlanta Botanical Garden; June 25 in Nashville, Tenn., at the Ryman Auditorium; and June 30 in Apple Valley, Minn., at the Minnesota Zoo Amphitheater.