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"I'm fine once I'm on the road.  The act of leaving can be a circus.  I think that the road is what I'm good at; it's being home that is harder." - Bri Bagwell

Posted: February 7, 2024
Articulate refers to an ability to express ideas clearly and effectively in speech or writing.

Photos provided by: Bri Bagwell

To articulate feeling and emotion as an artist is unequivocally important to their success. Often, when I consider the artist, I am interviewing I focus on their skills a guitarist. Which is obvious since we need to connect with our fan base. However, I am quick to revert to what got us here in the first place. Guitar Thrills Magazine was founded on the voice talent of many well-versed vocalists and writers. At the time, the country genre was best suited for what we were feeling at the time. There were so many talented artists coming out of the country music genre, it was difficult to decipher who was going to be the focus for a featured column. Through the heavy competitive genre of music, there was always one artist that stood out from everyone else. Her name is Bri Bagwell. She has a way of articulating how she is feeling at any given time. Bri is without words, or ideas to clearly convey how she is feeling. Everything she has compiled has been written in volumes of country music hits. How does she do it? It is still a mystery to me. Maybe we can find out a bit more ad to what makes her tick. What is the driving force behind her style of writing? Expressing words or ideas “clearly” is a challenge. A challenge that she overcomes evert time.

In November of 2022, we interviewed Bri Bagwell. The topic was:

Struggling with your identity. Is it a part of your routine, or who you really are?

The content of the interview highlighted “Identity and how you want to be perceived by the music industry”. She was quick to answer my questions and didn’t pull any punches. For instance, I asked her the following:

Instead of describing to our readers what your identity is, can you please explain how you try to connect with your targeted audience by means of your identity? If you recall, it is “the aspects of a person that make them unique”.

Bri’s response: Identity can be a confusing subject because I feel humans are constantly growing and changing. Some people are lucky enough to have their voice, message, and identity sorted out at a very young age. Some of us take a little longer to settle into exactly who we are. Our influences also can alter our identities throughout our lives, so we are shifting constantly to be more like something or somebody else. What I have found is that what matters to other people (and even what performs well on social media!) is when I am my most genuine self. I also love seeing others bask in their identity. I feel like I can always tell when something is glossed over or blurred for the sake of social media. What makes us unique is how we instinctively and genuinely react to life, not how we spin it for likes.

The value of this topic hasn’t changed over the years. It has become relevant with each passing day. Please make sure you re-visit the interview with Bri Bagwell as it was truly enlightening and just one example of her ability to express herself “articulately”. Though, you can identify this strong skill set just by listening to volumes of smash country hits.

INTERVIEW WITH BRI BAGWELL AND GUITAR THRILLS MAGAZINE

Guitar Thrills: Welcome back Bri. It seems like a long time since we last chatted. Each month, I keep saying, “I need to catch up with Bri Bagwell”. Last time we chatted it was around the release of your song “Heroes”. Probably one of my favorite songs of yours. Though, it is difficult to top any of your releases. Each expresses the thoughts and emotions that only Bri Bagwell could do. How do you do it? How do you articulate your songwriting so clearly, and effectively?

Bri:  That's very nice, that made my day.  I find that what resonates with my audience best is when I am completely authentic to myself.  If I try to say something or record something that I wouldn't say, it doesn't translate well.  Sometimes, I just ask myself (often out loud), "what am I trying to say?"  Most times the simplest version of what I am trying to convey is the best thing to put in a song.  "Your heroes are my heroes too" isn't a groundbreaking idea, but it was the simplest and truest version of the statement.  Less is more is often very true in songwriting!  Too many words can muddle it right up.

Guitar Thrills: I know you travel quite frequently. How has the road been treating you?

Bri:  I haven't been home the whole month of January... well, two days, does that count?  This month I've been to Steamboat, CO and Key West, FL, with some Texas and Oklahoma dates sprinkled in the middle.  It was an incredibly road-heavy month, and it's been both rewarding and challenging.  Think a couple of sold out shows and amazing festivals, followed by drowning in work that I don't have time or energy to complete.  I bought an RV (a Class C that I can drive) in December, so there has been a giant learning curve on the road, too.  Before COVID, we were on a tour bus some weekends; having the ability again to go somewhere to make tea, get ready, get away, and - let's be honest, most importantly - somewhere for my dog to hang while I'm on stage, has been a game changer!  I've spent many nights in it already on the road, and other than Texas trying to freeze my brand-new RV pipes, it's been amazing and easy.  I LOVE IT.

Guitar Thrills: Do you ever just get tired, and what to call it quits? Not with music, but the Traveling.

Bri:  I'm fine once I'm on the road.  The act of leaving can be a circus.  I think that the road is what I'm good at; it's being home that is harder.  When your home (at my pace), you only have a few days/hours to run all your errands, unpack/repack, answer all the emails, mail out everything, etc.  Sometimes I just want to go browse the grocery store or vacuum or decorate for a holiday... so I feel like I'm always trying to find the balance there.  We do carve out time for a date night if my partner Paul and I are both home at the same time.  That's unbelievably important!  I always love the road - even though it can be tough - and I feel like if there's ever a time that I don't want to be on the road, then it will be time to reevaluate my life and career.  As for now, let's gooooo! 

Guitar Thrills: You had a great concept of interviewing guests as you traveled in your van. How is that going, and why haven’t I received an invitation.

Bri:  Come on down!!  Seriously, I'd love that.  The podcast is going great!  We just don't know whether to switch it to the RV, which only has the front of a van, but is way roomier.  And it runs, ha!  I'm filming three episodes in a row tomorrow.  I'm getting better at interviewing and finding my groove, and we are actively getting emails from potential networks and sponsors!  People are reaching out to me almost daily either praising it or wanting to be on it, and my producer Kyle Tomchesson creates great social media content for it.  It's an interesting card to add to my hand if you will.  I am enjoying the heck out of it!

Guitar Thrills: As a successful country artist, have your dreams finally come true?

Bri:  I always have higher goals and aspirations, but I do recognize daily that I am living my dream.  Some days are diamonds, some days are polishing cloths.  Is that a song?  I would love to do so much more, and I believe that I will do so much more with my music and my career; but it's also important to recognize how far I've come, and I really try to do that often.  Social media can really trap you into comparison mode with other people and artists, and that's just not healthy.  Just being able to make a living off independent music is a BIG deal!

Guitar Thrills: Do other artists come to you requesting advice on how to make it big on the country stage?

Bri:  Yes!  I get a lot of female artists especially that will tell me, “So-and-so said I should talk to you!"  Usually, I tell them to just become a doctor or teacher or do anything else instead... haha!  Kidding.  I love to tell new artists: "There is no right or wrong way, everyone's path is different, and do not compare your progress to others!  You're doing the hardest thing in the world, and I'm proud of you."  It may not be "advice" per se, but I feel like it's the most important thing to tell anyone trying to do what we do that it is difficult and different for everyone.

Guitar Thrills: What have you got coming up that you would like to share with folks?

Bri:  I have a song, "The Rescue" coming out February 9th about my dog, Whiskey.  She is the light of my life, and I know I didn't rescue her (even though I found her in the middle of the road on a cold day with heartworms and fleas) as much as she rescued me.  She truly saved me from a dark place in my life, and I'm forever thankful for my emotional support road dog. 

Guitar Thrills: I noticed that most of your songs have a melancholy type feel to it. Which is great. Totally love it. You wouldn’t be Bri Bagwell if you wrote anything different. However, I noticed a live performance in Vegas. The song you performed is called “Free Man”. Totally loved it. The energy that you brought to the live performance was amazing. Any plans on doing more up-tempo songs?

Bri:  For my records, I always try to have a balance of up-tempo songs and ballads.  It's important for my live performances at festivals and on bigger stages to bring a party, and it's hard for me to do that with all slow songs.  We all know I LOVE a melancholy tune.  "Free Man" was off my 2022 "Corazón y Cabeza" record, and it was a #1 song on the TRRR Chart.  I wrote it while I was on jury duty, so that's why it has a courtroom and justice theme.  It is so fun to play, and I always plan to bring a balance of tempos to upcoming projects!  I have a few fun ones already written...

Guitar Thrills: The country music scene is constantly changing. However, some huge names have come out of nowhere it seems. Is, there any country artists that you had a chance to perform with, that you were just blown away by?

Bri:  I am a sucker for singer-songwriters.  I met Helene Cronin and was just floored by her writing and delivery.  Now we are friends, and she co-wrote "The Rescue" with me!  I'm so honored because she is one of the most talented writers I've ever seen.  The latest mind-blowing performance I watched from the audience was my friend Kylie Frey.  She has unbelievable songs and vocal delivery.  I forgot how dang good she is because we never get to watch one another perform.

Guitar Thrills: You have been in the country music industry for quite a while. Therefore, you would be in the know regarding the “state of the genre”. The topic has been covered time, and time again. Is country music dead? Has it been replaced with the collaboration of genres? What is the current state of classic country music?

Bri:  The country music landscape has always been changing, and it always will.  I think that there is so much good music out there, and I receive songs daily via my group texts that I've never heard, that I absolutely love.  Streaming has created the ability for indie artists and artists of all kinds to put out music.  The pendulum seems to be swinging back to older sounding country music, which I love; but honestly, I think that there's plenty of room for all kinds of music, and that means country music as well.  There has been a lot of collaboration due to the algorithms of streaming companies.  It really benefits you to collaborate with other artists, so people are taking full advantage of that.  Trends will come and go, but hopefully traditional country music will remain in the never-ending cloud of new music releases.  It is out there, we just must find it and share, share, share!  It's the only way to beat the bots.

Guitar Thrills: What is your view regarding mixing other genres of music together? Especially when the classics have such a strong following.

Bri:  DJ's have been doing that for a long time, I suppose.  It helps gain followers by cross-promoting on socials and streaming platforms, which is all the rage nowadays.  I sang on a Norteña tune with La Energia Norteña/The Energy Boys ("Can't Take My Eyes Off of You"), and it was one of the most special and fun experiences of my life!  I didn't do it for the followers, though; I'm a genuine fan of the genre and the band.  It did end up being a great move for me in all areas, though.  I guess my point is that you shouldn't do it for the sake of doing it; the spike should be a result of creating the art first, in my (perhaps delusional) view of art!  Paul and I recorded "After The Fire Is Gone" by Conway Twitty and Loretta Lynn in a more modern style, and I think it rocks.  I wouldn't call it another genre, but I'm sure that some people would.  People are in experimentation mode, because you don't have to have a record label or a big studio to make music anymore!  When it works, it's cool.  I'm just worried about the volume of music being created and how to cut through it when you don't have a label or giant budget.  That can be a hindrance to good music.

Guitar Thrills: Times change. That is how I look at it. With change, comes adaptability. We must adapt to change that seems morally correct. If it doesn’t hurt anyone or is extremely.

controversial, what is wrong with accepting a different sound of a favored genre?

Bri:  I guess that's exactly where I've been going with this.  It also doesn't mean that I must make the kind of music that is "popular" if I don't like it.  They can do it, but nobody has a gun to my head.  I can still do me, and that is very powerful and freeing!  I understand your feelings though, and I have those too sometimes.  But I try not to be too closed-minded...there have been some cool things happening lately, and the examples I gave above have really worked well for me.  As a listener, you like what you like!  It's like wine.  I try not to overthink it.

Guitar Thrills: I enjoy your feedback because I always know that I will get honesty from you.

Even if we are of different opinions. Which is rare. What Bri Bagwell says goes!!!

Really though, thank you for taking the time to answer some questions for me today. I know you are busy, and an interview is not always conducive to busy schedule. As I mentioned from day 1 you always have a home at Guitar Thrills Magazine.

Bri:  Thanks for having me.  I think we agree on a lot, and we help each other through the Alice and Wonderland world of the music business.  Let's not let it make us completely mad and insane!   Haha.  See you on the pod!




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