Talk Music: Bri Bagwell is moving on up in the country world

Melissa Crowe By Melissa Crowe

Aug. 14, 2013 at 3:14 a.m.

Bri Bagwell and the Banned

Bri Bagwell and the Banned

A new writing deal with Sony in Nashville moved Bri Bagwell farther away from her Las Cruces, N.M., home.

She is learning how to stay true to her southern roots in a city often criticized for commercialism.

With a new EP coming out later this month, and shows booked across Texas, Bagwell is staying busy.

She caught up with Get Out to talk about her style, her drive and what it takes to make a name for herself.

What or who got you into music?

I had a cousin who sang. She lived up in Nashville. I was really little; I would idolize her.

I've been singing on stage since I was 3 years old.

How did the band come together?

I have two older brothers; they're identical twins, and they're seven years older than me.

They were in a fraternity, and they sang and played instruments. They started a band when I was 14 years old.

We played all over New Mexico and wedding receptions, so that's when I played in my first band.

I was playing keyboard and singing. I was hooked.

Recently, you earned some big recognition as the 2013 Texas Regional Radio Report Female Vocalist of the Year. What does that mean to you?

That was really cool for me.

I didn't think I was going to get emotional about it, but I got choked up like a little girl.

Being a girl, I have to work twice as hard to make a name for myself and prove a point.

We had toured so hard. We did 137 dates last year.

When I won that, it was really wonderful and humbling to get that recognition.

Back up - is it a "girls have to work twice as hard to get half as far" situation?

We can do what the boys do and just as good. The only way to do it is to prove it.

I have a really awesome band, and what we do is work our butts off.

We tour as much as we can. We play high-energy shows. We take pictures, sign autographs and go to as many radio shows as often as we can.

There's never been a girl Pat Green. People talk about me trying to be that. I don't know if I want to be that; I want to be Miranda (Lambert).

I want to do a national thing. As of right now, it's just to play as many shows as I can.

You've said that you're doing it all without a million-dollar budget. What's behind you?

I had some really lucky things happen. About two-and-a-half years ago, I got to be on CMT's "Next Superstar." Before that, I was just playing acoustic with my guitar.

I got to play for Miranda Lambert's family in her winery up in Lindale. They called Miranda's mom, asking for people to audition for this show, and Miranda's mom told them about me.

That kick-started my career.

Once I got back from the show, I put my band together. I did a Kickstarter campaign for my music video, and that got everything into motion.

Since then, it's been a whirlwind.

It sounds like Miranda Lambert has a big influence in your music. Is that right?

She has been my favorite since the moment I saw her music video for "Kerosene."

She's a really good example of sticking to her guns about music and playing what she likes to play.

She's great all around.

I want to be doing what she's doing - to be playing those big shows.

We don't have the same type of music, but doing what she's doing is what I want to do.

How do you describe your music?

I write everything from traditional-sounding country to modern, pop country.

Mainly, I like to tell people it's a mixture between rock 'n' roll, blues and country.

It's a melting pot but mostly on the edgier side.

I love traditional country a lot and Willie (Nelson) and Waylon (Jennings).

As much as I'd like to do that, my stuff is a little more on the rock 'n' roll side.

What are you working on right now?

My new single is called "Hound Dog." It just came out a couple of months ago.

It's in the 20s in the Texas charts right now. That's off my new EP, which will come out at the end of August.

This new CD is coming out with seven songs - six I wrote and one I didn't. I couldn't be more excited about it.

It's been two-and-a-half years since my first CD came out, so it's definitely time.

What can you tell me about the new EP?

There's not one love song on this whole CD. Usually there's one.

It's kind of a heartbreak, sassy album.

The songs I've written in the last year - that's why I'm so excited.

We're starting to play them live, and that's the most fun.

With this move to Nashville, things are getting pretty serious. What's the experience like?

It's so bizarre.

I have always written songs as I've been inspired. Here, I go write songs when I'm here at 11 a.m. every day, feeling inspired or not, it's just part of the deal.

It's like working out a muscle in your brain. It's good for me, because some days when I don't want to write, I've come away with some really great stuff.

I wrote 10 songs in unison, and that's crazy. Now I'm writing that many a month.

What can you tell our readers about your new songs?

I have one song that people have been really responding to and getting the radio DJs to play them, "Crazy."

It's basically admitting that I'm a girl, and I'm crazy, but it's not my fault - the boys make me crazy. Yeah, I'm crazy because you make me crazy.

That's been going over really good live.

The other, "It's Not Love," I wrote with the two Johns - John Randall, who wrote "Whiskey Lullaby," and John Wiggins, whose most famous is "Tequila Makes her Clothes Come Off."

I was so excited about it. I'm so happy with how it turned out. It's the closest thing to a love song on the album.



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