Morgan Bracy

Hopes, dreams, aspirations. We all have them. Tennessee-raised Morgan Bracy? Take the ambition to get there and multiply it by 10. As Bracy learned however, all the ambition in the world doesn't make the road to success easy. She says it best - "Life’s not the picture that I read about when I was a kid.” She decided to dive into music in a land of endless talent, shipping off to Nashville to refine her craft. It hasn't been easy, but her minds certainly in the right spot:"I've had my ups and my low downs where I've almost abandoned music.  But even down there, I could never tear myself away. That's when this baseline thought came to me: Who cares if no one else gets it and if it's not commercial. I have to do it for me. And I still believed there were people that I'd connect with if I did."

Bracy's latest effort is titled "End of Cinderella", a record she calls "a concept album about fairytales going wrong and how that's not such a bad thing." She continues on about the project: "You think you want to go down this lovely gold-laden street instead of that muddy trail.  But you must go down the bumpy trail.  It wipes you out.  It gets you muddy and bruised, but then you discover these amazing treasures about yourself and the end result is much more beautiful." Real good stuff - you'll realize how perfect a fit the work is once you sample Morgan's sound, a mix of "vulnerability and honesty".
She's busy right now making more EP's - not only her own, but a project called Lovechild Zombie with Joel Jacks as well. Check it all out! There's a bunch more to read about, so keep reading for all the answers to the XXQ's.

XXQs: Morgan Bracy

PensEyeView.com (PEV): How would you describe your sound and what do you feel makes you stand out over the others in your genre?

Morgan Bracy (MB): Beyond genre description, I would say that my overall sound is one of vulnerability and honesty.  My goal in creating a song to share with people is that music should make them feel.  It may say something powerful.  It may tell an incredible story, but at the concrete bottom of it, if it doesn't make you feel something, I believe it hasn't done it's a job.   I've used Nashville as a home base for the last several years, and the writing tools I've learned apprenticing under great songwriters has proven invaluable to crafting a better, more communicative work.  It's a craft I always hope to continue learning.  

PEV: Raised in small town Tennessee, what kind of music where you into growing up? Was anyone your main influence?

MB:At home, I use to hear my Dad playing Alabama cassettes in the truck while we were driving through the mountains.  Kenny Rogers  and Willie Nelson were on the 8 track.  Mom listened to Lionel Ritchie records, John Denver, James Taylor, The Judds.  When I was young, I was only "allowed" to listen to Christian music like Amy Grant, Wayne Watson, etc. But eventually, I got away with buying Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Karyn White, Patty Griffin, Sixpense None the Richer, Tracy Chapman, Reba McEntire, Shawn Colvin, etc.

PEV: You’ve said, “Life’s not the picture that I read about when I was a kid.” Tell us why that is and how it affected your outlook on the music industry?

MB: As a kid, I thought processes would be so much simpler than they actually played out to be.  I think I was looking at the end result instead of the great big middle part of the story. It was a culture shock and an adjustment period when I realized, "Oh, I'm not just going to waltz in to Nashville and bowl everyone over by simply walking down Demonbreun. Oh, but the everyday is beautiful.  

The journey, the learning, the stretching and growing, the humility of blows, and the getting back up again. I've grown so much into my skin and have found that my own two feet are solid, and I can stand on them just fine.   The music industry is filled with all sorts of people.  I've meet amazing folks who I hope to know all my life, because they mean what they do and they really love music.  I think you find what you search for.  But the Business is there to help facilitate the creation and distribution of music.  It's not an end-all anymore, at least not the way we've come to know it.  The "Business" is the everyday work people like me do to see it through ourselves.

PEV: Do you remember the first time you thought to yourself – “I am really onto something!”?

MB: Yes.  That first time has come at different intervals in my life.  When I was 5, I knew this is what I wanted to do.  Full-heartedly.  I lived in that confidence until my senior year of high school.  I began to doubt my career path and considered nursing school.  I found my faith again my freshman year of college in music school. But moving to a city where so many talent giants live can take it's toll on your self-image and focus.  I've had my ups and my low downs where I've almost abandoned music.  But even down there, I could never tear myself away.  That's when this baseline thought came to me: Who cares if no one else gets it and if it's not commercial. I have to do it for me.  And I still believed there were people that I'd connect with if I did.

PEV: What can fans expect from a live Morgan Bracy show?

MB: They can expect all the silliness to get them in a better mood, and at the same time, they may cry cathartically.  I'm a pretty open person, not reserved and all, "I’m an artist, stand back." I love people, and meeting new and different folks.  I play for myself (because I want to) in the hopes that it will connect to the spirits of other folks and that we may share an experience and maybe I'll grow from getting to spend some time with them.

PEV: What is the first thing that comes to mind when you step on stage?

MB: Truthfully, my first thought is, "Just express Morgan.  You're not where you'll be tomorrow, but you're not where you were yesterday. You are right here today, and "here's" the only place you need to be right now."

PEV: You said, “When I went off to college (at Middle Tennessee State University), I realized there were invisible chains that were holding me back, and a ton of guilt that I shouldn’t have accepted.” What was it about MTSU that made you change your views?

MB: As much as I cling to my faith, I think some of the principles that were passed to me - whether intentionally or inadvertently - were of carrying guilt, not deserving success or great blessings, and expressing myself, but only in the confines of a small theological space (Like Mya Sharpes' "Red Dress" song).  I think part of what makes me grow deeper and be able to come to grips with where I am with God and myself and my spiritual growth is being completely honest about my feelings, experiences, and desires.  How can I grow if I'm hiding what I'm really thinking?  As a creative person (and I think we ALL are), you have to, have to grow. So, the platform at college was one of freedom to begin to explore and say what was really on my mind.

PEV: What was the underlining inspiration for your music? Where do get your best ideas for songs?

MB: That's a difficult question.  I find inspiration everywhere, and generally when I don't have a a laptop, a piece of paper or a recorder.  Being stuck in traffic, sitting in a workshop, and being completely exhausted are some of the most fertile grounds for inspiration.  It's like my creative brain says, "Hey, I'm free! There's no paper in front of me telling me I HAVE to write."  It's funny how brain's work. Listening to people's personal stories and applying my own emotion to it has been a big factor in my writing.

PEV: Tell us about your latest release, "End of Cinderella". What can fans expect from this work?

MB: This is a project that's been in the wings for a while now.  It's a concept album about fairytales going wrong and how that's not such a bad thing.  You think you want to go down this lovely gold-laden street instead of that muddy trail.  But you must go down the bumpy trail.  It wipes you out.  It gets you muddy and bruised, but then you discover these amazing treasures about yourself and the end result is much more beautiful.  This album is lush with orchestration, thanks to the wonderful John Merchant (Mika, Barbra Streisand, Celine Dion).  But it also has times of acoustic, raw, organic.  It's a journey album.

PEV: Do you ever find yourself getting writer’s block and if so, how do you get over that?

 

MB: YES!  It happens, oh it happens.  But as a writer, I must press on. Sometimes I'll change my environment, change the configuration of who I'm writing with, write alone,  or do stream-of-consciousness writing.  Anything to trigger the creative and deny the logical for a while.  

PEV: What’s one thing we’d be surprised to hear about Morgan Bracy?

MB: Hmm....good question. Well, my dad trained me to auction when I was 9. He use to teach me on the way to school.  Then, I'd go to auctions.  They'd stand me on a chair so people could actually see me, and I'd sell.  I grew up fishing, too. Love it. I was born on the Fourth of July.  Until I was about 10, I thought the firecrackers were all for me.

PEV: Was there a certain point in your life when you knew that music was going to be a career for you?

MB: When I was a kid, I wanted to be a singer, an actress, and a school teacher. I enjoyed lining my stuffed animals up along the wall, along with my little sister, and teaching them how to read.  But music has always been present.  I'd take poem books and sing them as a small child.  I began really writing my own thoughts down into song at 11.  I had faith that it'd be my career, part of my life's calling, since I was a small child.  Like I said, there've been times I've doubted, but under the doubt, there was still this knowing that music and I would have a life together.

PEV: What one word best describes Morgan Bracy?

MB: Wow.  You're a great interviewer.  That's a tough one.  I'd say transparent.

PEV: How is life on the road for you in the music world? Best and worst parts?

MB:   I'm loving it!! I have a family at home, so the worst part is being away from them, but we are working out ways to get them to come along.  Best parts: Showing up for a show that I'm uncertain what to expect, and there's a room full of happy people, waiting to spend time listening and enjoying.  I played a show in Arlington, VA, just like that a few weeks ago at a place called "In Concert for Jane." Amazing.

PEV: Is there one area you wish you could travel around and play that you have not yet?

MB: I'd love to head to Europe and submerge myself there.  Looks like that may be on the books for next summer!

PEV: How have all your friends and family reacted to your career? What’s it like when you get to play at your hometown?

MB: I'm playing my hometown for the first time in a long time next weekend, so we'll see!!  Friends and family are so supportive!  I think sometimes seeing a change in me may take a minute to adjust to (I mean a lyrics that says something a little shocking), but ultimately they stand beside me and love me and delve into the words.  

PEV: What can we find you doing in your spare time, aside from playing/writing music?

MB: Hanging out with my precious daughter and hubby, going to the park, planting, sipping sweet tea vodka, decorating.

PEV:  Is there an up and coming band or artist you think we should all be looking out for now?

MB: Yes! My wonderful friend Merry Ellen Kirk, whom I just finished a two week tour with.  And also a girl who we played a show with called Little Brave from New Braunsfel, TX.  Oh, and of course, Lovechild Zombie!

PEV: If you weren’t playing music now what do you think you would be doing as your career?

MB: I was the Director of Development for a non-profit called Special Kids, Inc. that serves children who have special needs and are medically fragile.  I'd probably still be working with them to see them serve more and more children. What an incredible organization.  I'd probably also be writing children's books.

PEV: So, what is next for Morgan Bracy?

MB: Right now, I am in beautiful Santa Ynez, CA, recording an EP for my new duo project Lovechild Zombie with Joel Jacks (www.lovehildombie.com). We are having a heck of a lot of fun, getting outside of the regular confines of song structure.  Our music is very emotional, gritty, sultry, silly and completely us.  We have a summer full of shows across the country, including many home concerts.  We plan on releasing this EP in June. I also found out that I scored the theme song for a new tv sitcom that should be out this Fall on the CW, so this summer we will be doing shows for that.  Fun stuff!

Your rating: None Average: 4 (3 votes)