Published on November 13th, 2019 | by Guest Editor0
An In-Depth Interview with Country-Island Flavour Musician Brenda Cay!
Brenda Cay harkens you to the days of Jeannie Riely, June Carter Cash and Brenda Lee, It’s not your usual lick of Carrie Underwood and some of the recent ones showing up in the country Music Scene. Brenda’s voice is distinctive, it’s that classic country sound with an Americana Hook and even some Caribbean flavours hear and there. Brenda is a nice refreshing sound that will stand the test of musical time and evolve into the the classics that we all enjoy still listening to years down the road.
Make sure you stream her music via the link
From Brenda herself…I grew up on the eastern shore of Maryland and the water and the beach have always been a big part of my life. I have a bachelor’s degree in business with a concentration in accounting and I worked as a CPA for several years. I have always loved to write and about eight years ago, I decided to pursue a career as a songwriter, focusing mainly on Country music. In the spring of 2018, I decided to take it a step further and pursue a career as a recording artist while still writing with and for other artists. I began recording my debut EP, “Angler Management,” which released in January 2019. Two of the songs on the EP, “R & R Reggae & Rum” (written by Brenda Cay & Mitch Collins) and “Joe,” (written by Brenda Cay and Brian Brewer) were released as singles in the fall of 2018 before the EP and were well received. I was a 2019 nominee for a Josie award for song of the year for “Joe” in the Folk/Americana/Bluegrass category.
Now I am working on a full album and have released the first single from it (ahead of the album). With the release of that song, “Glass Slippers,” I also released my first music video. “Glass Slippers” was produced in Nashville by Kristin K. Smith, who also co-wrote the song. It was recorded in Nashville at Saxman Studios where major recording artist, Luke Combs, records his songs.
My songs are based on life experiences and infuse elements of country, rock, pop, and probably everything in between, and are designed to help the listener escape for a while. I like to have fun and many of my songs are mid to uptempo, but the new album will also deal with loss. In short, my listeners can get to know me by listening to my music.
What first got you into music?
Music has always been a part of my life, but I did take a little detour into the business world and pursued a career as a C.P.A., however, the responsible path isn’t nearly as fun, and my passion is writing. About eight years ago, I decided to combine my love for music and writing and now it has become who I am and I can’t imagine doing anything else.
Who inspired you to make music?
Everyone whose music I have listened to over the years that made me fall in love with their songs. I am also inspired all the time by the people that I am blessed to work with – the studio musicians, producers, my co-writers, and other artists.
How would you describe the music that you typically create?
The music I usually create is Country blended with other influences such as Rock, Pop, Americana, R&B, and even some island flavors.
What is your creative process like?
My creative process varies from song to song. I often start with a hook and write a story around it and the melody comes as I start developing the lyrics. Sometimes I write the chorus first and then the verses. Sometimes I just start brainstorming ideas, write everything down, and then go back and organize it. Once I think it’s finished, I play it a few times and then rewrite it. Then I ask some trusted colleagues to listen and rewrite as necessary.
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
If I could collaborate with anyone, I think it would be Garth Brooks meets Dolly Parton, Elton John, and Steven Tyler because combined they have high energy, story telling, vocal performance, and addictive melodies.
If you could go open a show for any artist who would it be?
I’m a fan of so many artists like Kenny Chesney, Mark Wills, and Thomas Rhett, but if I had to pick one, it would be Terri Clark. She is a woman that has been successful in an industry dominated by men. Her songwriting is relevant and she continues to perform as well as put herself out there as a radio personality. Many people have said that I remind them of her sound. When I’m writing songs, I often ask myself how would Terri sing this line.
What is one message you would give to your fans?
Everyone gets knocked down, but what matters is how quickly you get back up.
What is the most useless talent you have?
I’m pretty good at video games, but that doesn’t get me a new Gibson.
Do you sing in the shower? What songs?
I sing in the shower all the time. Usually I sing whatever is on the radio but sometimes I sing songs that I’m working on even while the radio is playing something completely different.
What would you be doing right now, if it wasn’t for your music career?
If it wasn’t for my music career, I’d love to be a quarterback for the New Orleans Saints, or a CIA operative.
Where have you performed? What are your favourite and least favourite venues? Do you have any upcoming shows?
I’ve performed around Chattanooga and Nashville in festivals, fundraisers, and house concerts and I really enjoyed all of them. I’m working on booking more venues with a goal of a national tour.
How do you feel the Internet has impacted the music business?
The internet has made it possible for artists to reach audiences they couldn’t reach before and connect with fans on a more personal level. Fans also now have a multitude of ways to access our music.
What is your favourite song to perform?
Audiences seem to really respond to my own songs like “Joe,” and veterans appreciate recognition of their service in “Another Beach.” Covers of hits like “Born To Fly” by Sara Evans, “Girl Crush” by Little Big Town, and “Some Of It” by Eric Church are always in demand.
Which famous musicians do you admire?
There are so many musicians I admire. In current country music, I’d have to say Keith Urban and Brad Paisley. Other musicians I admire are Joe Bonamassa, John Mayer, Lindsey Buckingham, and the late Jerry Reed to name a few.
What is the most trouble you’ve ever gotten into?
I grew up with three brothers and I did my fair share of trouble making, but I guess I was lucky enough not to get caught.
What is the best advice you’ve been given?
The best advice I’ve been given comes from the movie, Soul Surfer, about Bethany Hamilton. She is a surfer who lost an arm in a shark attack and went on to pursue a professional surfing career with one arm. In that movie, she said, “I don’t need easy, I just need possible.”
If you could change anything about the industry, what would it be?
Listeners benefit when songwriters and artists are encouraged to create. Most people don’t realize that songwriters earn pennies for their work while spending thousands of dollars to produce and distribute it and typically writing is a second job because they can’t pay their bills from their music earnings. Intellectual and royalty laws need to be revised to level the playing field and encourage creativity.
What’s next for you?
I am currently finishing up an album that will be released hopefully in January, and I’m working on getting a band together and trying to get more shows booked. I’ll be adding t-shirts to my online store any day now with more items to come.
How important is the current climate crisis to you and how do you think you could help?
I believe it is important to take care of our world and our natural resources. Everyone loves our beaches and our trails and I do my best to live a simpler life by cutting down on what I buy, use, and throw away, leaving a smaller carbon footprint.
Check her out on Instagram https://www.instagram.com/brendacaymusic/?hl=en