Singer songwriter Scott Brantley is well known throughout his native Georgia. He was named the 2014 Traditional Artist of the Year by the Georgia Country Awards, the 2013 Male Artist of the Year by the Georgia Country Awards, and was the Georgia State Winner at the 2012 Texaco Country Showdown. In addition he was nominated for the 2015 Top Country Male for the Georgia Music Awards. Scott and his band The Big Cooler Crew have been the opening act for Miranda Lambert, Craig Morgan, and Jamey Johnson, among others. This past year, he was added to the artist roster at Studio Gold Nashville and is set to head into the studio to record new music. Brantley kindly took the time to talk about his musical journey, his sound and what's ahead.
Congratulations on recently signing with Studio Gold Nashville. Has music always been something that you wanted to pursue?
Music has always been in my life. My Dad comes from a family of fifteen and they all played and sang. My momma and her brother both played and sang as well and so did both grandparents on my dad’s side and my grandma on my mom’s. Family reunions were a lot of fun; there was a lot of pickin’ and grinnin’.
I got my very first drum set, a plastic one that I tore to pieces, at Christmas when I was three years old. Then at four years old, I graduated to a more realistic set and later moved onto the guitar. As a teenager my brother and I formed a gospel quartet where I played bass and he played guitar. We went around to churches for about four or five years, but I always listened to country music. I got my first electric guitar as my high school graduation present, but didn’t play it for a while. Then one day I got serious about it, started digging in, learning to play, listening to a lot of music, and writing songs. It was about ten years ago when I finally thought that music-something that is a passion- was something worth pursuing. Right now, I am a computer tech by day and a musician chasing this dream at night. A lot of people say those things don’t go together because one is a left brain thing and the other is a right brain thing, but it comes easy to me. Hopefully though, I can stop looking at these computer screens and start playing more guitar!
Seems you are well on your way. Prior to signing as an artist, you were signed to a publishing deal at Studio Gold. How did that come about?
One of my friends met Mike [Mouret, of Studio Gold] and let him hear some of my material. I was initially interested in recording a buddy’s song and was inquiring about that, but then Mike asked me about my songs and it snowballed into something more. I think it was in April that I signed a publishing deal and so far it has been going really well. I can work at my day job and play and write music, which is great.
Was signing as an artist something that happened as a natural progression?
We went into the studio and cut some demos and Mike asked me how passionate I was about being an artist. I told him that was my dream. It’s so cliché when people say that there is no better feeling than writing your own songs and hearing people sing it back to you, but it’s true. I have always had that desire and passion to be artist. As much as I love writing, being on stage is where it’s at for me. I went from having a publishing deal to being a signed artist and I am really excited about it!
So being a newly signed artist, are there plans for an EP or single?
The immediate goal is to fill out an album, maybe a six song ep, and push a single out to radio either in the fall or by the first of the year, but we haven’t discussed anything in detail yet. I just want to get some traction and get the ball rolling. It has always been my dream to get a song on radio and let the fans decide whether or not they like the music.
You write a lot of your own songs. Are you planning on recording your own material or would you record outside cuts for an album?
I would be open to anything that fit my style, but right now we are recording mostly my material in addition to one song that my buddy wrote. There are a lot of awesome songwriters in Nashville, the best of the best are up there, so any song that can make the album that much better, I’m open to it.
You mentioned you are open to anything that fits your style. Being that country music seems to be a wide open genre at this point, where is it that you fall?
That’s an interesting question. Country music seems to have elements of just about every other genre these days. I guess I’m just country-country, if that makes sense. I’m a traditional old soul with a fresh approach to country music and I think anyone who listens to my music will be able to hear that.
Are there any specific artists you admire or cite as influences on your sound?
I’ve always been a huge Merle Haggard fan as well as a fan of George Jones and George Strait. I’m also a huge fan of Vince Gill and Keith Whitley. We named our daughter Adriana, after Vince Gill’s song and we are expecting a son in December and are planning on naming him Whitley, and calling him Whit. Those guys are like Scott Brantley’s Mount Rushmore of country music (laughing). As for the more modern guys I like Easton Corbin, Chris Young, Mo Pitney and Dierks Bentley. They’re closely related to what I do.
The Big Cooler Crew is the name of your band. How did that come about?
I have a song called “My Cooler.” The idea of the song is that there’s this down on his luck country boy, he’s not doing too well, and his girlfriend left him, but he still has the biggest cooler (laughing). About a year and a half ago we decided to call the band that. It was a joke at first, but it kind of stuck. Merle Haggard had his Strangers and I have the Big Cooler Crew.
Sounds like it could be a fun bunch!
You have won numerous music related awards in Georgia. Is that where you primarily play?
Right now we are 99% in Georgia, but we have also played in Florida, the Carolinas, and Tennessee. A couple of guys in the band still work other jobs, so it’s hard to travel, but we’re hoping to do that more. I'm so excited to be a part of Studio Gold and to finally be releasing music. I’m stoked and looking forward to, hopefully, big things.
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