Curtis Braly says music is in his blood. He was born into a family where the love of music was an integral part of his life. His first exposure to performing was singing with his mother in the church choir which led to his first solo performance at the ripe old age of five. From there, he worked at a radio station, moved to Nashville to chase his dreams and then relocated back to his native Texas. Over the last year and a half things have progressed quickly for the singer who took the time to speak about his roots, his new EP and more.
You performed in a talent show in 8th grade, where you won first place, was that when you realized that you wanted to pursue music professionally?
I always toyed with the idea. I loved music and it was a hobby; I was in the church choir and played at parties for fun, but it definitely hit me like a brick wall during the eighth grade talent show. I knew immediately that I had an addiction to performing. That was the turning point where I started to figure out how I could pursue music.
You sang in the church choir, but was country music always what you gravitated to?
Always. I personally enjoy listening to the country music of the late 80’s and mid 90’s when the genre was strong for story-telling. I’d listen to that more than any other genre; it was the music that made the hair on my arm stand up or give me goose bumps. It was music that would bring out feelings and emotions; music that really touched me. Music was always huge in our house growing up. From a young age I had a love for the older artists, but there are still artists of today that I enjoy listening to as well.
Is there any one artist is that you consider a personal Influence?
I don’t think there is any one artist who has had a particular influence on my sound. I have always tried to be myself, but that being said there are those artists who have styles that I have enjoyed. Reba was always a big one for me. She is very good at bringing her music to life in her live shows. She would play out the story on stage using actors and props, which you didn’t typically see in live setting. That’s something that I want to do as my career progresses—to put on a show where people not only listen but are drawn in visually. Every time I plan a new show I think about what Reba would do. She’s a big inspiration for the kind of things I want to bring into my live shows-things you don’t see these days especially from male vocalists. I also admire Garth Brooks and Clay Walker for their high energy shows; they make everyone in the audience sing along and feel important. Chase Bryant, one of my favorite new artists, has a great stage presence and a great energy. He doesn’t just stand behind the mic, he moves around and tries to engage the audience. I try and accomplish those things in my show today.
Before you focused on singing and performing, you worked at a radio station which led you to move to Nashville.
I worked at a major market in Houston in the promotions department. I took the job to get insight as to how the industry operated. I work there for three years and in the midst of that I had recorded a demo and the PD let me play it for him. He knew someone that he thought could be helpful to me and got me in touch with Randy Boudreaux and I went to Nashville to work on the demo with him. I went to Nashville for the first time and for someone who was dreaming of that--it’s like someone wanting to go to Broadway after being in NYC the first time--I was hooked. I sold everything except my car and all that could fit inside of it and went to Nashville. I lived there for a couple years when I realized that I bit off more than I could chew. I was twenty-one at the time, didn’t have a job when I arrived and found that it was a competition, like being a needle in haystack.
What then ultimately brought you back to Texas?
I had a band in Nashville and we would play quite often in the Tennessee area. We were asked to come to Houston to put on a benefit for a battered women and children’s foundation. We did the benefit and all of my family and friends, people I hadn’t seen in some time, came out and the home sickness set in, so I moved back. Randy gave me some advice that I didn’t have to be in Nashville in order to continue to hone my craft and pursue a career, I could do it in Texas like a lot of great artists have done. So that’s what I did. After two to three years back in Texas, I burned out and stopped doing music, but that would last for about six months and I would come crawling back. It’s one of those things that’s in my blood. I can’t shake it.
Do you think that returning to Texas has been helpful career-wise?
I think over the last year and a half I have come so much further than I ever have in the fifteen years of pursuing this. I am working on a regular basis, have two singles (“Doors Closing” and “Living on Sunshine”) that are getting good feedback and was recently endorsed by a vodka company, which is a dream for a young artist. That has helped me tremendously.
I signed with Studio Gold Nashville in August of last year. I am one of three artists on their roster. I also am with PLA Media as my publicity firm and I am managed by the Briley Media Group. I have a team that helps me which is why over the course of a year and a half things have progressed in the way they have. It would be complete overload if I tried to do this all on my own. I am very lucky.
Congratulations on the endorsement.
Your current single is “Living On Sunshine” is one of the songs on your latest EP. Did you write the six tracks on the album?
I did not write any of the songs on this EP. A lot of them were written by writers who also have a publishing deal with my label. Mary Francis, who is a seasoned writer who has written quite a few hits, is one of the main writers on the EP.
For this EP, I listened to at least 750 songs and tried to pick the six we recorded over course of four to six months. I did what most listeners do, listen a lot in a car, to see what really hit me and what would tell a great story that you could really see play out when you listened.
Is there a particular song on the EP that means the most to you?
My favorite is the ballad “Anywhere With You,” which tells an amazing story that so many people can relate to at some point in their life. I love singing ballads; in fact when I put a show together my band is always saying how I need to put more fast songs in the set, but I love singing those types of songs!
As for your live show, do you play mostly in Texas?
I play in Texas and travel out of state. Lately we have been focusing on the South/Southeast region. I am hoping to get to the Northeast in the spring. I have had a lot of luck in the Northeast with country radio and would like to get up there, visit and thank people for playing my music. I also want to meet the listeners who like my music and help keep it on their station.
The title of the EP is All About The Ride. Why did you chose to title it that?
Naming an album is such a big decision because it’s like naming a movie--if you name it wrong people won’t want to see it or even watch the trailer if the name doesn’t grab them. I called the album that because so many amazing things have happened over the past year and a half. The lyrics in the song talk about rolling with the things that happen in life because at the end of the day, life is too short to worry about stress and negativity. That makes so much sense to me because even though there is stress and negativity in life, wonderful things can happen and dreams can come true.
That makes a lot of sense.
So, what are your plans for say, the rest of the summer?
We are in the final rehearsals for the new show and tour, the “All About the Ride Concert Series.” We are going to headline shows and have special guests at every show. We are taking it to a new level; it’s the biggest choreography, lighting, graphics and set design we have ever done. We kick things off in Houston on August 8th [the show will be a benefit concert for the Lone Survivor Foundation, http://lonesurvivorfoundation.org] and I’m super pumped about that. The next three months I plan on getting out, performing and meeting as many people as much as possible. After that, I will probably start listening to music again because a year from now we’ll be back in the studio.
Finally, is there anything that you want to add?
I am very active on social media and do all of my social media stuff myself. I know artists have people help them with that, but I myself am on it personally all the time and I try to respond to everyone as much as possible. So I encourage people to reach out to me with comments, thoughts or whatever and I will get back to them and respond to them.
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