Tell us about how you chose your career/business and what your responsibilities include?
I spent the majority of my childhood and teen years competing as a junior equestrian and training intensely. While I treasured the bond I shared with horses, artistic expression was something I sought out constantly, whether it was drawing, writing stories and poems, or singing. I wrote my first song when I was five, coming up with the lyrics and melody and singing it over and over again to my pony as I cantered around. Horses were my main audience for many years, as I was too shy to sing in front of anyone else. By 19, I’d developed a whole slew of back problems and had to quit riding to preserve my physical well-being. Shortly thereafter, I was befriended by a music producer, Joel Simmons, and after learning of my writing abilities, he coaxed me far enough out of my shell to get me to start singing and recording. I’ve written close to one thousand songs since then, constructing melodies based on the emotion of the lyrics and how I feel about the subject matter. I didn’t really choose music as a career; music chose me. If I don’t write or sing or play for even a day, I feel restless and incomplete.
Tell us about the company you work for or own?
As an artist, I am my own business. Ironically, as an artist, being my own business does not come naturally. I want to hole up and create all day everyday and leave the number-crunching to the Suits. It is crucial for artists to know their business, however, so that they do not get taken advantage of. The music business is a fallen empire, which is bad news for the giants and good news for the little guys. As artists and bands, we can cut out the middle man and access distributors and venues and fans directly and maintain more creative and business control. It’s a lot of research and work and communication on top of creating the art itself, but new, innovative opportunities are rising from the ashes of the industry constantly, and it’s my job to stay informed.
What are some of the most fulfilling projects you have been involved with so far?
I recently released my first full-length record, entitled Return To Me. I worked with Daniel Dempsey and Dominic Massaro, two incredible multi-instrumentalists who co-produced the album. I set out to tell a story in hopes that it would have an emotional impact on listeners, that people would relate to or identify with some of the lyrics or simply vibe with the melodies and instrumentation. That album started as a mere idea, so to look back at the process as a whole now that it’s finished and released is surreal and gratifying.
Beyond making music, I volunteer at a battered women’s shelter and would ultimately like to do benefit concerts where the proceeds go towards helping victims of rape or domestic abuse.
Are there any people in your field you would like to meet and/or work with and have not yet had the opportunity?
I would love to work with Thom Yorke of Radiohead in some capacity. I admire that he continues to grow and innovate instead of sticking with the first sound or feel that initially garnered fans, as so many bands and artists tend to do. He seems like he challenges himself and pushes his own boundaries. Beth Gibbons of Portishead is another person I’d love to meet and/or work with. The emotion she brings to her singing is so palpable and intimate.
What are some of your favorite ways to network?
Again, being an artist, business and networking are so counterintuitive to my personality, and blatant self-promotion can be off-putting. Merely getting out of the house and meeting people while supporting a friend’s show or event always leads to exchanges of information in a more natural, enjoyable context. Amidst the lightning-speed rate at which the technological takeover continues to evolve, I still believe that nothing beats the lasting impression of face-to-face interaction.
Do you have a mentor – if so how did you choose one another? If not, is this something you think would benefit your career and is there anyone you would like to have as a mentor?
Ian Webber, a musician friend, referred me to Daniel Dempsey for recording and producing, and Dominic Massaro joined the production team via Daniel. They’re not technically mentors, but I have learned a great deal from them as musicians and admire both of them as people. Dominic always tells me what I need to hear at the exact moment I need to hear it. As an artist himself, he creates according to his own whims, never paying heed or bending to what’s “in” at any given moment. He and Daniel have both encouraged me from Day One, simultaneously nurturing my creative process while also pushing me to keep striving for my own personal best.
What have you learned from your mentor? What do you hope to learn?
I’ve learned that it’s important to trust my own instincts, that everyone has an opinion and it’s impossible to please everybody. I hope to learn how to apply this knowledge on a consistent basis!
What’s been the most surprising thing that has happened to you so far in your career?
The most surprising thing is that I feel successful just by virtue of the fact that I am doing what I set out to do: make music, and by any means necessary. It’s what I’ve wanted to do since I was a little girl, and in a world where so many people get thrown off course or do not have the freedom to pursue their dreams to the fullest extent, I feel surprised every day that I am fortunate enough to be doing what I love.
What do you do for fun/relaxation?
For fun/relaxation I write, play music, get together with close friends and family for food and laughs…I’m pretty mellow.
Any parting advice for someone who would like to follow in your footsteps?
Only be an artist/writer/musician if there is literally nothing else in the world that you can picture yourself happily doing. There is no guarantee that you will ever make a living on this path; however, if this is what you want to do for the rest of your life, with or without the promise of financial pay-off, devote yourself to it whole-heartedly. Create and then create some more. Play and then play some more. It’s a marathon, not a sprint, and unless you have aspirations to be a manufactured pop-star, don’t be in a hurry. Take your time, take baby-steps towards the larger goal. Build a grass roots following of people who can’t get enough of your music, who love and appreciate your own unique way of expressing yourself. Do what you love, maintain artistic integrity, and maybe, the money will follow. If not, at least your soul will feel rich.
What’s the best way for our readers to connect with you?
Britt was kind enough to share one of her songs with our readers for FREE. You can download Hello Old Friend here: http://brittwarner.bandcamp.com/track/hello-old-friend. Be sure to check out her album while you are there!