Photo Credit: Heather Carpenter
The beautiful thing about music in the 21st century is that we’ve gotten around to broadening what it means to be in this genre or that. Emo is no longer white men with swooped bangs, nor is Country just a cascade of men who look like Luke Bryan. For years women like Dolly Parton, Shania, and now Kacey Musgraves have given women a stance in the genre – but in recent years we’ve seen the genre slowly inch towards even more inclusion with the LGBTQ artists like Ty Herndon, and artists of color like Darius Rucker, Ashleigh Brae, and Brei Carter.
Carter went as far as to highlight as much with her debut album, ‘Brand New Country.’ She explained to us what that meant, as well as got into her 2023 releases; a cover of “For The Good Times” out on April 14th, and her new original single, “Straight Up Country Crazy” slated for June. All of that and more awaits…
Kendra: You’re a highly educated veteran who could’ve gone down a very different path with your business degrees, so what made you pack a bag and move to Nashville to pursue music?
Brei Carter: That’s a great question, but it seems like I’ve lived so many lives with this one life. I think I just did some soul-searching and evaluated my life and realized that my passion has always been music. We can do anything we want in life, but our days are numbered whether we like it or not, so I figured I better follow the path that God was leading me on to find the fulfillment I always wanted.
Kendra: Music seems to come naturally to you though. On your debut album, ‘Brand New Country,’ you have writing credits on a majority of the record. You know, I think that many can sing but it’s a whole other level to be able to write what you sing. So when did you realize you had a knack for songwriting?
Brei Carter: I’ve always been a writer. I believe God gave me that gift also. I used to write songs, poems, and short stories about God and life. Writing really relaxes me, also.
Kendra: ‘Brand New Country’ can mean so much to so many. For you, what were you trying to say and establish about yourself with that debut LP?
Brei Carter: ‘Brand New Country’ was meant to let people know that if they’d open up their eyes, ears, and hearts, they’d realize that country means so much to so many people and it looks different for many of us. Just my perspective about growing up and life now.
Kendra: We talked about your songwriting but I think to be a writer of any kind, you have to have an appreciation for the art form as a whole and you do. You’re able to recognize others’ work as grand, and in April are releasing a cover of a song you fully appreciate, “For The Good Times.” Do you remember the first time you heard that song and how it made you feel at that moment?
Brei Carter: I used to hear it all the time as a child, but when I first heard the song it was Al Green’s version. I later heard it by country singer Ray Price. It’s a heartfelt song that makes you take a step and realize that unfortunately life doesn’t always last or go the way you want it to. Makes me realize that I shouldn’t take anyone or anything for granted.
Kendra: That April single is more on the softer side. Then not too long after you have plans to crank up the volume with “Straight Up Country Crazy.” Are you someone that likes to have that level of balance in what you put out into the world?
Brei Carter: Honestly I really love those feel-good types of songs. The ones that make you happy and excited and like there aren’t any cares in the world. The reality is that I have to learn the balance of vulnerability and going to places and feelings that I’d like to forget, but it shows that I’m human too.
Kendra: Time for a side note – So Easter is my favorite holiday. Don’t ask me what the holiday is actually about because it’s only my favorite. After all, I love Spring and the candy is top-notch. With that, if you were to receive an Easter basket, what sweet treat and album on vinyl would you hope was in said basket?
Brei Carter: Haha, I love Easter also. I’d probably love some SweeTarts, something tart and tangy, some coconut marshmallow Easter bunnies, and whoever gave me the basket I’d honestly like it to be their favorite vinyl because it would be even more special because it was something meaningful to them. I’d appreciate that more. I think the connection would be that much greater and I could possibly learn something that I didn’t know or hear something new or old that I’d live just as much.
Kendra: Lastly, with “For The Good Times” out on April 14th, and “Straight Up Country Crazy” due out in June, what else can people expect as we continue into Spring and soon into Summer?
Brei Carter: Wow, time flies I just say. April seems to be here. I’d say another album, or EP is definitely coming out. I’m in the studio now working on new music, new music videos, and hopefully a lot more performances.