“This Heart’s For Dreamers”. An Interview With Reagan Browne

Reagan-Browne

We discuss today with Reagan Browne. Reagan has taken his passion for music and made it into a career. However, being a truly gifted singer/songwriter isn’t the only skillset that Browne possesses. The Texas-native has also turned his love of film into a budding acting career. It is music, however, that is Browne’s first love. The singer has spent a lifetime honing his craft as a guitar player and singer. Browne has a new EP coming out on June 16

Reagan, you have an all-new EP coming out on June 16. Listen on Spotify  or Listen on Apple Music. Please tell us about the new EP.

I moved to Nashville in March 2020 from Las Vegas, and unfortunately, it was the exact same day that a tornado wiped out half the city. That, as you could imagine, really set the city back a while, and then COVID hit full-blown about a month later, and everything was shut down for months on end. It was a very strange time to move to a new place that I couldn’t explore or do anything in, so I hunkered down and just started writing a bunch of songs. I had a really nice motorcycle that I sold, and so I went out and bought a bunch of recording equipment for my home studio, like microphones, amplifiers, guitars, etc., to help me along the way to get my ideas down. Next thing you know, I’ve got enough material that I thought was good enough to make an album.

What was the inspiration behind the new EP?

To explore my new sound and ideas that I wanted everyone to hear. I really feel that I’ve found the music that I’m writing and recording to be the most natural and organic that I’ve ever done. They all came very easily to me, basically, but the difference with the new songs is that I didn’t have any niche for what I was trying to go for. Like in the past, I would try to write a rock song, a pop song, etc. These just came out with no filter, and they all ended up being Americana, Southern Rock, or acoustic. It seems to fit my voice the best, and the music perfectly complements it as well. For me as an artist and songwriter, I just want to do music that is a perfect marriage of my creativity and the sounds that come out of me the easiest.

What was the writing process like for the new songs?

It came very easily, actually. The first song that got the ball rolling for me was even before I got to Nashville. It was while I was driving out to Nashville from the West Coast in my car going from little town to little town, and I started thinking how these little places make up our country, but you never really hear about them because we only know about the big cities like Dallas, L.A., etc. I was reflecting on my life and how I had spent so much of it in Los Angeles doing the hustle and bustle that there’s such a simplistic beauty to being in and growing up in a small town. In a lot of ways, there’s actually more to offer than the metropolitan cities, and it’s an easier place to thrive and be happy. We all need to get back to that from time to time, so the song “Little Town America” was the inspiration that came from that. I wrote about other things that are always on my mind, like keeping your goals and dreams alive, trying to stay positive, putting in the hard work, and always trying to be there for your loved ones, like in “I’ll Drive, and I even wrote a song about my love affair with the Beatles called “Get Back Sadie.” It’s about a couple that is fighting and going through a rough patch, and the thing that gets them back on track is their mutual love for their favorite band. The Beatles.

I'll Drive - Reagan Browne

How long did it take to write and record the new EP?

I would say about 6–8 months. I’m the type of songwriter who only writes and records songs if I think there’s something there. I’ve said it in the past, but if I can’t sing a memorable melody over the music, then I don’t have a song. Luckily, I had a bunch of those that I was able to record and get down. I met Keb Mo’s producer and engineer (Zach Allen) out here in Nashville through a mutual friend, got to sit in on one of his sessions, and liked the way he worked. I thought he would do a great job of capturing the sound I was going for, and he did. I had some of the best session players in the world play on my new album, from Bob Seger’s guitarist to the Wallflowers drummer, and they were able to knock all the songs out in a day or two. My vocals, all in all, took about a week.

Did you make a point to focus on something specific for the new songs? Was there an emphasis on choruses, verses, or writing impactful lyrics?

I wrote about what inspired me at that specific time, but like I said before, dreams seem to always be inspiring to me, and I am not giving up on them. When you’re an artist trying to make it in an impossible industry, you tend to think about those things a lot. There’s always an emphasis on choruses with me! They have to be catchy and hooky to draw you in and make you want to sing along with them, like in the old days. I feel that’s sorely missing in today’s music.

Will you be touring and playing shows throughout the rest of the year following the new EP’s release?

Yes, that’s the plan! I’ll be doing shows around Nashville, of course, but I really want to do a big tour through my home state of Texas, possibly with another Texas artist as well. Those are the immediate goals for now, but I’d like to tour wherever they’ll have me.

What was the impact the COVID-19 pandemic had on your music career?

It was incredibly tough and crippling. Sadly, a lot of musicians had to sell off things to survive or get creative and do things online like live streams and lessons. I had all these plans and goals to go meet industry people at the record labels and publishers. I live in Music Row in Nashville, and it was a ghost town here for about a year! It’s still recovering, it seems. The only silver lining that came out of COVID was that I wrote all those songs during it because I had nothing else going on.

Was it easy to return to music following the pandemic to play shows and tour?

No, it wasn’t, unfortunately. It’s been a slow process. For a lot of bands and artists, things would get booked, then get cancelled because of another COVID outbreak or because one of the musicians got sick. I’m glad to say that I’ll be doing my first show around town in late June or early July, so check in at www.reaganbrowne.com for all the show details.

A few years ago, you were a part of the cast for Vegas Gone Country. Tell us about that experience.

It was pretty wild because I fell into it through dumb luck. It’s something I had never even thought about doing, which was to sing and perform as the famous character Ronnie Dunn from Brooks and Dunn. So I had to learn the way he sang, dress like him, move like him on stage, and obviously learn a bunch of his songs. It honestly made me a better singer coming from rock because I developed more dynamics and nuances in my voice that seemed to give it more color than just wailing over loud guitars. It was a rewarding experience, but I learned really fast that it wasn’t for me. I always wanted to go out on my own and do my own thing. Sing and write original material. That’s why I left Las Vegas and made the journey out to Nashville.

What are the challenges you face in the country music industry today? Is there a challenge due to the lack of royalties paid by streaming platforms, the cost of touring, or something else?

All of the above. Really, I think the hardest thing for me personally is not fitting into their niche of what they think music is that will appeal to a lot of people. Nashville is a place that really likes to play it safe, so if you sound like something that doesn’t fit their mold or formula or you venture one pinky toe off the path, they don’t really give you the time of day. I don’t sound like all the modern country guys like Luke Bryan and Luke Combs. I sound like Reagan Browne. Sadly, they want a million cookie-cutter versions of the Luke guys. It’s become very stale here until someone comes along and changes that. I’m working on it, so stay tuned.
Reagan-Browne-singer

Anything else you’d like to add?

Just to say thanks for giving me a chance and sticking with me through my career. There are a lot of options for music to listen to at this point, so if you’re listening to mine, I’m honored. You’re going to love the new music, so do the artist a favor and spread the word about us as much as you can, because word of mouth is still king. Look me up on social media as well; I always have time for my fans.

To know more about Reagan Browne please visit http://www.reaganbrowne.com

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