Interview: Brett Eldredge

lisa pikaard is country strong…

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Brett Eldredge’s sense of humor will amuse you, his sound will entice you, and his vocals will astound you.

Although there are many assumptions made about country music, the most often are that country songs are cliche and predictable (dogs, trucks, bad relationships, beer) and country singers have a twang that is hard to get past, this image is slowly changing. Brett Eldredge will help the evolution along with his heartfelt lyrics and powerful vocal ability that derives from raw talent and his study of some of the greatest vocalists of all time including Ray Charles.

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If Eldredge’s talent doesn’t win you over immediately, his personality will. He is undoubtably charismatic. His personality is evident through the many videos he posts on youtube of himself performing on his couch, in an elevator, anywhere he so chooses; these videos have already amassed nearly 2 million views from his many dedicated viewers. Eldredge’s humor and lightheartedness shines, but he is also, more importantly, endearingly dedicated to Alzheimer’s research. He recently visited New York City to perform at a benefit called For the Love of George, hosted by the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America. He feels personally connected to this cause and is doing all he can to demonstrate his support. If you would like more information about the cause or would like to donate, visit fortheloveofgeorge.org.

As far as up and coming artists go, and I’m not talking about only country artists, Brett Eldredge is at the top of my list of must hear musicians. His debut album will hopefully be released in the coming months but he already has three singles on iTunes and countless videos on youtube. Find them and give him a shot even if country music isn’t your thing. You won’t be disappointed.

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Pop-Break: So first and foremost, tell me a little bit about the For the Love of George benefit and how you got involved with it.

Brett Eldredge: My first song ever released was the song I wrote inspired by my grandmother who I probably lost about six months ago or so unfortunately.

PB: I’m so sorry!

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BE:But the song, I wrote when I found out she was getting in a tough place with her Alzheimer’s and I was just torn up by that. And so I found out about that and hearing that is just the worst thing in the world because that’s the lady who knew everything about you your whole life and it really affects you. I mean I always knew about Alzheimer’s but nothing, I didn’t really know much about it until someone in my family was directly affected by it. So, when I heard that, I had to find a way to deal with that and I went to write the song “Raymond,” and it just, from writing that song, it really opened up my eyes to a whole new world of how serious this illness is and how many people are affected. It helped me cope with my grandmother. Also, it helped me find ways to get out there and spread the word about it and get it out in the light and tell people that this is the real deal and we need to find a way to cope. I mean find a way to deal with this and try to crack this disease head on and any way that I can help bring that into the forefront, I will and anytime I can do any kind of benefit for that I will. This especially with AFA, I did the first For the Love of George in Nashville, or one of them. I can’t remember if it was the first one but it was the first one I was a part of. What better opportunity to come to New York, which is friggin awesome. To come to New York and play, for my first time in the city and for this cause, that is so special to me. I was like sign me up, whatever we’ve got to do, put it in the calendar, I’m in and I can’t wait.

PB: That’s awesome. Very cool, and now you have a new song out too right now? You have “Don’t Ya” out right?

BE:“Don’t Ya” just came out.

PB: That song is awesome!

BE: Yes! Everything is going great there. I’ve been traveling, promoting it all across the country and getting up, shoot this morning, I’m running on one hour of sleep right now from last night. We had a 3:30 am wake up call. We have several of those mornings and you get up and you hop on an airplane or hop in the car and ride from one city to the next city, the next station, and you just get up there and my favorite thing to do is to sing live and I want to have my opportunity to present myself and play music for people. Not only on the recordings but right in person because I can make my impression there. That’s what I got into music for. That’s why I started performing and songwriting. I always wanted to be a singer and I studied singers and so that’s what I feel my major strength was from the beginning. I just love to sing live and that’s what I’m doing now, promoting it. We played several shows with Miranda Lambert a few weeks ago then we got on Blake Shelton’s The Blake Shelton Cruise and went out there and played on that and now here I am and I just got back a couple days from that cruise and now I’m in New York!

PB: That’s crazy. Well I know that you did a couch session for “Don’t Ya” like months ago. What took so long to release it?

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BE: Yeah. Well, you know I did that, that was closer to when I had written it and so I went in and recorded that and then it kind of, with the record label I’m on, Atlantic Records, and we had the music altogether and they were like what’s the next song? And we really wanted to knock it out of the park and I got together with the head of the label and all the people, the A&R staff and all that, and they were like this song! This is the song. We’ve gotta get this song out there, and I credit them for really pushing it and get it out there and glad to have it out and it’s doing well and just trying to get out there and have as many people hear it as possible.

PB: Speaking of couch sessions, I mean you do a lot a lot of stuff on all the social media sites like youtube and twitter and stuff, by the way do you know that your videos on youtube have amassed more than 1,837,000 hits?

BE: I did not know that! I like to be out there but sometimes if I want time to myself I’ll just go on my couch, turn on the DVR and watch my favorite shows or grab my guitar and sit there and play around and play just a bunch of chords on the guitar and sing along and stuff. I was like, well if I’m doing this, why don’t I start recording this on the couch? And thats how the couch sessions came about. You know youtube and twitter, it’s all so cool because I love the transition from twitter to tweeting to people at the shows and having to know people by their twitter names sometimes but it’s cool because I can stay in contact with them all the time and they can always be following and say what they liked about that song and everything it’s just, it gives you a reason to wake up every day at 3:30 am and you go play at the mixer and it makes all the journey worth it. Everybody has got your back the whole time and it’s like someone’s awake with me when I get on that airplane at 4 o’clock or you know whenever. It’s just like someone is right there along for the ride and I love that. Social media is awesome.

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PB: I see all your interaction with everybody so it’s really cool that you do that so points to you for that.

BE: Well I’m just there everyday. It’s so cool. I love it.

PB: My next question is this: see I’ve been patiently waiting since I saw you at CMA Fest 2011 for you to release a CD! When is that going to happen?

BE: [Laughter] That’s the golden question. I don’t know exactly but I do know that the last word I heard, now that I have this new song out, that’s going to help the process along, that it should be like the first couple of months of next year.

PB: Oh good! I hope so.

BE: I don’t have a specific date but the album is pretty much, well I have recorded a ton of songs and we have what we’re doing in the process now. To pick the songs, that part is like when you’re narrowing down, it’s like kicking out close friends and keeping which ones. We created these songs from nothing and now you’ve got to choose which ones and all that and some will go on the next record. It’s just a fun process but it’s also, as an artist you’ve got favorite ones and the label has favorite ones and the band has their favorites but I love it. I love doing that and I’ll probably be writing a song in a little bit here in my hotel room.

PB: Nice. Well this is another question, for the songs that you’ve released so far, are you anticipating putting them on an album like “Raymond,” or “It Ain’t Gotta Be Love,” or anything like that?

BE:Yeah I don’t know the answer to all that. I’m sure “Raymond” will be on there and I don’t know how they are going to do that yet. I know that we will be picking that stuff out in the next couple months. That’s a question I don’t even know the answer to yet!

PB: Sorry!

BE:Like I said, we recorded like 20 something, I mean we recorded a lot of songs and now is the fun part of picking it all. Yeah, I’m sure that there’s definitely a good shot of those being on there but I don’t know yet!

PB: Cool.

Photos By Denise Truscello Nov 29 2010

BE: I know “Don’t Ya” will be on there!

PB: Good! Well I know you’ve been touring a lot. You haven’t been up here! So what’s the deal with that? Why are you avoiding the northeast up here?

BE:Hey! I love the northeast! Somehow it’s been, I mean we’ve been to a lot of other places but now I’m like wow! I finally get to come up here and do this and hopefully I will start the trend of being up here more often because I love it up here.

PB: I hope so!

BE: And I mean, like I’ve never played, I mean I played a thing with the Alzheimer’s Foundation, a telethon with Al Roker and some other celebrities that got together for that but I only played like two songs. I played “Raymond,” and so this time I actually get to do a full show. We get to rock out. I get to do my thing and my style on stage is very much high energy, kind of like the kind of person I am but this very much, interacting with everybody, my job. When those people walk in, whoever it is, whether it’s my mom or somebody I’ve never met, whoever! Because I’m always having to entertain my mom. She’s been there since the beginning so she’s always going to be there, even if I do bad. But anyway, whoever walks in, my job is when they walk in that door, they forget about anything on the outside and it’s my job to make them forget all that and just have an absolute blast from the minute they walk in until the minute they leave and hopefully they’re still singing that song by the time they leave and the next day, you know? So that’s cool and that’s what I plan on doing when I play and hopefully every time I play.