The Beat ‘n’ Track plays on this month with senior Logan Brill. Although a native of Knoxville, Tenn., Brill might tell you her experiences at Belmont and in Nashville have been “très bon.” A French major and music minor, Brill’s style rounds out the country music vibe of Nashville with her own infusion of blues, jazz, and R&B.
Belmont Vision: Tell me a little bit about yourself.
Logan Brill: I grew up in Knoxville, but I also have taken trips back and forth to Nashville my entire life. I really liked Nashville and I started getting into music when I was young.
BV: And some of your musical influences from your parents’ era?
LB: I love Bonnie Raitt, Patty Griffin, Jackson Browne is one of my all-time favorite writers of his day and of this day too. I love B.B. King and Eartha Kitt, I could name so many people.
BV: So how do those influences fit into your style of music?
LB: Like I said, I started out doing blues and really love blues, jazz and R&B, so I did that for a little while. When I came to Nashville, I was influenced by the country and folk music scenes. So I would say I have a sort of folk/Americana sound with influences of blues and R&B.
BV: So why did you decide to major in French?
LB: My grandpa actually used to live in France and when I was 14 years old, I got to go over there for a month with my family. I just love the language and I think part of it, honestly, is because French is such a musical language, that it just really clicks with me. I think it’s beautiful. I liked speaking it over there and started taking it in high school over here. I’ve studied it for about six or seven years now.
BV: What’s one thing that really surprised you about the reality of pursuing music as a career?
LB: I know people told me this a lot, but I had never actually experienced it before. Networking is the most important thing. I go out after I’m done with class to shows and go to events where I can meet people and shake hands, learn names and make small talk. It’s building those relationships so that when you do need help from someone, you have a personal relationship with them. Real work starts after 5 p.m. and ends at 2 a.m.
BV: Tell me about your partnership with Carnival Music.
LB: I actually found out about Carnival Music through my roommate. She was an intern with them. One day, one of the guys that work there told her they were looking for a female vocalist and if she knew anyone cool that they could listen to. She passed on to them a couple songs I had done on my EP, and I met with them for a few months just getting to know them. I did some writing sessions and it just fit. I love everybody there and it’s a good vibe. I signed a publishing deal with them about a year ago. I go in two or three times a week while I’m still in school and do writing sessions for them. Hopefully I will be able to do more once I graduate. They have also helped me get off the ground with management and booking shows.
BV: What is your favorite venue to perform at?
LB: Probably the Bijou Theater in Knoxville. It’s right in downtown Knoxville, and growing up, I saw so many shows there. It’s a really old theater with a lot of history. I got to play there a couple of months ago for the first time. It was a really big thrill for me because I have seen so many shows there.
BV: So how do you plan on incorporating your degree in French into your musical ambitions?
LB: I’ve tried to write songs in French, it hasn’t quite happened yet. I tell my parents as a joke, ‘I’ll probably sing in French every once in a while just to make you guys feel better as we start to pay off my student loans for this big four-year degree in French I am getting.’ That sounds bad, but I really chose French because I enjoy it so much and if anything, hopefully everything goes well enough to where I can have a career in it. But if not, I may have to go back to school and try something else.
BV: What’s next for you?
LB: I hope to keep progressing, writing more. With more free time, I will be able to hopefully write three or four times a week and do more shows, going out farther for longer periods of time because right now I am kind of constrained to just Friday and Saturday shows.
BV: Where do you play on those weekend shows?
LB: I really don’t play in Nashville a lot. Mainly we have been playing around the Southeast, all the way from St. Louis, Miss. to Columbia, S.C., to Birmingham, Ala. to Lexington, Ky. Carnival has been really good about helping me book these shows. I’m just trying to get as many opening gigs as I can now with different bands around the Southeast. It’s fun playing outside of Nashville to build a bigger fan base and it’s easy enough to drive if it’s within seven of eight hours. I would love to play in Austin, Texas. I’m actually getting to play there in May, which is pretty awesome. It is like the sister city of Nashville. It is a really cool place.
BV: What are some of your long-term goals?
LB: I want to make a couple records that I’m really happy with and hopefully make enough money that I can support myself. I don’t care about making boatloads of money or anything at all, but making enough that I can just keep doing what I’m doing.