Last year, Independent Clauses shared about Brianna Gaither’s music, saying: “Piano-led singer/songwriter fare rarely sounds this confident, powerful or memorable.” Her latest album Vanity was also recognized by the UTR Critics Panel as one of the Top 11 Gourmet Albums of 2017. We had a chance recently to interview Brianna about her music and some exciting things she is doing in conjunction with that.
UTR: What kind of role did music play in your home growing up?
BRIANNA: Music played a huge role in my household growing up — my family was always singing and playing music together. We had a rule in our house that my brother and I each had to learn an instrument. I started taking piano lessons at age five but vehemently hated to practice (and rarely did). That being said, I didn’t make it far as a classical pianist, but once I became serious about songwriting in my mid-teens, I was extremely happy that I’d been forced to learn.
UTR: When did you decide you were going to make music as a vocation?
BRIANNA: When I was 16 years old, my mom passed away from cancer. I threw myself into music as a way of coping. I began performing my music for the first time about two months later. Even at that point, I thought a career in music seemed impractical, but the more I did it, the more I did not want to do anything else. I experienced a turning point my sophomore year of college when I finally gave myself permission to be impractical and pursue the career I wanted to pursue.
UTR: Your 2017 album Vanity was one of the best (and most ambitious) albums of the year. What was your vision behind it?
BRIANNA: Vanity was ambitious indeed; I think of this album as “my grand experiment.” For this project, I chose to record 10 songs in 10 months with 10 different producers (a.k.a The 10-10-10 Project). In essence, it is an album of 10 singles. To explain my reasoning behind this method, I’ll give you some backstory: Active artists generally release an album every 1-2 years. Typically, all the songs are written in relatively the same space in relatively the same season of life. My songs on Vanity were written over a period of 6 years, from 2011-2016. I lived in different places throughout the course of that time; I experienced different relationships and life situations. Since the music that resulted contained such diverse content, I began toying with the idea of recording the songs in different spaces, in different cities, and in collaboration with different creative minds. I theorized a recording process that would be artistically representative of each song’s autonomy and individuality. That’s when the 10-10-10 idea arose.
UTR: What is the Resonate Campaign, and why did you start it?
BRIANNA: Resonate Campaign is a community that connects and equips believing artists to thrive in their creative callings. It began from a place of feeling disconnected myself. As an artist who primarily found myself performing in bars and small venues, loving Jesus but not writing Christian contemporary music, I didn’t really know where I fit in. I was feeling a lot of isolation, comparison with other artists, and I wasn’t seeing many ministries reaching out to my demographic or speaking to my struggles and questions. So I began campaigning to gather people together who felt the same way I did, while researching what the Bible has to say about creativity. From there, God has done more with Resonate than I could have ever imagined.
UTR: What are some of the services that Resonate offers? What do you hope is the results for participants?
BRIANNA: Under the umbrella of Resonate, I and our leadership team have created a full-length documentary on the theology of creativity, we host an online community called Resonate: Plus, and we offer a 13-week creativity school called Resonate: Activate. We’ve also created a free scripture reading plan that can be accessed on YouVersion Bible App. All of these resources can be found at www.ResonateCampaign.com. The heart behind everything we do at Resonate is to push back the darkness of isolation and comparison in the creative sphere, and to foster a community of people that long to know the Lord more fully, to grow in the excellence of their craft, and to build each other up in love. That is my hope for each participant.
UTR: Who is Resonate for and how can someone get plugged in?
BRIANNA: I say that Resonate is for “believing artists,” but our definition for that term is extremely broad. We believe that every human on this earth was made in the image of a creative God and is therefore designed to bring creativity into his or her sphere of influence. No one is excluded from this community. Resonate is for anyone who has a heart for creativity. The first step to getting plugged in is going to www.ResonateCampaign.com. There you will find links to our various resources, email newsletter, social media accounts, and Resonate: Plus community. If you are near Oklahoma City, I highly encourage you to apply for our creativity school, Resonate: Activate. Our school is definitely the deepest extension of everything we do at Resonate.
We are excited that Brianna is allowing the next 100 folks in the UTR Media community the chance to either buy or rent the Resonate Documentary at 50% off. Go to the documentary page, click the buy or rent option, check the box for “coupon” and enter the code “UTR.” [The trailer can be viewed below.]