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Interview: Danielle Bradbery discusses her first trip to the UK and the stories behind her new songs

We sat down with the singer-songwriter during her recent trip to London for C2C 2018.

Danielle Bradbery
Credit: Cameron Powell

Danielle Bradbery made her first trip to the UK earlier this month to perform at C2C: Country to Country 2018.

As well as performing all over The O2 in London, Bradbery also supported Midland at their debut headline show at Omeara. Anticipation for her first UK performances was high and it’s safe to say she definitely didn’t disappoint.

Following on from our chat last year, I caught up with Danielle while she was in London to discuss her first time in the UK, find out the meanings behind some of the songs on her latest album I Don’t Believe We’ve Met, and talk about her passionate fans.

I saw you at the Big Machine showcase earlier this week and you sounded amazing…

Thank you!

I was thinking maybe you should consider putting out an acoustic version of I Don’t Believe We’ve Met out…

That is a good idea.

Your voice is just insane…

(laughs) Thank you!

I was stood at the back and I was in awe that such a powerful voice can come out of such a petite person. You make it look so effortless…

(laughs) Sometimes I don’t even know! (laughs). It’s a little bit tough. Sometimes my voice is tired and I get tired but it’s just something I love to do.

You were all over the place at C2C performing at the weekend. How was your experience of the festival?

Yes. We’re definitely feeling the now sleep and running around everywhere but it’s been so worth it and so fun. It’s been really cool to see everything and explore, meet the fans and play the shows.

This was your first visit to the UK and there was a lot of anticipation about you coming over here. When we last spoke you mentioned that you were looking forward to coming to the UK. Has it lived up to your expectations?

It has, even more (laughs). I tell everyone I didn’t really have a specific thought in my head of how it was going to go. I was just very open to anything and just really interested to see how it was actually going to go. I was a little nervous playing shows because I didn’t know how the fans were here. I didn’t know how they were going to react to my stuff because I’m just up and coming, I’m not as big as the Kacey Musgraves. I was a little nervous and when I got here it was just everything that… I was like, ‘oh god y’all know every song, y’all know every word and y’all are so just respectful and loyal’. It was so exciting to just see everything and experience it all.

Did you have a favourite performance over the weekend?

I loved the Indigo, the bigger theatre. Personally for me, I love performing in bigger places. Smaller venues make me more nervous because I can see everybody (laughs). The Indigo was really cool because you know people are there but you couldn’t really see too many faces but you can definitely hear everyone. It was really cool to perform there and just be in a beautiful theatre and sing my songs really loud.

Danielle Bradbery

Credit: Cameron Powell

By the time you leave the UK you’re going to have done every type of venue aren’t you?

I’ve done theatres, restaurants, bars and everything in between (laughs).

You’re going to be a pro when you come back…

Yeah! (laughs) I’m going to have it down!

Speaking of coming back , can we expect another visit before the end of the year for some more shows?

For sure. It’s definitely being talked about, no doubt. Touring is definitely next in my career. It’s the next step we’re going to do no matter what, whether it’s back home, here or both. It’s been so inspiring to just be here and actually experience it all instead of just talk about it and see how the fans are and see what’s working. It’s definitely just put a bug in our ear and I think we have more of a plan of what touring is going to look like. We’ll definitely be making our way back.

You have a very passionate and devoted fan base. Every time we mentioned you on social media during C2C, it went crazy…

Oh my God! We always talk about my fans. They are wonderful. They’re crazy in the best way. They hop on any picture, any video, any tweet… just anything and they’re right there supporting it and just putting it everywhere… making a hashtag. I always say that I swear my fans get all together, have their own little office clip board and they’re like, ‘this week we’re going to start this hashtag’. I’m like, ‘y’all are on it, more than I am!’ They’ve been they’ve been supporting me since day one, which has been so cool. Now finally getting to meet some fans here that I’ve seen on social media, it’s really incredible.

When we spoke last year, I Don’t Believe We’ve Met wasn’t even out yet and I hadn’t had too much time with it. I’ve listened to it a lot more since then and my favourite track changes all the time. Worth It was my favourite for a while, then I moved on to Red Wine + White Couch and at the moment I’m loving Potential. My understanding of the lyrics for that track is that you’re saying you know you’ll fall for someone but not right now and probably when it’s a little too late. Can you tell me the story behind that track?

Yes, that’s definitely a big part of that song. We also thought of it as you’re in this relationship and you love this person so much but you’re in love with what they could be you. They have all these issues and they might not treat you right because of their issues, but you know they have such a good heart. You know that there is a side of them that you fell in love with in the first place and you get in a time in your relationship where they’re not that anymore but it’s just being covered by their own problems. You’re like, ‘oh, go back to that person I fell in love with and I’m in love with your potential. You’re such a good person but it’s being hidden right now’. It’s a little bit of everything, even what you said.

What’s interesting about that song is it was the first song out of all the writing and songwriting I’ve done that kind of inspired and sparked the meaning and the feel of this whole album. It was the biggest inspiration of this I Don’t Believe We’ve Met project. When I turned it into Scott Borschetta and we showed it to the label, they were like, ‘OK, we think you found your spot in songwriting and in this album’. I owe a lot to that song for being just the first one to go in with with a bang. I was like, ‘OK I think I got it’ and then from there it was kind of easy. It was like OK we have that and then we can just feel it out from there.

It’s really cool because you’re not the first person that said it changes all the time with your favourite song and my interest in different genres of music is what put into this album. Red Wine + White Couch is so R&B and it’s not country. People say stuff about it like, ‘that’s not country’ and I know. I love Country music, and there’s that in the album too, but grew up not only listening to country. I like to sprinkle a little bit of what I grew up listening to, what inspires me in music and motivates me . When I first heard Red Wine I could see myself jamming to it in my car. Then you have songs like Worth It and Potential that are those vocal moments and that’s what I love to do. Then Laying Low or Sway are more of your Country songs. There’s a little bit of everything and I love it that way. I hope fans do too (laughs).

People seem to have really taken to Human Diary. I know that’s one of the songs you didn’t co-write but you sing it as if you did. What’s the story with that one?

It’s cool to tell the story behind it because I didn’t write it. I remember the day like it was yesterday. I was going in to record the vocal of Worth It and it was the last thing we had to do to finish the whole record. You’d think I’d be like, ‘OK let’s get this over with, I’m ready to get this done and out. It’s been so long’. I was going through a roller coaster with my relationship. We weren’t necessarily broken up, which always happens, you go through that one point in your relationship. That happened to be the time I was going through mine and it was kind of perfect because I was writing a lot and just getting it all out and all of the feels and everything. These writers and producers become one of your closest friends because you share so much with them.

That specific day I was with my two friends, a writer named Emily Weisband, and the producer that was producing my whole album, who is also a writer, Josh Kerr and they were dating at the time. It was really cool because we were all together and it was really cool to work together in that environment. I was going in to record Worth It and they were like, ‘OK, well we wrote this song that we kind of tweaked and want to show you’. They knew I was in this emotional roller coaster state but they played me the song and I just couldn’t hold it in. It made me cry and made me feel all these emotions and I thought so many people could relate to this, not just me, whether they’ve actually gone through a big breakup and they aren’t getting back together or they’re going through something like me where they’re afraid to lose that someone. It was more of a fear for me personally so I was singing it from that end of things. I was like, ‘I’m not going to record worth it today, I’m going to record Human Diary. I’m not going to sing it this emotional any other day’. That’s what we did. I asked Scott and my management, ‘can I please put this on the record?’ and they were like, ‘it came that natural and genuine so why not’. We made room (laughs).

Danielle Bradbery

Credit: Cameron Powell

Another highlight on the record for me is closing track Laying Low. It’s such a beautiful way to end the record. What’s the story behind it?

Thank you! That one was so simple, which is another one I love and it’s close to my heart. That one was one I was actually part of writing but it’s the last track on the album. When I went in to write that there wasn’t anything weighing heavy on my heart that day or my mind. I was with two other writers and one of them was a girl and her name’s Heather (Morgan). Before writes we always just talk. We talk about everything and hopefully one thing inspires us writing a song. That’s exactly what we did. We just talked about the day we had the other day and or just talking about coffee, or just things like that. I was talking to Heather and we brought up, ‘do you like to go out with your friends? Is that something you do every night?’ I was like, ‘you know, I really don’t. I love to stay in. I love to have moments of just watching a movie, being in my pyjamas, not going out and drinking or anything. It sounds exhausting to me sometimes’ and she was like, ‘me too! I have moments where I need time to myself’. We really connected with that topic.

She started messing around on the guitar and had this really pretty sound, which was the song of Laying Low. It was raining outside and it was just perfect. She started singing some lyrics and we just started going back and forth on the topic of laying low and really having time to yourself and not losing who you are because you’re now doing all this crazy stuff. I recorded the demo there after we wrote it and my voice was kind of raspy that day and it wasn’t as healthy as normal but I was like, ‘you know it’s going to be a raspy demo but we can fix it later’ (laughs). We ended up keeping that demo, just raw and stripped down… we didn’t add anything. It just stayed guitar. Moments like that, that are so genuine and natural we like to hold. We don’t want to make it so commercial and done up. That song was perfect for it being so natural. With all the emotions of all my other songs on the album we decided to put it on as the last track so everybody can ease their way out of the album (laughs) and all the emotional rollercoaster that happened before.

It’s interesting to learn that’s the story for the track. I took a bit of a different meaning…

Oh really?

I interpreted it as you saying that you’re biding your time to get the next stage career right…

That’s awesome. I’ve had that. That’s always been a thought of mine. Now that you say that, that’s something that’s always on my mind so it could very well be that topic, even when I sing it. I tell my management this all the time, it’s really cool when you know you you have a good song under your belt. For me I might have had a specific mindset when I wrote this song and this song means exactly what I was feeling that day but any other day if I’m singing and I sing Laying Low or if I sing Worth It, I might be feeling something totally different that can go with the song. I’m going to sing it as passionate as I can like that. I love that you had a different mindset because that was kind of my goal, just to have songs that can really mean anything. That’s really good to hear (laughs).

There’s a really incredible wave of fantastic female artists, yourself included, that are coming out with bold lyrics. I think women are producing the most interesting songs in Country music right now and they are finally impacting on the charts again. How do you feel to be part of that movement?

It’s really cool to be a part of it. The whole women thing and having a lot of voices being talked about a lot more then than it has been. It’s unfortunate because sometimes we think we shouldn’t be having to say all this stuff or do all this extra stuff. I think no matter what, it’s good to have each other’s support. I think it should all be equal. Just be supportive of each other and have each other’s back no matter what. Women do have something to say, we have all the emotions. We’ll definitely snap at you (laughs). It’s really cool to hear all the amazing songs that women are putting out and having such a bigger voice, and being a part of it is really cool.

Danielle Bradbery’s album I Don’t Believe We’ve Met and her new single Worth It are available now. Watch the video for Worth It below:


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