Brooklyn-based musician Breanna Barbara ain’t just another super cute indie chick. That isn’t to say that she isn’t super cute (she totally is), but to tuck her away in the “indie” box would be a criminal downplay of what she’s capable of. This girl has got pipes, not to mention the unabashed soulfulness of the blues musicians of days past.
But enough of my fancy words, you’ve just got to hear this girl sing.
We’re proud to exclusively present this video of Barbara performing the heartfelt “Nothin But Your Lovin,” off her forthcoming album Mirage Dreams. Directed by Joshua Shoemaker, it features fellow absurdly talented young musicians Matt Menold (Clear Plastic Masks), Richard Harper and Ben Trimble (Fly Golden Eagle), and Casey McAllister (Langhorn Slim).
And after, once you’re totally goddamn smitten, read a nice little chat with Barbara below.
Can you recall the first time you performed?
I used to perform in front of my family when I was about 10years old, lip-syncing Celine Dion and Aaliyah songs. I had a whole dance routine and everything. I was always attracted to the stage but it wasn’t until I was about 20 when I started studying theatre and saw my first play. I remember thinking ‘Damn, that looks terrifying and fun at the same time.’ Playing my music in front of other people on the other hand was a whole different story. I was shaking beyond belief but felt extremely released and happy afterward.
What drew you to this style of music? What sort of stuff were you listening to growing up?
My musical taste has been all over the place. I grew up listening to a lot of 90’s R&B and hip-hop. My parents were younger so I missed out on that classic rock upbringing. When I was 18 I moved to Saint Augustine, Florida where I was exposed to a lot of punk shows as well as old country/blues; Bessie Smith, Hank Williams Sr., Jesse Mae Hemphill. My friend once labeled my music as ‘Occult Blues,’ which I think is pretty funny. I’m just a fan of anyone who sings from their soul.
What do you wear when you perform? Do you plan meticulously or do you kind of just go with what you’re feeling?
It varies on my mood that day. Some mornings I wake up and want to be dressed in gold head to toe and other days I’m like, someone get me a hoodie.
Do you get stage fright?
I rarely get stage fright anymore! I will get a few butterflies that feel more exhilarating than anything. Except I did get really nervous at one show recently when there was one of my favorite musicians of all time in the audience. I still get excited when I think about that show.
Who was it?!
Haha oh gosh! Do I have to tell? Alynda Lee Segarra from Hurray for the Riff Raff.
When you write something new, who’s is the first person you play it for?
Usually my boyfriend or my band mates. It takes me a few times to sing it full throttle alone in my bedroom or studio before I can show it to anyone else. If it has gotten past that point it usually means its ready to take in some collaboration from others.
Were your parents always supportive of your musical aspirations or were they more like, “get a real job?”
Well, I have always had another job in addition to music. And I have always been pretty independent when it came to my life choices, but both my mom and dad had the sweetest souls and encouraged me to do whatever it was that made me happy. Unfortunately my dad passed away a few years ago but I have an army as a support system through other family and friends. My mom may even come see me play here in New York for the first time at the record release show coming up! I can’t wait.
What can you tell me about “Nothin But Your Lovin?” Is it about someone in particular?
Haha…This song makes me smile. I remember the night I wrote it. I played one of those terrible shows where there was only the bartender and the sound guy in the audience and everything in my life at that moment just did not feel right. I knew of a really good show happening in Brooklyn so I stopped my set early and told my drummer that we were leaving to go to a show. That night was one of the most memorable nights I’ve ever had. I went from being so incredibly low to unbelievably inspired. And I may or may not have fallen in love with the lead singer 😉 But regardless, whether it’s a stranger or a song or an evening, it’s that euphoric-like feeling you only get when you are high on inspiration. It’s about wanting nothing else in life but that.
What can you tell me about this performance vid?
Josh and I had become buddies through our mutual friend Andrija and we started talking about making a little music video. So when I was on tour from New York to New Orleans, I drove through Nashville in my van and played a show there. We confirmed some players (some of which are on the record, Matt Menold + Ben Trimble) and the next morning, real early, we all met at the Bomb Shelter studio, which is where I recorded the album. Most of them learned the song on the spot. I think Casey, the keys player, even had food poisoning the night before, he was a trooper. Anyway, they all killed it and it was a blast to play with them. Oh and I had put blue mascara on which makes my eyelashes look all spooky.
Mirage Dreams comes out July 22nd on No Roads Records.