by Dan Harr
For Brauninger, music comes naturally. Even as a child writing and composing her original songs, this “Bronzie Girl”, as some know her as, captures a wonderful country Blues and Jazz style. The Nashville, TN-based Brauninger (last name: McDaniel) and her band currently perform in popular Nashville area nightclubs such as BB Kings and the Hard Rock Cafe, among others, with plans to eventually tour the U.S. Her musical collaborators include guitarist/vocalist Roger Zimish, and drummer, Mark Panek.
What was your primary reason for seeking to forge a career as a singer in the music industry?
I grew up in a family where my parents, aunts and uncles all played instruments and sang, they were members of our church’s praise and worship. Of course being from Baton Rouge was also a plus. When I was nine years old my Uncle Erman, who I looked up to, took some time out of his busy schedule to show me how to play piano. My uncle was a great blues singer and fiddle player; he played many venues in New Orleans. He would tell me how to just listen to the sound of the keys. So I would sit for hours and just listen to each key and how they would complement each other. I have always felt that God gave me a great gift and that I needed to share it with everyone.
How do you describe (categorize) your music, genre-wise?
As I mentioned before, I grew up around New Orleans. When I would visit New Orleans as a young teenager I loved hearing those Blues and Jazz sounds. Quite naturally, I began to feel that my voice fit those genres of music. As time went on I started to develop a great raspy jazzy sound, with some very soulful blues. Some describe it as easy listening and pure.
Do you feel that living in/near Nashville, as you do, is more of a blessing, or a curse, for an aspiring musician?
I feel it is a blessing. There are so many great musicians and writers that you can hook up with to share stories and ideas for songs. Music City has so many places to perform your music, and not just Country. There are venues that allow other genres to display their talents. Another great attribute is that there are so many record labels here, you never know who might walk in and hear that one song that could make a big difference in your career.
Who do you cite as your primary musical influences?
The first is the late Etta James. She had such a great sound and feeling to her voice. My favorite songs by her are, “At Last” and “I’d Rather Go Blind”. I also love Bonnie Raitt, her Blues songs are legendary. I love Raitt’s song “Thing Called Love”. One of my all-time favorites is the late B.B. King. Like many others, I love “The Thrill Is Gone”. Some other notable artist are Sheryl Crow, Ella Fitzgerald, Keb’ Mo’, and of course, Eric Clapton. I could go on but those are several. But ,my main influence was my Uncle Erman, there is no one that I feel helped me connect more to who I am today.
What do you generally find yourself writing about, subject-wise?
Writers will tell you that most of the material they write about are life experiences since they tell a story, and I feel that I do the same for the most part. In particular, I write about love. Love brings us so many ups and downs. Relationships make up so much emotion. Love, hate, betrayal, and heartache. These feelings are what some might feel at some point in their lives. These are what most listeners can relate to and yes, I have had those emotions as well.
If you had a son or daughter, would you be “on board” with he/she wanting to be a musician, or would you try to deter them from doing so?
Even though I know it is tough to make a living in this field, if someone has a passion and a great talent, they should pursue their dream. I definitely would be on board with them if it is something they truly wanted to pursue. I would let them know that it takes hard work and tenacity to see it through. Music is, in my opinion, a great part of life. I would always let them choose, never force them. The truth be told, my son is a great drummer, and is now moving onto the guitar (laughs).
Seeing we are in a year where a new President will be elected, do you feel protest and/or songs with political overtones are still relevant in today’s musical landscape?
Yes, music has always been a part of politics. So many protest events have had musicians and writers share their views on politics through their music. I believe that if a musician has a passion for something and they have an outlet to express through their music, they should be allowed to do so. Actors endorse politicians, musicians shouldn’t be any different.
As a female, do you feel there’s any difference (between men and women) in the road traveled to becoming a success in the music business?
Yes, I still feel there is a gap when it comes to men and women in the business. Understanding for starters, that there are more men performing than women gives them a little more of a competitive advantage, in that perspective. In country music, I see more and more women performers. But what I am seeing is more women and men are working together to build good platform for success for both sides.
If you could lay out your ideal career, and make all your ambitions come true, how would the next 5-10 years play out?
First, make my rounds and start to get my music out there. Build up a band around me. Perform at festivals. Then get signed to a big-time label and have a great Artist/Publishing deal. This deal would allow me to be out on tour. On the tour I could visit the world and meet fans and hopefully touch someone’s life through my music. Then I could start pitching my songs to other artists. I truly love to write music.
In closing, is there one scintillating factoid about Brauninger that you have never shared before, that you are willing to tell our readers?
I’ll give you two. First, I don’t read music, I play by hearing it . When I was taught to play, I studied the sounds each key would make. So I learned to play a song by just listening to it. The second is that one day I would like to learn how to be an abstract painter. I love coming up with designs and colors. Painting is so therapeutic to me. I am such a flower girl.
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