Currently on our radar: Heather Brave. We are here for her growth as a pop songwriter navigating her way in the crazy music industry. She already released two songs (“Like A Wave” and “Feel You Watching”) and we want more. The latest release is inspired by the uncertainty and excitement of an undefined relationship. Raise your hand if you relate. Yeah, sames. Heather took some time to chat with us so we could learn more about this emerging artist’s background, her experience working closely with her producer in the studio, and spills the beans about her new EP, debuting real soon.
The Young Folks: Looking over your instagram, you’ve grown a lot since 2017. What is one of the biggest lessons you learned last year that you are making sure you follow into 2018?
Heather Brave: At the beginning of 2017, I was getting settled still in NYC (I had just moved from L.A. after being there for a few years, but I grew up in New Jersey). It was a big move for me and I was in the middle of working with my producer on this new music. It represented me taking ownership of what I wanted and how I felt and that inspired my music so much. That mindset and mantra has continued to push me in 2017 and now leading into 2018. Now that my EP’s ready to go, I want to keep letting people into my world and how I got here. My road to where I was supposed to be was crazy and twisted, but so worth it and I want to breathe that into my live performances and my music as I release more and more.
The Young Folks: Was there anyone who taught you the craft of songwriting or was this something that came sort of naturally?
Brave: I started writing songs when I was 15 and immediately started co-writing and working with different producers and artists. I was young so I was really eager to learn, but I also knew in a vague, but strong way, what I wanted my music to be like. Writing is so personal and nuanced that to watch people’s own approaches showed me how I felt differently or flowed with it. By contrast, I found what was my own about how I created a story and song. Some people I collaborated with would say, “be like Rihanna,” or “be like Meghan Trainor,” but I learned from them without surrendering who I was. Putting exactly what I wanted to say and how I wanted to say it into reality took some time, but I was so grateful that I arrived with the music I’m releasing now. One way I love to start a song is to listen to a melody or progression and just let my instincts do the work. That’s not something you can teach or transfer from one person to the next and I think that’s why writing is so cool and why I feel like I have to sing what I write.
The Young Folks: Being that you are a songwriter, when did the thought of writing your own music dawn on you? What was the first song you ever wrote?
Brave: When I was young I was doing musical theater in NYC, but I remember feeling frustrated that sometimes I wouldn’t exactly fit a role. It is always fun to completely transform and be somebody else, but I felt like I wanted to be myself and share me and what I thought in a way that was completely free. So, I got a purple guitar and after learning how to play simple songs like “Hey Jude,” “Jar of Hearts,” and any of The Shins’ songs with chords I googled, I wrote my first song called “Darling, Darling,” which still gets stuck in my head sometimes. It was about my first boyfriend Max in middle school. Super dramatic.
The Young Folks: Very addicted to your new song “Feel You Watching”! What inspired you to write this song?
Brave: Thank you!! My producer and I were riffing on that feeling of being watched. It’s eerie and intense, but also kind of intriguing. I was dealing with a relationship that was stuck in a weird in between, slipping back and forth between “should we” or “shouldn’t we?” and I was so over waiting and this period of neither of us just saying how we felt. I felt his presence far away and I just wanted there to be action instead of uncertain tension. So “Feel You Watching,” is for when you’ve had enough of starting over like I say in the song. I just wanted to keep going and stop being hesitant.
The Young Folks: Since “Feel You Watching” is such a feel good dance track, what’s a track you can for sure always dance along to? Other than your own songs, of course!
Brave: I’m always dancing to “All Night” by Chance the Rapper or “Always on Time” by Ja Rule and Ashanti. Guilty pleasures, the usual.
The Young Folks: I like to ask this song for many songwriters but when you’re in the studio hearing the song you wrote come to life, are you normally in the trenches making sure every single part sounds a certain way or do you leave it in the hands of the producer?
Brave: My producer Jase Blankfort is like a big brother and musical soulmate all in one. The first time we met up to see if we could work well together, we were at this tacky Mexican restaurant in NJ where I’m from, and the setting was so funny because we were just having a deep conversation about what it means to be an artist and our lives and we totally meshed. When we write a song, we think on a big scale, like what do we want people to feel in their bones when they listen to it? He’s also based in Nashville so I go there for a few days, we write, record, and then I go back to NYC. Still, knowing that we have such a complete all-encompassing, mutual understanding of what the song should feel like makes me know that he knows where to take it, and that he is guiding it in that direction. So when I finally get the song from him I either say, “Wow, absolutely. This is exactly what we talked about” or “This one element needs to be more in this direction,” but it’s usually the first response. Either way, Jase and I are in the trenches, sitting for hours on his porch in the rain, in the beginning of the song’s life and that leads the production of the song to follow in a natural way.
The Young Folks: Can we expect an EP or debut album coming out anytime soon in the near future? If so, what can our readers expect to hear on it?
Brave: YES, EP so soon!!! There are so many artists I’ve always been in awe of and I wanted to find a way to bring what I loved about each of them together in a way that represented me. It’s like if Regina Spektor and Britney Spears did a co-write, and then Adele stopped by with Lorde and then Mumford and Sons said hi. That would be an insane room to be in. Each of these artists have seriously taught me something or inspired me in some way and each song is a facet of that. Still, there’s a common thread between all the songs that is about me taking ownership. When everything that surrounded me felt messy or out of control, I reminded myself that I was stronger than that and that’s really what it’s about.
The Young Folks: As an artist, what kind of emotion or feeling do you hope your fans will feel after listening to your music?
Brave: This EP was rooted in me taking ownership, so I want when someone is listening to it, whether they’re sad, nervous, excited, hesitant, or unsure, to feel that and feel stronger from it in their own craziness.
The Young Folks: Who is an artist you really look up to that really impacted your writing style or even the genre you chose to follow?
Brave: Regina Spektor was always a huge inspiration for me. I love that she doesn’t seem to obey convention, and instead does what is right to tell the story musically and lyrically. That’s what music should be – truthful instead of a copy of what is expected.
The Young Folks: Lastly, just for funsies, what are you doing when you aren’t working on music? How do you take a break from it all?
Brave: I see a lot of movies, work on a book I want to write, eat a lot of avocado rolls, and take long baths.