We had the good fortune of connecting with Brianna Straut and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brianna, what is the most important factor behind your success?
Connection is everything for me. The most successful shows I have is when I’m able to connect to the truth behind my song and to relay that to the audience while performing. Writing music is for me, it’s personal, but performing those songs is me sharing my story with others. Some of my favorite memories from touring is when a stranger comes up to me after a show and tells me their story because of a song I played. Music opens us up and breaks down these walls we’ve built.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m an Americana Singer Songwriter out of Denver, Colorado by way of Texas. I’ve recently released a music video called “Righteous Livin” that was filmed in the Piney Woods of East Texas by Barnshow Productions, directed by Brad Cullen Fleetwood. It was important to me to film this in the heart of where my story began. The song is based on my experience growing up Southern Baptist and being outed while living in a small conservative town. It’s masked as a toe tapping Country Blues tune that’s layered in satire. You can stream the song through Spotify or watch the video on YouTube. ( Link: https://youtu.be/R3HqTz6jrD0 ) Since COVID-19, things have been pretty slow but I’m thankful for my patrons through my Patreon account that have continued to give each month. Patreon is a platform that allows artists to earn a monthly income through a subscription style service. As a full time musician, I use this platform to connect with my fans in a much deeper way, telling origin stories about my songs, releasing exclusive content and providing sneak peeks for early releases. Since most of my shows have been canceled, this ongoing support has been a huge help. Music started for me when I was 7 years old playing Alto Saxophone. Being a hyper kid I needed things to keep me busy so I naturally gravitated to video games and learning how to play an instrument. Growing up in Houston and the bible belt, I wasn’t allowed to listen to mainstream music. So, I grew up listening to Classical, Jazz, and the hits of previous decades. Mostly focusing on the decades of the 40’s-70’s. When our family moved to a small East Texas town outside of Houston, I started expressing some interest in the guitar. One night after watching a local country band my mom offered the band $100 for one of their guitars. They went for it! I don’t think I would’ve done the same now if the shoe had been on the other foot. I’m sure glad they did though. The guitar I was practicing on before that one was in such bad shape that you could fit your hand in between the frets and strings. I took some time off from music after High School and didn’t pick it up again until I moved to Colorado about 10 years ago. For about 5 years I performed with a band locally before branching out as a Singer Songwriter performing as “Brianna Straut”. I joined another band, Bison Bone, because I wanted to work with my now dear friend, Courtney Whitehead. Bison Bone just released a new album, “Taking Up The Trouble”. Check it out online! I quit my office job 5 years ago to start playing music full time. I’ve been on small tours around the US performing in bars, venues, restaurants and setting up house shows (or living room / listening shows). The shows I play are all very different. I usually take that into account when I’m deciding how many players I’ll be needing for the show. I’ll play as a solo artist or have as many as 5 players accompanying me. Collaborating is one of my favorite things about music. I love jumping into a room with other players ready to hash out a song. Like a rock stuck in a tumbler, it’s a noisy process but once it’s finished you have something smooth, something that you want to hold on to or share with others. Don’t get me wrong, I love sitting in front of an audience just me and my guitar telling stories about my songs. Sometimes those are the shows I prefer, but there’s also a thing that happens when I’m on stage with friends backing me up on drums, electric guitar, bass and keys; Those wailing solos and nods of encouragement. The communication that happens on stage between players is magical. I’m so thankful for my opportunities to perform. When Covid hit i had just come off three tours and 150 shows in 2019. I was ready for some downtime. Then there was too much downtime. The shows I’ve been able to play this year have been incredible. What a gift to be able to get back in front of an audience again after taking such a long break. I’ve missed it so much this year. I look forward getting back to it.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Oh wow, favorite spots in the city? This is a tough one because I love Denver and Colorado so much! Okay let me give it a whirl. This is an itinerary for pre-covid. Many of these spots are open now through reservations and or take out. Monday – Jazz night at Meadowlark, Late night happy hour at Cart Driver for the $5 Marg pizza. Night cap at Embassy Tavern. Tuesday – Start our morning with walking my dog Olive to Whittier Cafe then to Beet Box for vegan donuts. Hang out at the park playing games and reading books. Finish the night with a long Happy Hour at Tacos El Paisa off of Federal. Wednesday – Spend the day at museums: MCA, DAM, & Science Museum – be sure to hit the Planetarium. Dinner outside at Fourtune Wok to Table. Thursday – Grab a Fonzie burger with grilled onions at Bar Car and head over to The Owl for live music and ice cold drafts. Finish the night off at Hamburger Mary’s for Mary-OKE. Friday – Ping Pong and amazing food by Executive Chef, Thach Tran at Ace. Cruise over to South Broadway for a movie at The Mayan, Happy Hour Chi Chi’s at Adrift, grab a draft and tshirt at Trve Brewing, Dinner at Sputnik, and finish with a show at the HiDive. Saturday – DJ brunch set at The Roxy (on Broadway). Lady Justice Brewing where they donate a majority of their profits over cost to promote the status of Colorado women and girls through grants, and in 2020 they will donate those profits to Black-owned and operated organizations. Then go dancing at Xbar & Charlies all night. Sunday – Dim Sum at Star Kitchen then take a drive up to the mountains and go for a hike. Cook your own steak for dinner at Colorado’s oldest restaurant, The Mint (est 1862) in Silverthorne. Soak it up at a hot spring overnight.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I’ve been so lucky to have had in every hardship at least one person that’s encouraged me to fight through it, push on, learn from the experience and loved me for me. I’m so thankful for my friends that have become my family. I don’t know where I’d be without their continued encouragement and support. I’d also like to create some space to recognize those who are still in the closet and don’t feel safe to come out yet. There is a family for you out there that love and accept you. Stay safe, keep your head up and know that it gets better.
Other: Patreon – https://www.patreon.com/briannastraut
Nikki A. Rae, Kate Ivy