We asked Nashville artists who released material during the pandemic what it was like to put their music out into a world on pause. They also let us in on how they’ve coped and how their priorities have changed. Rapper and Nashville native Brian Brown used the down time to focus on himself and release his first full-length project, Journey. As things begin to slowly open back up, he played a sold-out rooftop show at Acme Feed and Seed on Lower Broadway.
How have your priorities changed in the last year?
Brian Brown: A lot more focus on self. A lot more attention to feelings and emotions. Has it been easy? Not necessarily. But has it been necessary? Absolutely. So not being afraid, stepping into it and owning it. This thing is real. This thing exists. I’ve said it and spoken it into existence for quite some time. So I have no choice but to just keep going regardless.
How has the whole virtual thing gone for you?
BB: I’m not the biggest fan of it. But it’s helped me in terms of eye contact, just making sure they got your attention. I had a couple of writing sessions on virtual meetings and Zooms and I didn’t really enjoy it. I like being within the music, the vibe and all the good things. But regardless, it helped me in some way, shape, form or fashion, so I won’t complain about it by any means.
What’s been the most effective way for you to stay connected to fans?
BB: Fortunately and unfortunately, social media. It’s weird how that thing works. It should be a venting space, but you are putting that out to the whole world. Like, billions of people can see that. So shout out to the folks who really feel like they give a damn about the kid. Whenever I post some type of thing, whether it be Instagram, Twitter, they’re reacting to it. They are talking to me about it.
How are you approaching the return to live performances?
BB: Just had a show recently. It was sold out on Broadway at Acme [in downtown Nashville], in the city where hip-hop is invited, but not necessarily welcome. I can’t complain about that. How I approach it? Like I do every show. I feel bad for anybody that has to go before me. Because I came through to show up, show out and I go home and kill each and every time. As those opportunities present themselves, I will just take them wherever they are and run with it regardless.