I've done probably close to 100 interviews and I'm thankful for each one and every one. I have talked to some incredible people who have shared different moments and stories that have shaped their life, but this interview with Brett Sheroky was the same and different in so many ways. Of course we talked about the “usual” stuff and I asked some of the same questions, but Brett's approach, authenticity and his professionalism had me leaving the interview feeling I had learned some things about life. He is a man truly chasing music because it's his passion and not for the money and fame. Brett is finally getting the credit he deserves as an artist and his top tier songs are not only getting sung by himself, but also is getting love from others as he wrote "Bible Verses" with Joe Fox & Andrew Peebles on Blake Shelton's latest album. I sat down with Brett and talked about his brand new single "Everybody Wants", how his first daughter really changed his perspective on chasing his dream, and what both writing and singing songs means to him.
Get To Know Brett
"Originally I'm from Southern Illinois, pretty close to St. Louis, Missouri. We moved to Nashville July 12th, 2009. It was the day after our wedding, that's why I will never forget the date. I'd done music since middle school, tried to learn guitar a bunch of times and then gave it up. I was in a play in 8th grade and the character I was casted as played guitar. So I borrowed this guitar, really became obsessed with it and learned how to play. Since then, even when I barely knew three chords, I was already writing songs. They were terrible, but it was part of what I wanted to do. High school, college, in and out of bands, working our asses off. I felt like I was doing everything. I was writing the songs, booking the shows for the most part, and running our social media - which was Myspace at the time. After the 5th guitarist quit I was just over it. My wife, we were engaged at the time, suggested we move to Nashville so I could actually pursue music and do it for a living. I thought that was unrealistic and impractical. Looking back, I was probably just afraid. She talked me into it and chaos ensued. It took me over 11 years to get my first publishing deal."
A Song With An Attitude
All I picture is Brett rolling down the street with a leather jacket on, Ray-Bans covering his eyes and chaos brewing in the background. The man being pissed off and unphased... is that how it went down or where the inspiration came from? Probably not, but it sounds cool. "Everybody Wants" would be great in an action movie, just sayin'. This is a great tune that really showcases not only his elite songwriting, but Brett’s Rock influence also shines through. A great message lies in the song; talking about how a lot of people want to see success or reach "the top of the hill" without putting in the work, and sitting on their ass and complaining about it. This song is so fitting for society today. It speaks on behalf of so many people, hell it even signifies myself sometimes. Brett truly is an artist who paints a picture and each song he puts out is a masterpiece start to finish. The best part of Brett releasing a song, is you have no idea what it's going to sound like or what genre he's going to pull from. Always keeping you on your toes.
Inspiration Behind "Everybody Wants"
Written By: Brett Sheroky & Trannie Anderson
Produced By: David Dorn & Brett Sheroky
"The new song "Everybody Wants" I wrote with Trannie Anderson. We had only met twice and it was the second time we had written together. She's one of those salt of the earth people where you feel like you're old friends as soon as you meet. She came in and was like "I just want to write something with some righteous anger today". I was like, in my head, "hell yeah, you don't really know me yet, but I'm all about that". Trannie was telling me about how she’d been having a conversation, trying to mentor or give advice to someone who'd just moved to town and they were complaining that they were here 6 months and didn't have a record deal yet. We started to write a song around that. We didn't have a hook or anything and the song started with this vibe on guitar. I had this lick I was doing and we're really getting into it and it started taking off. Both of us realized we needed to come up with an awesome hook and spent like an hour or two figuring one out. A cool hook, to me, that's what makes the song. The song is about how everybody wants all the things that come with success, but not everybody wants to put in the work to get there. It's calling everybody out including myself."
Q & A With Brett Sheroky
Q: What was that "light bulb" moment you knew you wanted to pursue music?
A: "Initially, that was early on. I was really drawn to music. I never grew up in a musical family or anything, but music just felt familiar to me. When I learned to play guitar and I started writing songs, music just resonated with me more than anything else. But, I thought it was just a crazy pipe dream. The pivotal moment was after my oldest daughter was born, which was after we had moved here already. I wasn't working very hard. I was just existing and doing little things here and there. That's not how you're supposed to do it. After she was born I realized I didn't want to teach her how I was taught. That way was to "be safe", practical and get that 9-5 job with insurance, doing whatever you really wanted to do on the side. I wanted her to learn that if she had a passion, that's what you should be doing and fighting like hell to be able to do it."
Q: Being an artist and a songwriter at a high level, what are some things you enjoy about both?
A: "They are both very intertwined for me. You get asked sometimes "what's more important - the artist thing or the songwriter thing"? I think that one doesn’t exist without the other. I don't think I would be an artist if I didn't write my own stuff. Not that I wouldn't cut someone else's song if it really spoke to me, but if I'm not creating it from the beginning then I wouldn't want to perform it. Songwriting and story is what really makes me identify with a song. I started off by being a songwriter because I thought that was a safer road. I saw a lot of my buddies who were artists but by that point I already had kids and didn't have enough time in the day or enough money in the bank to do the artist thing. I started releasing stuff and had some people in my corner but it didn't end up working out. That really fired me up; nothing fires me up more than a failure or being told I can't do something. The songwriting thing was to me, something I could do everyday and create. And I felt that could help me open doors. When I signed my deal with Sea Gayle Music, they agreed with me. Some of the songs you write aren't yours on the artist side, but definitely could be cut."
Q: Who are some of your biggest artist/songwriter influences?
A: "My favorite band of all time is Led Zeppelin. I believe the reason I'm so drawn to them is that when you listen to a Led Zeppelin record, for the most part, the songs going down the album don't all sound the same. Zeppelin was great at pulling from different genres of music and making it their own thing. To me, that's what an artist is. Billy Joel is another one. I keep forgetting him and then come back around to him. His songs were so different. I remember being younger and listening to Billy Joel and asking myself "wait, is that Billy Joel?". I love that part of artistry. Writing songs is telling different stories and talking about life in different ways. I grew up on Country Music, that was really what my mom listened to - that 90's, early 2000's era. When I got older I discovered Classic Rock and found Zeppelin, The Eagles, Fleetwood Mac, Pink Floyd, Simon & Garfunkel. My dad's record collection was pretty diverse too."
Q: What is some of the best advice you've been given?
A: "My dad had a lot of one liners when it came to that kind of stuff. It really stuck with me growing up. One in particular that's always stuck with me is "if you sit down and talk to the dumbest som bitch and you can't learn something from em, then he ain't the dumbest som bitch in the world". I think that's very true. I've really used that saying going through life. Kind of "keep your eyes open and your mouth shut and be a sponge". I'm one of those guys that takes it in and stews it up. I usually write songs very slowly. It may take two or three sessions to finish a song for me, because I want to make it the best that it can be."