Vanity by Brianna Gaither
Following her faith and desire to explore Oklahoma’s creative culture, Brianna Gaither’s sophomore album breaks the norm by recording 10 songs, in 10 months, with 10 different, Oklahoma-based producers and made a documentary following the journey. In this Creator Conversation Q&A session with Brianna, she shares what got her into music, why she used 10 different producers, how to stay brave, and more.
How do you describe yourself and your music?
I describe myself as a vocal-centric, piano-woven singer-songwriter who writes primarily in the vein of Indie Pop or Adult Contemporary.
What got you interested in music and sharing it with others?
I think music was one of my first passions in life–and more specifically, music as a means of human connection. There is something very special that happens with people share music, sing together, or write together. Music has the ability to walk through walls and connect people at the heart level. I am very passionate about the idea that I could help someone through my music in a similar way to how I have been helped through the music of others.
Use only seven words to describe your album, Vanity?
Diverse, Fun, Meaningful, Engaging, Sincere, Spiritual, Personal
What was the greatest challenge you had when making the album?
Logistics. This album was created as an experiment to record 10 songs, in 10 months, with 10 different, Oklahoma-based producers. I coordinated with each producer, engineer, and set of studio musicians individually, traveled to 10 different studios across central Oklahoma, recorded on 10 different sets of equipment, and somehow crafted a cohesive album that I’m proud of.
Why did you produce each song with a different producer over 10 months?
I did this for couple reasons. There are so many amazing producers and studios in Oklahoma, that I didn’t want to choose between them, haha! Truly, producers don’t always get the credit they deserve, and I wanted to showcase the talent in this area. Lastly, I think I’m just addicted to the adventure of working with new people, challenging myself, and taking risks.
Let’s talk about the documentary, Resonate. How and why did that project come about?
[pullquote-right]”My documentary asks, what does it mean to be made in the image of a creative God, and how can we join together to activate the unique, creative potential placed inside each of us?”[/pullquote-right]I am a person of faith, a Christian. And my desire to explore Oklahoma’s creative culture was actually more complex than simply creating an interesting sophomore album. As a Christian who does not write “worship” music or sing primarily at church, I have experienced a lot of isolation in my creativity. I wanted to use this hyper-collaborative project to peel back the curtain on what God is doing in Oklahoma City through the Arts, and help build a community for artists who are feeling a similar isolation. Scripture states that God is the Creator of the universe and that humans are created in his image. My documentary asks, what does it mean to be made in the image of a creative God, and how can we join together to activate the unique, creative potential placed inside each of us?
Who are some of your musical influences?
I grew up listening mainly to Christian Contemporary music and the Beach Boys. My teen years consisted of Christian and Classic Rock. In college, I discovered female indie pop singer-songwriters such as A Fine Frenzy, Regina Spektor, Ingrid Michaelson, Norah Jones, and Corinne Bailey Rae. I don’t think I had found anyone to really associate myself with genre-wise before that point. But I would consider everything I’ve ever listened to as a musical influence. I cannot listen to any one piece of music without allowing it to shape my understanding of music as a whole, thus expanding possibilities in future composition.
How do you stay brave?
[pullquote-right]”I’d rather be embarrassed or “rejected” than bored. But in all truth, life is way too short.”[/pullquote-right]Woah, what a great question. First of all, I think I’m just way more afraid of missing out than I am of failing, haha. Like, I’d rather be embarrassed or “rejected” than bored. But in all truth, life is way too short. My identity is not in my successes or failures, but in Christ. And I wholly, completely believe in what I’m doing — I believe that my music is here to help people. I believe this documentary is going to empower people to activate their own creativity and pursue God’s calling with passion and purpose.
What’s some beauty seldom seen in Oklahoma?
I love this question. And hopefully, I’m understanding it correctly. I think Oklahoma’s unseen beauty is in the kindness and generosity of its residents. Oklahomans share a state pride that is rooted in connectedness, hospitality, and championing the underdog.
Anything else you want to say or let people know?
My music was simply created to be your friend–no matter who you are or what you believe. It was created to sit in the car with you, listen to you, and validate your emotions. It was made to pump you up and dance with you on road trips. Whatever season of life you are in, if my music can help you in any way, then I have achieved my highest goal.
For more question and answer sessions with creative people in Oklahoma from the Creator Conversation series, click here.