From Springfield,GA to Music City, USA
It seems that all roads to country stardom, or at least a career in the country music business, lead to the Nashville music scene. Every year, thousands of young people make their way to Music City, USA to make it or break it. Springfield’s own country music singer and songwriter Brian Fuller is one of those young aspiring performers looking to break into the big time. Having uprooted himself from Georgia in order to make his dreams a reality, he is working hard in the famed capital of country music. Brian is busy writing original songs and performing music, paying his dues and learning his craft.
He started out on a high note as a finalist in a nationwide music competition, the NASH Next Local Find 2018. Brian was the winner of the NASH Next regional competition, performing his original song “Buzzin’ Like You.” That win made him a finalist and one of the ten contestants flown to Nashville for the national NASH finale event where a panel of celebrity judges, including Big Machine Label Group’s Scott Borchetta and Brooks & Dunn’s Kix Brooks, judged the completion at the Wildhorse Saloon in October 2018.
Although he didn’t take the top prize, being a finalist in the contest was terrific exposure and a learning experience for him. “I had a great time being in NASH,” Brian says, “I made a lot of friends and I met people in the industry and made a lot of professional connections. It was a really positive experience.” Brian says he moved to Nashville three months ago in order to devote himself full time to his music career. He says, “I had been coming to Nashville as much as I could before I moved here, going back and forth, and couch surfing at friends’. And for weeks at a time, I was touring all over the southeast. Now that I have officially moved here I can write every day, perform when I can, and go out at night and network .I love it!” Getting out and networking is crucial to any newcomer as these are the people that can one day help you get a job, get a gig, or land a contract. Brian says he was able to plug into the music scene pretty easily thanks to friends he had made while coming to Nashville over the last couple of years. He says “I had a couple of friends take me out and show me around when I first got here, because it is important to network, to get out and meet people.” He says he has adapted well from small town life to the big city, “it’s not as bad as I thought it would be but I still look forward to being home in Georgia with my friends and family.”
Industry insiders say that playing an instrument and learning the craft of songwriting are two major advantages when attempting to attain success in the music industry. Brian scores big on both points, and says he considers himself equally a singer and a songwriter. “I am ten minutes from downtown, which is great because there is always something going on. I go to different Writers Rounds three or four times a week. At Writers Round, a songwriter sings their song and then the next sings a song and so on. They just go around the circle or down a row playing in turn. One of my main places is Whiskey Jam on Monday night. I am usually in the Demonbreun neighborhood at Live Oak or Tin Roof Revival, and midtown at Red Door and
Losers and Winners. There are Writer Rounds all over town and they are completely packed.
“Most songwriters feel they have hit gold when a song they write connects with their audience. Being themselves and letting the music come from their heart brings an honest dimension to the craft.” Brian says when he is performing his own songs on stage, “It’s a whole different feeling. As an artist, when you’ve written the words and music, when you’ve wrote what you are singing, it is extremely gratifying.” “Buzzin’ Like You”, “Keeps Me Singing Along” and “Myself” are original songs of Brian’s (you can listen to them on his website) and he says he has more original tunes in the pipeline. Ultimately he says, “My goal right now is just writing as much as I can, working towards putting out new music for my fans and working towards a publishing contract and a record deal.”
A record deal and a ‘pub’ contract mean two different things in the music industry. When you sign a publishing contract, the music publisher (or publishing company) works with you to secure commissions for your original work and promotes your existing compositions to recording artists, film and television. In addition, they are responsible for ensuring the songwriters and composers receive payment when their compositions are used commercially. That is different than a recording contract. A recording contract is a legal agreement between a record label and a recording artist, where the artist makes a record for the label to sell and promote. Typically a new artist makes a demo and works very hard to create a fan base, gain momentum and make as many personal connections in the music business as possible in order to obtain a record deal.
The 21 year old Georgia native has been performing since he was twelve years old. The first time Brian ever sang in public was at a Memorial Day festival at Buckingham Plaza on Highway 30. He can still recall the three songs he sang that day- “My Kind of Crazy,” “In Color,” and “Don’t Think I Can’t Love You.” Making music has been an integral part of his life as long as he can remember. “I’ve been playing music since I was a little kid,” says Brian, “I got my first guitar when I was seven, and started on drums when I was probably four or five, and I picked up other instruments along the way. My uncle played in a band and I thought it was cool!”
Brian continued singing professionally throughout his teen years. He performed at school talent shows, the Old Effingham Days Festival and the Effingham County Fair. He opened for Chuck Courtenay, The Lacs and Josh Sanders as well as performing at various restaurants in Richmond Hill, South Carolina and the Island Grill in Port Wentworth. Since then Brian has put together his own band and they have been touring throughout the south, playing dates from Michigan to south Georgia.
Brian continues to tour with his band but on a smaller scale. “I toured a good bit but I’ve pulled back so I could write more at this time. The bigger picture for me is to continue writing a lot, one or two songs a week that I like. I could keep playing every weekend in a cover band but that’s not my long term goal.” Says Brian, “I am working on having a good catalog of original music, because I want to have a long career and I have learned in the music industry to play my cards right.”
Having said that, Brian says he looks forward to releasing new music by the end of the year or the start of next year and getting back on the road with a new show and new original music. Being loyal to his fans and getting out there is very important to him, as he says, “My supporters are the best and I love performing for fans, new and old, everywhere I can, especially with new music I hope they are going to love.”
“I miss my family and friends, but all I have ever wanted to do since I was a kid was my music.” he says, “I strive to be the best person I can be, to learn as much as I can about this business, and to be as smart about it as I can. Country music is my inspiration and I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
And neither would his supporters, which are growing in number from his loyal friends and family in small town Georgia to all his new friends and fans in the big city in Tennessee and beyond.