BRYNN ELLIOTT's smart pop seeks the authentic Internet You

WORDS BY IRVIN RIVERA

24 year-old Harvard Graduate Brynn Elliott is entering the pop music scene with her fun “smart pop” bops that are geared to take over the charts. The singer/songwriter have toured with Alanis Morisette, Brandi Carlile and Grace Potter and her single “Might Not Like Me” reached number 12 on the Billboard Adult Top 40 chart.

In this exclusive interview, Brynn shared to us her love for books, growing up in Atlanta, college applications, her music career, her desire to work with Ed Sheeran and her EP Time of Our Lives.  

PHOTOGRAPHY:  RACHEL DEEB

PHOTOGRAPHY: RACHEL DEEB

Hi Brynn, Tell us about your story in a nutshell.

I am a book nerd who writes pop music.

 

How was it growing up in Atlanta, Georgia?

I loved growing up in Atlanta. People call it the New York of the South and I think that’s a good way to out it. I was exposed to a lot of art at a young age and Atlanta is actually so green. There are so many trees! So I was able to really embrace the outdoors.

When did music start for you?

My grandfather, Papaw, claims that he taught me how to sing when I was a baby. And that side of the family is indeed very musical. So in a sense music has always been there for me. But I really started to do my own thing with it when I decided to apply to college in high school. No one in my family had ever applied to college before. So it was actually a pretty stressful process trying to figure out how to do it. We had to Google “how to apply to college.” I was so overwhelmed with the process - I felt like a human resume. I just wanted to do something totally outside of applying to college so one day I saw my Dad’s old guitar in the corner and asked him if I could play it. I started to watch tutorials on YouTube on how to play guitar and every single night that was my way to feel like a whole person again. It was the way I decompressed after school and eventually I started writing my own songs.

What inspires you? Where do you get your inspirations to create music?

I get a lot of inspiration from reading. The words and phrases, characters and plot lines that I absorb through reading really do inform my songwriting more than anything else. And when I read something that corresponds to something I’ve experience in my life - game over, a song’s coming.

 

Who are your music idols?

Brandi Carlile, Bono, Avril Lavigne, and Alanis Morrisette to name a few.

 

How would you describe your music?

Smart pop

Does your degree in Philosophy ever come in to play with your music?

Definitely. My first single of my debut EP was a song inspired by the women I studied in my thesis for my philosophy degree. They were women in the 17th century England who decided they wanted to do philosophy even though that was a thing that women did back then. They didn't live in fear and they didn't care if people didn't like it. They tried to contribute to the conversation. I took a whole class on these women the same semester that I experience a break-up - both of these experiences informed the writing of that song. And every other song on the EP has a similar origin story.


Walk us to your music-making process. How does it usually go down?

For me it starts with an idea or concept and a small melodic moment on guitar or piano. My best songs have been written entirely on guitar before they are produced out and I really like to write that way.

 

Tell us the story about your EP Time of Our Lives. What’s the story behind it?

All five of the songs were written over the four years I was in college. They really are a documentation of how incredible an experience college was for me and what I learned - I learned that its okay if people don’t like you. I learned to embrace the moment. I learned that who people are on the Internet are not always who they are in real life. I learned that its okay to be nostalgic and miss your friends when you are away on winter break. And I learned that falling in love is one of the most beautiful, philosophical and true things we could ever experience as human beings.

 

Do you have a specific favorite song in the EP?

I love tongue tied because when I get to play it live it takes be back to where it all started for me - just me and an instrument.

 

Which artist (dead or alive) do you dream to work with?

Ed Sheeran. I am deeply inspired by his songwriting and his work ethic and I just would love to make a song with him someday.


Have you ever done karaoke? If yes, what’s your go-to karaoke song?

I love karaoke. My go-to is, It’s All Coming Back to Me Now by Celine Dion

 

If you’re not doing music, what else keeps you busy?

Reading, hanging with my family, taking walks.

 

If you were a book, what book would you be and why?

A Tolstoy novel - deep but with a strong desire to communicate things in a simple,

accessible way.