Award-winning country music singer/songwriter, Bri Bagwell, is often referred to as Texas’ Queen of Country Music. She recently won Single of the Year Award for her song, “Heroes,” as well as Best Female Vocalist from Texas Regional Radio Music Awards. We talked with her recently about her career in country music and her plans for the future
Do you come from a musical family?
My mom was always listening to the radio, blasting the TV turned to CMT for the music videos, and we hardly ever missed an American Country Countdown with Bob Kingsley. I have a very musical family, with a cousin who played steel guitar for Kenny Chesney, aunts who can play multiple instruments by ear, and an uncle with a band; also, my cousin Kip Calahan Young is a country singer who I adored and admired at a very young age. She would give me her old karaoke tapes to sing to, and I’d sit for hours with those cassette tapes and lyric sheets, practicing the melody and the harmonies.
When you were younger, did you aspire to be a singer or did you have another career choice in mind?
When I was little, I wanted to be a singer, actor, secretary, teacher, accountant (like my dad), clothing designer, you name it! Nobody ever told me that I couldn’t do everything, which makes me smile writing this. I’ve been performing on stage since I was three, and although I struggled with massive stage fright when I was younger, performing is always something that I’ve wanted to do.
So what do you like about living in Texas?
Texas is so unique in that it provides us with hundreds of options to play music. It is its own scene, with its own chart, awards, and vibe. I love living in a place where people take so much pride in their state and their own brand of music. Even though I’m from New Mexico, I’ve been in Texas for over 15 years, so it absolutely feels like a second home to me. For the most part, everyone is welcoming and friendly…and always willing to share their beer and BBQ.
Talk about your most recent awards.
Single of the Year (“Heroes“) from Texas Regional Radio Music Awards as well as Best Female Vocalist. Awards are always icing on the cake for me. I am most proud of the fact that I’ve been able to sustain a career solely in music for over ten years. Whenever I win an award, it’s a bonus! I think everyone doing this full time, especially female artists, deserves an award; but, it is fun to win.
What is your most favorite song and/or album you have produced, so far, and why?
The new album “Corazón y Cabeza” is most definitely my favorite. I know it’s common for artists to love their newest project, but I am confident that it is the highest quality of music that I’ve ever released, and the most that feels truly me. It’s my fifth album, and second project with producer Rachel Loy. I think we’ve really found our groove and discipline to pick the best songs and edit them meticulously (or not at all, if that’s what the song needs).
What’s your favorite Texas venue to play?
The legendary Gruene Hall is my favorite place to play. It was also the location of my new album release party that was held on August 27. I live in New Braunfels, Texas, so it’s just around the corner from me.
You’ve been in the music industry for a number of years now, what has been your biggest frustration? What has satisfied you the most about your career?
My biggest frustration recently has been replacing band and crew members. I am so lucky that I currently have five solid, genuinely kind, and talented band members right now. After COVID, many players in Texas (and I hear elsewhere, too) got other types of jobs, or just found out that they like to stay home! I had the hardest time putting together a band for months and months after the pandemic. What has satisfied me most is seeing my fans grow up with me. People are truly excited about this new record, and the amount of pre-orders and messages of support and excitement are so validating. I know I’m on the right path, because I feel an army of support behind me.
What are your future plans, hopes, or dreams?
My boyfriend and I are building a small house and a rental cottage on a piece of land we purchased. I have never owned a house or “a dirt” (as I call our newly acquired land). I do love to roam, and that will not change, but I can’t wait to have something that is truly ours. I’ll make more records for the rest of my life, and I have plans to write a book, host a podcast, and maybe dip my toes into acting. I guess I’m still that little girl at heart who believes I can do anything I want. I hope I never lose that!
Cover Photo courtesy Haley Hays
Bob Valleau is a freelance writer living in McKinney, Texas.