This spring, the singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist released “Up in the Air,” his first LP in six years. According to reviewers, it was worth the wait. “Almost flawless,” wrote Blurt magazine; “The News and Observer” described its “impeccable level of pop craftsmanship.” Brett, who lives in Hope Valley Farms with his wife, Rebecca, talks about music, why Durham is ideal for artists and where he likes to go for a run.
I was always making up songs. But we were a sports family. We didn’t listen to music. I have a brother who’s seven years older; he’d bring home music when he came home from college and that was fun, but it mostly wasn’t available. My junior year in high school, I got cut from our varsity baseball team. I was devastated. But that’s when I got really serious about picking up an instrument.
I teach at Let There Be Rock School on Garrett Road. We provide instruction and put the kids together to play, because that’s the best way to learn. I wish that’d been around when I was their age.
There’s a spirit about [Durham]. It’s very welcoming to creatives – a spirit of collaboration. Everybody is inspired to go that extra step, whether it’s food or music or architecture. I’ve lived here for over a decade, and now there’s so much to do. My wife and I try to make it a point to see shows when we’re around; we go to Motorco, and we love The Pinhook. We like record shopping, too – Bull City Records is great. Chaz Martenstein has turned me on to so much music.
My wife and I live near the American Tobacco Trail, and we try to run four or five days a week. We do a Wednesday night run club that meets at Fullsteam Brewery; it’s put on by Bull City Running Co. Everyone meets up, goes on a three- to five-mile run, and then meets up again. And we just ran a half marathon in Venice, Italy; it was a nighttime race. We wanted to have that experience of doing something we love in another culture.
We’ve been married for 12 years. We got married right after college at Wake Forest [University]. We had been looking for jobs and nothing seemed to pan out, so we said, let’s get married and then figure this out. My wife is really supportive and encouraging; I wouldn’t be doing it otherwise, not without her. I’ve been on the road for the better part of the last four months; that’s what you have to do to sell records. … Being an independent artist, it’s like a small business. That’s a sacrifice we both make.
Drop by Duke Coffeehouse Friday, September 30, at 8pm to catch Brett performing with Charlotte-based art rockers Hectorina.