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STAR Views: Brittany Wells

By: Estella Pan

Brittany Wells is turning heads – not only with her tall stature and evident beauty – but also with her compelling voice that lets you know she’s believes in the music she sings! In this interview, this former Miss Teen Texas shares her experiences of recording her debut album, various neat opportunities her career has afforded her, and she gives some practical advice about which foods to rule out before going in to lay down vocal tracks.

Brittany Wells

Estella: Having been performing since a young age, at what point in your life did you decide that you wanted to pursue a career as a recording artist?
Brittany: Well, I actually began competing in the Miss Teen Texas system, because it gave me a lot of opportunities to perform on the weekends. That's basically the main reason I got involved, and through doing that, I realized that I could make a career out of [singing]. So, I was about fourteen or fifteen when I decided that I wanted to pursue a country music career.

Estella: Also, growing up in Texas probably had something to do with it, too!
Brittany: Yes – there are a lot of country music influences down here in Texas!

Estella: You grew up in Texas but were actually born in England.
Brittany: Yes, I was born in England, because my dad was in the Air Force; he graduated from the Academy, and he was stationed over in England. Then, my mom and he got married, moved over to England, and I was born there and lived there until I was two. Then, we ended up coming back here to the states. I don't remember anything from it, but we went back [to England] about a year ago, and I got to see where I born, where I lived, and all the places my mom would take me to go shopping! So, that was fun!

Estella: Going back to Texas, you won the Miss Teen Texas title one year, correct?
Brittany: Right, it was in 2002. You get to do a lot of fun things – speak in schools about your platform, which mine was character education. I also went and sang for the House of Representatives for Texas; I sang the National Anthem to open their meeting. You get a lot of really neat opportunities that you wouldn't normally have.

Estella: It's wonderful to hear that you had a real positive experience, because there tends to be certain stereotypes towards beauty pageants.
Brittany: There really is. I can't think of anything negative that came out of it all. I met so many wonderful people, made so many connections, and gained a lot of self-confidence. It really just made me realize that there's a lot out there.

Estella: Growing up, who was the most influential person to you, musically speaking?
Brittany: When I was younger, I loved Garth Brooks – I still remember that my brothers and I would listen to him in the car all the time when I was in elementary school. "Friends in Low Places" was so big back then! When he performs, he's a lot of fun to watch! Right now, Martina McBride – I think she's a great role model for girls – high school teenagers, because she's a great family-oriented person. She's wonderful with her kids, she has a great voice, and she has wonderful stage presence. So, I really like her. It's amazing how small Martina is and that big voice that come out of her! Also Faith Hill I really like, too. Her song, "There Will Come a Day" – I love that song!! I'd like on my next album to have some Christian-influential songs like that on there. Actually, I almost went the Christian music path, but then I thought country is definitely my favorite.

Estella: Your debut single was "From Harm's Way." How did you find that song?
Brittany: My producer, Wyatt Easterling, wrote that song, and he thought that I would have a great voice for it. I really liked the song – it's in the perspective of a soldier's wife or spouse wanting them to come home safely. I think it's a message of hope. I can't even imagine what the families of these soldiers are thinking right now, and I know [the families] really hoping for them to come home. My dad was involved in that kind of thing for a while, being in the Air Force, and I can't imagine if my dad or brothers had to go off to war!

Estella: Just not knowing if they’re going to come back or not.
Brittany: Exactly! I've been so overwhelmed with e-mails that have been sent from my website from these soldiers' wives, saying how this song really helps them through each day, and they like to listen to it to give them inspiration. It's really sweet! Those are my favorite e-mails, by far!

Estella: You also filmed a video for "From Harm's Way." Did you enjoy the experience?
Brittany: It was a lot bigger of a deal than I thought it was going to be; I didn't realize how many people are involved from the lighting crew to hold up the microphones. Then, there's hair and makeup, too. So many people are involved, and it's a huge group effort to be able to put it together! But, we shot in Pensacola, Florida, at the Navy base down there. Everyone there was so nice, and it was great meeting all the guys there! We shot some scenes on the beach as well. Something that's scary, too, is that right after we shot that video, a hurricane came through, and it ended up wiping out every place that we shot at! My video director who shot the video [Flick Wiltshire] is actually from Florida, and he went back there and said that it's just amazing how different everything looks from when we shot the video. But, it was a great experience – I had so much fun! It was a lot of work, but it was really fun work!!

Estella: In accordance with the song, you launched Operation From Harm's Way. Can you talk about what that is and how you became involved with it?
Brittany: Sure! My team put together Operation From Harm's Way, and what we’re doing is people can go to http://www.GACtv.com and download my ringtones – there are three different ones [to the melody of "From Harm's Way"]. The money from each ringtone purchased goes straight towards buying phone cards for the troops over in Iraq, so that they can talk to their families back at home. I really felt like I wanted to give something back to them, because they're doing so much as it is. And, I know that it costs something like 79 cents a minute to talk from Iraq, which is absolutely insane! So, I think it's great for them to be given phone cards, because it's so important for them to keep in touch with their families. You can think about them all you want, but hearing them on the phone when you’re across the ocean is so inspirational, and it can really help them get through what they're doing over there.

Estella: What kind of songs were you looking for?
Brittany: I spent a few months just looking for songs before I started recording. My producer helped me find songs by going to different publishing houses and people were pitching me music. I narrowed it down to fifty songs, then narrowed it down again based on my own life experiences and how I feel. I have to make sure I can relate to every song, so I'm not singing something I don't know anything about. I was looking for some upbeat songs and ones that people can relate to. I think that when somebody listens to my album, there will be at least one song they will like, because each one is so different; there are a wide variety of songs.

Estella: Sounds like you had at least some say in what songs you wanted on your album.
Brittany: Oh definitely!

Estella: Wouldn't it be intimidating if you always had someone telling what you could and couldn't record?
Brittany: I don't think I would do it, because that wouldn't be very much fun! If people are like, "It's going to sell!" But, I'd think, It might sell, but it had nothing to do with me! And, I just don't like it when people boss me around. Obviously, I take a lot of advice and guidance, but if someone was telling me what to wear, what to sing, and all that kind of thing, then I can't be an individual. You can't be your own person; you'll just be formed into some mold that that someone else is making you out to be. I've never been like that; I've always done my own thing.

Estella: Do you have a favorite track off the album?
Brittany: I have two favorites, actually. There's "Too Long" and "Somebody’s Somebody." "From Harm's Way" is a great song, but I really like upbeat music! I feel like it shows my personality a little bit more. "Kick Down the Door" is good, too! It’s so fun to perform that song live because I can really get into! It has a lot of attitude and spunk in it – I love that song!! But, on the album, I really like all the songs on it; there's none that I don't like. It wasn’t like I went in there and started recording some song that I hate.

Estella: What was the best part about making your debut album?
Brittany: I thought the best part was watching how the studio musicians laid down the tracks! They came in not knowing the songs, and they would look at charts for five minutes, then go in and play it! It was so amazing how talented they were, and it really inspired me to start practicing the piano more. I've played the piano for eight years, but I can't play like those musicians can play! They've been playing for a really long time, and they go from studio to studio to lay down tracks. So, I was so impressed at how great they were! That was really fun!! Also, I was overwhelmed with how much work it is for doing vocals – I'd go in at eight in the morning and finish at nine or ten that night. You might have a lunch break, but [other than that], you just keep going. But, it was a great experience! I don't think there is anything negative about it! You have to have a lot of stamina to do it!

Estella: You mentioned long studio hours. Can you give us an idea how many songs get tracked during that time period?
Brittany: It depends on the day. Like, one day, I ate cheese, and I couldn't sing for the rest of the day, because I didn't know you couldn't have cheese – it really messes up your vocal chords.
Estella: Oh, yes! Like milk, it coats your vocal chords, so you can't sing well.
Brittany: Right – I didn’t know this! So, that day, I did one song, but sometimes I can do up to three or four songs. It also sort of depends on how focused we are. Sometimes, there's a lot of hanging out time and getting to talk to each other. Other times, it's just work.

Estella: Will you be heading to Nashville for CRS in March?
Brittany: Oh yeah! We've booked our rooms, and we're good to go! I'm very excited about it – I heard it’s really fun!

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