We had the good fortune of connecting with Bri Bagwell and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Bri, have there been any changes in how you think about work-life balance?
I read somewhere, and apologies for not giving proper credit here where it is due, but the idea of “balance” is tricky. We are always striving to achieve this mysterious “balance,” and it feels like we never quite attain it. Or at least I was feeling like that. Instead, I think of everything as a necessary trade off. It makes me feel less like I’m failing at both, and more like I”m making a conscious choice of either work or personal life. I stick with that choice and dive into it fully. I recognize that if I choose date night, I’m giving up an evening of catching up, and I don’t check email. If I spend my Monday morning calling radio stations, I’m trading sleeping in on a rare day off, and choosing investment time with radio. But it is my choice to make, and I trust that I am making the best decision for me at the time. I used to feel like I had to be doing everything all at once: responding to texts right away, being 100% available through email 24/7… we all know the drill. But I am way more productive when I sit down to write songs and DO NOT LOOK AT MY PHONE. I’m able to tap into that deeper brain work (see the book “Deep Work” for this concept), and when I am done working through that chunk of time, I can live my personal life just as fully as my work life.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’ve been a full time singer-songwriter for ten years. I have a band that plays over 150 shows per year – well, except for last year #thanksCOVID – and I’ve made four records, with seven songs moving to #1 on the Texas Regional Radio Report. I was a former songwriter at Sony ATV, and I’ve been on TV shows such as Real Country on USA Network and CMT’s Next Superstar. I just won my 8th Texas Female Vocalist of the Year award, which makes me feel so humbled and honored (and also old, ha!).
I’ve tried literally every different avenue for my music and my career, from playing live as much as possible, to TV shows, to writing songs for other artists, to launching my own curated clothing collection, to writing a children’s book, you name it! I’ve been through every high and low you can experience being a musician, but I have never quit. I will say that the main reason that I am where I am today is perseverance and grit. It hasn’t always been pretty, but my journey has been a beautiful rollercoaster ride that I wouldn’t trade for anything!
When I started, there were not many females in the Texas scene. I’ve been seeing the number of females steadily grow, and I have met many that say that I inspired them to pursue a career in Texas music. I may not be at the ACMs or selling out stadiums, but I feel that if my purpose was to make it more normal to be a female in our unique industry, then I’m very happy and proud of that.
I’d like people to know that I am so thankful for Texas radio, venues, and fans for embracing my music as they have. I still can’t believe that I get to sing my songs for a living, in the scene that I have loved for so long.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I would first check out who is playing at the Granada Theater, Gas Monkey Live!, Texas Live!, Adairs, House of Blues… obviously there are so many great live music venues in Dallas, you could spend all of your time watching and supporting live music. And, Rangers and Cowboys games??? Yes please.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
I feel a little strange thanking beer and whiskey companies on here, but! These companies support independent artists like myself by giving sponsorships and keeping us on the road. During quarantine, I have no idea what I would’ve done without our sponsorships. I think it is such a blessing that Texas companies prioritize Texas music! I’ve been working with Rebecca Creek Whiskey out of San Antonio for 8 years, and Karbach Brewing Company out of Houston for two years. I’ve been able to make records, buy trailers/vehicles, etc all with the help of these two amazing companies.
Personal first photo: Melanie O’Neil Photo 1 (white with guitar): Jordan Fischels Photography. Photo 3 (live in Steamboat Colorado): Todd Purify Photos 2, 4, 5: Melanie O’Neil *Photo 5 is my new clothing collection with The Glam Wagon