It is just impossible to be in the presence of Brei Carter and it not put a smile on your face. Brei radiates the love she has for all that is life and especially her passion for Country music, people and above all the Lord. This infectious (in a good way) Country singer/songwriter has been spreading the blessing of her energy, voice and light across the nation. My humble prediction is 2022 is going to be a very Brei Carter year and this infusion of positivity and talent is just the right prescription for the Country music industry!
2021 proved to be Brei’s breakout year, as she took her latest single “Gave Him A Girl” to Country radio. The song was immediately recognized as “cute and catchy” by Country music historian Robert K. Oermann in his weekly column for Music Row Magazine. The song has already charted on several charts and continues to receive wide spread play on radio across the country. "My song “Gave Him A Girl” is a true story written by Mason Douglas, Jason Wyatt and myself. It’s a reminder that as a girl, a woman, I can be rough and tough, and I can also be a lady," Brei stated, as she finds none of the roles in life are mutually exclusive, they all have their place.
The video also follows suit and hints at scenes from Brei's upbringing as a little girl, her family's influence on her, and shows the very authentic and vivacious southern persona she is building a reputation for. The video made its network TV premiere in October on The Country Network, along with airings on Country Music Today on The Heartland Network, and is in continuous rotation on live-streaming Nashville Country Music TV.
Carter travelled this past year doing a radio tour throughout several states, and performed live on RFD-TV to honor veterans and those who lost their lives on 9/11. During the tour Carter appeared on WoodSongs Old Time Radio Hour at Lyric Theater in Lexington, Kentucky and on several occasions at the Listening in Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. A highlight of 2021 came when she attended the CMAs with her publicist Jason Ashcraft.
Brei also released a heartfelt tribute song to one of her biggest musical influences growing up, Charley Pride, covering his signature #1 hit song, “Kiss An Angel Good Mornin”. This song project she described as being “awe-struck” while putting it together as she will always remember listening to her father singing that song to her while growing up in Louisiana. The release of a new video for the tribute song is upcoming. "Unfortunately, Charley passed away too soon, so his song is just a reminder that life really is precious. You say ‘I love you,’ ‘I’m sorry’ and you share yourself completely with those you love. Tomorrow isn’t promised to any of us," Brei commented.
Brei, since her relocation to Nashville in 2019, has been writing and recording authentic Country crossover songs which are collectively reflective of her diverse group of musical inspirations. Nashville has given her the creative freedom to pursue her own craft of songwriting. Brei has also quickly established herself in the songwriters community as a smooth and sometimes edgy songstress who melds Country, Soul and Southern Pop into one fused personal style. She wasted no time joining the vibrant songwriters community along Music Row, collaborating with Nashville locals Cory Lee Barker, Mason Douglas, and Jason Wyatt on her initial eight single releases since 2019.
Those songs are so individually diverse, much like most of her musical heroines. From the cheeky declarations in "Country Choir", her soulful vocal bliss on the self-reflective "Smiling", her cheery southern twang and lyrical playfulness on "Here’s To Nowhere," and her vivacious energy in her Country dance song "Brand New Country", her smooth and sometimes edgy style of Country and Southern Pop is exactly what connects with today’s Country music fans. There is something for every Country music fan in Brei Carter's music.
Brei's early life, although not a smooth ride at all, laid the foundations important for this multi-degreed firmly rooted new star to emerge. Growing up her family was very close. Living in Louisiana they would have big Sunday dinners after church. They were a family that prayed together, sang together, played together, loved one another, and stood together. Carter grew up in the church choir amongst her mom, grandmother, aunts, cousins and an uncle. Although she grew up singing in a Gospel choir she also had exposure to her other influences Soul, Rock, R&B, and Country stating that "I always loved traditional Country music". Carter's aunt on her father's side was even part of a Country band in Oregon.
While she always loved singing as a little girl but as she got older she lost her voice and her confidence. Something happened, as she remembers that, "When I was younger I dreamed of being a Country singer but I didn’t believe in myself." Growing up had its tough moments especially when her parents divorced and she tried to hide behind her smile and thought she could hope and wish her troubles away. Carter felt blessed later when her mother remarried and she received what she called "a bonus dad".
Brei loved her youth in that, "I grew up a little bit of the city, but a whole lot of country. I went from the Bayou to the Bay, and then back to the Bayou. Originally I’m from Monroe, Louisiana. I spent my childhood in Louisiana, Oregon, L.A. and San Francisco. I had the best of both worlds, the country and the city. The experience taught me early on to love all people from everywhere. I grew up with strong Christian roots and that gave me the foundation to make it through anything. Hunting, fishing, chickens, roosters, horses, combines, crops and a whole lot of love was what I was exposed to. In the south it’s true when they say it takes a village to raise a child because we were a close knit family who prayed together and played together. Working from sunup to sundown, going to church, listening to music and singing in the choir was a part of everyday life so to speak."
Citing important music influences such as Charley Pride, Loretta Lynn, Aretha Franklin, and her growing interest in music and lyrics, Brei began writing her own poetry and short stories as a young girl. “I would write these little short stories which I could also hear myself singing in my head, and I could visualize singing them to large audiences,” Brei reminisced. Carter remembers her first talent show was when she lived in LA, she grabbed the mic and worked the stage singing "I Will Survive" by Gloria Gaynor. She just loved singing and dreamed of the day that she could sing all the time. However, as the years passed, those poems and stories inevitably got bottled up into her psyche while she successfully pursued other life callings in education and military service.
Before becoming the dynamic and vivacious Country singer she is today, Brei got busy earning a Bachelor’s in Business from University of Louisiana at Monroe, a Master's in International Relations from Webster University, and a Doctorate in Theology from New Foundation Theological Seminary. Brei managed to travel and she is also a proud Veteran of the U.S. Army, where she served as an enlisted soldier and as an officer. Wow, Brei Carter has charged through life with a vitality that is seldom seen but she herself clearly remains as humble a person as you could meet.
As an adult, Brei had put the dreams of being a Country artist aside. When her biological father passed in 2014, it became clear that her dreams should not wait any longer, and she felt that singing was the path that God was leading her on. So she buried her father and her music career was born. “I basically had just let life happen and had many victories and mistakes along the way, like we all do,” Brei came to realize. “After college and my military service, while working in the corporate medical device industry, I constantly had that feeling that there was something more that I was supposed to be doing with my life.”
And so it was that after the death of her biological father, she finally decided it was time to follow her lifelong dream of becoming a Country music recording artist, singer-songwriter. After discussing it with her mother, they agreed this is what she was born to do. “Life really is precious, and if God gives you a gift, you better use it, and live to the fullest,” Brei confidently said. “You only get one chance in this lifetime, and we all have a choice. I choose to live, and I choose to sing!” She gave up a six figure a year job with great benefits to basically invest six figures into her music career. After two years of artist development, traveling, investing in herself, she realized that she had made the right choice.
"It was interesting because what it comes down to is that I’m working for myself, investing in myself, and believing in myself more than ever. There’s no turning back. In life I’ve made a lot of sacrifices for others and now God is giving me the desires of my heart and using me in a different way to give back. He’s letting me give back through my voice, through more love and through charity. "
While 2021 has had its share of highs and lows, Brei's philosophy is that we all have to hop on the roller coaster of life and hang on for a wild ride at times. It’s kind of like a plane ride, too. Sometimes it’s smooth and sometimes there’s a little turbulence, but in the end through God's grace there’s a landing that provides relief, making it worth the ride.
According to Brei Carter in 2021, "I learned by the support of my mom and the love of God to believe in myself no matter what. I even wrote a song during the pandemic called “Stronger Than That,” with Wayne Burton. It’s my story. It’s someone else’s story. You just have to realize that you are stronger than any setback or disappointment that you may have encountered. You have just what you need inside of you to make it and succeed. You have to start believing in yourself. Have faith in God that He’s given you just what you need. I am looking forward to embracing an out with the old, in with the new, mentality in 2022. It’s a new year and a new beginning for me. The pandemic has slowed some things down tremendously for me over the past couple years, but I was able to release some great music in 2021, including “Gave Him A Girl,”
Carter has come to realize that no matter how many “no’s” you get, there is a “yes” waiting around the corner for you. She doesn't get discouraged no matter how long things are taking and feels everything happens when it’s supposed to, on God's time, not hers. "Like God loves us unconditionally we should learn to love others the same. We should think before we speak and it’s never ok to abuse anyone physically, spiritually or mentally," Brei said. One of the songs on her upcoming album titled "Love Don't Look Like This" tackles the issue of abuse.
Carter has been working and writing with Carl Ray and Wood Newton. She has also been creating with internationally known producer and songwriter Curt Ryle of Black Ribbon Records and has recorded in his studio Big Matador. She is scheduled to be back in his studio on January 9th, 2022 to finish recording the last song of her greatly anticipated, still untitled, full length album, to be released in first half of 2022. "I’ve had some great opportunities to work with some really good people. I say they’re my angels! My Godsend people", Brei gushes.
Brei Carter is hoping to bring joy to many people and to be a voice for those that have something to say but didn’t have the courage or strength to say it. Carter's music is her, because that’s all she knows how to be. Passionate about music and making a difference, including helping make life better for all veterans whom she feels the world has forgotten about by working with a charity that helps and focuses on soldiers called CreatiVets. Carter is determined that through her music, education, dedication, determination and most of all with God’s Grace she will make a difference and leave a positive footprint on this earth. Putting your self forward in life is so important to Brei, as "We only get one life, so go where you’re celebrated and not just tolerated."
There is no way in this simple article that I can even begin to give you an inkling of how dynamic and specially talented Brei Carter is as an artist and a person. I have no doubt that 2022 will be the year Brei Carter is recognized for the exceptional person and Country Icon she shall become.
"Do without limits! Don’t limit yourself as so many others do. Don’t let them put you in a box and don’t put yourself in one! Remembering that I can do All things through Christ which strengthens me." states Brei Carter. "Music makes me feel free. Music makes me feel like anything is possible. Music bridges the gaps in cultures. Music calms a storm. Music has no barriers or colors. Music, I could never live without it!"
By Deborah Gibson