Our guest this week on the Art of the Song Mid-Week Coffee Break is Kansas City-based singer/songwriter Wyatt Brewer, who will be releasing his new EP “Factory Made”, December 10.
Wyatt Brewer started at age 4 helping my dad in his home 4-Track studio. Helping unplug wires and making the intricate spaghetti work on older modeled equipment, paved the way to doing the same things on digital equipment in our new digital age. Wyatt learned guitar from my dad at age 10 in the year 2000. He performed in talent shows through middle and high school, and found enjoyment in writing his own songs at age 14. He has had a couple song placements in advertising, but most of his love is in finding new ways to tell the same stories we have always known: Love, pain, death, and rebirth. December 10th will be his first official release. It is an EP titled, “Factory Made.”
Katie: I’m sitting here with Wyatt Brewer, who is a Standing ‘O’ artist and who I met at Folk Alliance this year. Wyatt, welcome. It is so great to talk with you today.
Wyatt: Thank you, Katie. Thanks for having me.
Katie: So you’re coming out with a new EP called “Factory Made” in December, which is really exciting. It’s your first EP. Congratulations.
Wyatt: Thank you.
Katie: So we’re going to get all into that in just a little bit but, before we do, I just want to get back into how you started in music.
Wyatt: From the time I was a baby, my dad had a home studio. While my mom was an airport officer, my dad was a stay-at-home dad and he would write and record songs all day on a four-track reel-to-reel recording unit. So from the time I was a baby, I would watch it and watch the spinning and the lights and would come running when I would hear certain songs that I really liked that he was working on. When I got to about age four I was able to start pulling out wires and helping him plug things in some of the hard-to-reach places on it. I got to be part of that and also get to talk into my first microphones and sing, if that’s what you can call it at that age. Kind of more like yell into it. From there, I just continued to get raised with it. My dad would go through different technologies as he would go along into different home recording units. Then, when I was ten, he taught me how to play guitar and, from there, I was able to play my first couple talent shows. I played a lot of Beatles and Bob Dylan because that’s what my dad was into.
Katie: Beatles and Bob Dylan.
Wyatt: Oh yeah. That’s right. So that was my thing for a while. It wasn’t until I was fourteen when I wrote my first song. From there, I took a turn because before that I just really liked playing other people’s music, but the moment I did that, I realized that’s what I wanted to do. That’s what’s led me to here.
Katie: What I find so fascinating about your story is that what drew you in initially it seems like was the technology, which makes your EP title “Factory Made” so ironic. I was just like, “Wow, that is really perfect.”
Wyatt: That’s awesome. I never even thought about that.
Katie: I was stalking you a little bit beforehand and I happened to hear that story and I was like, “That’s so interesting.” Is technology and that aspect of music still a really big part of songwriting for you?
Wyatt: Yes it is. For me, I really love my computers and all of my New Age toys and everything but I do the same thing that my dad did and I’m always finding new ways to use that equipment. Find new settings for my keyboard. I get a lot of inspiration from that and it’s something that I always had just a natural knack for. So, yes, I definitely love my technology and it helps fuel what I do and also balance out the other side of me that likes being really stripped down, just a guy with a guitar whenever I perform. It just balances me out.
Katie: Absolutely. I really saw that on your EP as well because you’ve got these really lovely acoustic songs. You’ve got “Playlist” which has this really beautiful guitar and violin aspect in there and it’s really stripped down to-the-heart sort of thing. And then you’ve got this “Factory Made” which is this very technologically-driven song.
Wyatt: Complete opposite.
Katie: I just thought it was just such a beautiful and interesting balance that you don’t typically see. A lot of people like to stay in one realm and it seems like you like to travel through the different genres. How would you describe your music? What genre would you fit it into if you could fit it into it?
Wyatt: Honestly, I put myself into an alternative acoustic category. The reason why is that alternative covers the eccentric side of me which is like “Factory Made” that has a lot of non-real instruments in there making a lot of awesome sounds but then, at the same time, I have my acoustic that’s really stripped down, just basic. Almost like a folky feel to it. But when I’m live, actually all I have is my acoustic guitar and voice so that’s where I end up being in a middle ground where I talk about things that are more on the alternative level, but I keep it very down-to-earth with my acoustic sound.
Katie: I was also thinking about this sort of technologically driven side of you, and it really came through, for the audience out there we recently did this 48 hour songwriting competition and we were doing it at the same time and commiserating, but Wyatt’s song, which I got the pleasure of hearing (which is really great, by the way, I very much enjoyed that), but it had this very cool electronic piano sort of part to it.
Wyatt: So much piano.
Katie: So much piano! It was great because I’ve only ever heard you before listening to your music but I mostly heard you on guitar so it was a really nice surprise for me. Do you do a lot of those competitions? It seems like that was a big part of it from the beginning for you.
Wyatt: For me songwriting competitions have been the fuel for my fire. Because, of my own accord, songs don’t always come through me at a natural pace but I absolutely love constructive competition. The thing that really fueled my songwriting was back in 2011 when I found out about some songwriting competitions and I jumped into them and ended up placing as a semi-finalist in a couple of them and I was like, “This feels awesome.” When they give you some little prompt it feeds it because it’s like, “Ok, I have this amount of time to execute exactly what I need.” It just brings something out of me that I can’t get from just sitting there and saying, “Today I’m going to write a song.” I’ve got to have that gun to my head honestly to really get me in there.
Katie: Yeah, absolutely. There was this great creativity corner. We have this on Art of the Song these segments sometimes called the Creativity Corner and there was this great essay by the artist Essence and she was talking about how you get inspiration for songwriting and she was like, “Sometimes it’s a lightning strike and a lot of time it’s like a slow cooker”. So I was thinking about this in reference to you and I was also listening to your interview on KC Cafe Radio and you were saying that sometimes you get those lightning strike inspirations but you tend to do this writing every day. So it seems like by the time you have that gun to your head with the songwriting competition that you already have enough practice and things to draw on. Do you go back when you have these songwriting competitions and pull on lines or just things that you write every day?
Wyatt: Honestly I don’t because for those I really try to be a purist on it. Just like, for our competition, we didn’t know what it was going to be.
Katie: Yeah, there’s nothing going in there.
Wyatt: Then all the sudden it’s just like “Oh! Well you got to do Bob Dylan, Katie”. Or I got to do Ah-ha. So I didn’t have anything to draw off of. So the first thing I did. I was 24 hours late, which I believe you said you had done the same thing to yourself.
Katie: Oh yeah. I started at like 1 am on Sunday morning and I was like, “Oh I guess I should write something!”
Wyatt: “Oh yeah, I’m in a competition.”
Katie: Yeah, let’s give into my procrastination tendencies. Turn it in two minutes before the deadline. There we go.
Wyatt: Yeah and you did it though. You got it. For me I started with the keyboard because it was all about being like Ah-ha and the song “Take On Me”. So it was like guitar doesn’t fit in that realm so it was just keyboard and from there I found something that sounded kind of hooky, laid it down, and from there just listened to it over and over and just started writing lyrics as I went. But I believe because I practice on a daily basis of songwriting and doing these kind of competitions that it’s kind of musical muscle and because it’s worked out on a daily basis, it’s strong. When the time arises, I’m prepared because it’s what I do anyways.
Katie: Yeah, absolutely. I really appreciate that you have that approach to it. Speaking of Ah-Ha though and influences, let’s talk about some of your influences. I know The Beatles were a big influence for you, who else would you say influenced your songwriting style?
Wyatt: The weird thing is that I don’t follow any particular band or artist, but I take things from a lot of different ones. I’ve never been able to listen to too many bands’ CDs front to back because I always get bored about halfway through because they’re the same sounds and it’s terrible because I love other artists and everything but I can’t stomach it.
Katie: But that seems like that, in itself, is an inspiration for you because we were talking about earlier that you have a lot of diversity in your EP and the way that you do it and it seems like maybe the fact that you were having trouble listening through some CDs maybe because they have the same sounds maybe influenced you and your style as an artist.
Wyatt: 100%. You nailed that, Katie. For me, I love the alternative band alt-J and how, with them, they can change a song halfway through the song and go into almost a completely new song but it still be the same song. It’s like a middle eight but it ends up becoming it’s whole own form within a song and then they’ll come back to the original idea a couple minutes later and I find that so inspiring. Although I would never do the style that they do, I love that they can just change a song mid-stream and have it be completely different. So I try to bring that into my writing. I really love the lyrical genius of Ed Sheeran. He has such an awesome use of words. That inspires me. Although, once again, I hear two or three of his songs lined up and they end up falling into the category so I get bored. But it’s those little things I can take from it that inspire me.
Katie: Well, you are the true artist of the ADD Millennial generation here.
Wyatt: Thank you!
Katie: But I think that’s really interesting. You’re changing with the times and you’re getting attuned to the spirit of the way that we consume music nowadays and trying to also draw people in enough to say, “Here. Listen to this entire EP or CD that I have and get involved with it because I may provide enough diversity to feed your mind and keep you entertained and keep you so you’re not all ADD-ing it out on me here.”
Katie: To put it so eloquently.
Wyatt: Yes. That’s awesome.
Katie: So I’m going to tease you for a minute here. You are also an artist on the Standing ‘O’ and I noticed that your artist that you would most like to work with is Taylor Swift. Tell me about that and tell me why.
Wyatt: Oh man. You know, I honestly did not care for Taylor Swift back when she was just a country artist. In fact, once again, I would hear that Romeo song and it would drive me nuts. I would change it immediately. Be like “nope!” every single time. Once again, her songs had that same level of being about the same things. Then, she just completely changed one day and came out. The first one that really got me was “Trouble” and I loved how she had completely left that behind and did something so neat with the song “Trouble” and after that she has done that with all of her songs. “Shake It Off” is completely different from “Blank Space”. Completely different vibe and feel to both of them, but they’re both great songs. So, for me, I was able to think that I would love to work with an artist like that. That has the same compulsion of changing their sound completely but still remain true to who they are because another thing you hear about Taylor Swift, she writes her own stuff. It’s not a crew of seven to sixteen people that come together to write a song for Taylor Swift. No, she does it. So I think that both of those two things make that a very attractive idea for me to get to work with someone that’s a lot further along on the road I like travel.
Katie: I’m sensing a pattern here.
Wyatt: That I’m an ADD nutjob that loves computers? Your intuition is correct.
Katie: Thanks. I have a quick question though. So you’re talking about traveling this similar journey as Taylor, I’m curious, when you started writing songs at fourteen and you were going out and you were doing these competitions and doing these open mics, was this something that you were on the path of “I’m going to be a musician”, did you ever deviate or was that just something that you knew and you just full-heartedly threw yourself into it from the beginning?
Wyatt: I whole-heartedly followed it from the time I was a small child.
Wyatt: Yes. For me, I’ve done other things I’ve really loved. I got to direct some small short films locally with my friends just using whatever we could have available at any given time.
Katie: Cool! I have a quick follow-up before you go on…did you ever try making your own videos for your songs?
Wyatt: Yes I did. In fact it led to the biggest, awesomest change in my life, Katie.
Katie: Oh, tell me about it!
Wyatt: So I work at an Italian restaurant and I’ve been there now for ten years while I continue to pursue my dreams and one day, one of my managers, because I was being stupid and sitting there rapping about Italian pastas and everything, they were like, “You know what? Why don’t you write a jingle for Bravo?” And I laughed at them and said, “Yeah, right!” And I went home and I was like, “You know what? I can!” And so I wrote this song that took them through the whole menu of special items and I gave it to them the next day because I just did all of it.
Katie: Oh my god. That’s so funny. Holy crackers.
Wyatt: Then I took it to them the next day. They sent it to corporate which is halfway across the United States from me and they sent back and said, “We have to have a video.” And I was like “Uh oh. What did I get myself into?” So I got my team of friends together that I used to film those other shorter productions that I was mentioning and I was like “Ok, we have to shoot a video for this.” So it has me tableside rapping out the different things on the menu with the music playing and then it’ll cut to me with a team of ten servers dancing with trays behind me in synchronizing movement. And they’re all dancing behind me while I sing this song. Well, now, it’s the training video that’s sent for all two hundred restaurants in the chain.
Katie: Ok, can you please tell our audience (aka me) where you can see this video because I really want to see it?
Wyatt: Well you can find it on YouTube. The first one is called “Welcome to Bravo” with Wyatt Brewer in there. The second one that they had, which I’ll get to next, is called “Each Guest”. A couple years later I got to open my first Bravo in another part of the country, down in North Carolina. When I was there I already had feeling, I was like, “Wait a minute. They’re letting me come along to it and they want another video.” Based on that intuition, I took my camcorder, I took my guitar with me and when I was in that hotel for a month while teaching the first generation crew there, I filmed. I had already started writing a new song and so I stayed up all night one night and played it live at the big opening with all the new people there and everyone was clapping along and that ended up becoming part of the later video.
Katie: Man, you are brave!
Wyatt: Thank you! I ended up making a full video and they ended up covering three different Bravos that I was at during that time because I opened a couple of them and at the end of all of that, they took me from Florida where I was opening another one and flew me to Columbus, Ohio because there was a general manager executive chef conference that they have every two years. With all four hundred executive people there, there were two massive TVs displaying my video and I performed it live on stage with the two videos playing behind me. The thing that I always hated about myself that was prior to me even meeting you at the Folk Alliance last year, Katie, is I had really bad teeth and it was just something natural that happened and it got in the way of me trying to model. It got in the way of all kinds of thing and it was just because they were cosmetically really bad. When I got that, then they paid me for all of that, I had enough money to completely get all the dental surgeries that I needed. So I did and because of that my life has taken off and I’ve gotten so many opportunities because I got the one thing I wanted to change in myself out of the way.
Katie: Wow. That’s really amazing to me though. It’s amazing to me that you, who strike me that you, who’ve been very brave as an artist in putting yourself out there from a very young age, had this struggle with this issue of confidence because of this. Talk about how that influenced you, or if it influenced you in any way in your songwriting and so forth.
Wyatt: For me, I feel it because I’ve definitely been the underdog in a lot of situations and that was just one variable in there. But I’ve known how it’s been to be on that end of things. To not be the best-looking person and to have something that you really don’t like about yourself. For me, I still kept doing my musical thing. I just couldn’t do it in the ways I wanted to because of that. But if I had just stopped and tried to wait until I could get my teeth fixed, I would have never come up with the kind of money that I needed to do those huge operations. But it was because I held to making music and writing music that I actually got the very opportunity that turned my life around.
Katie: So even if you’re self-conscious, just do it anyway and it’ll resolve down the line more than if you don’t do anything.
Katie: Yeah, that’s really interesting. Can we talk a little more about this because on the Standing ‘O’ on the seven questions, you said that failure, in general, was your most surprising inspiration? It seems like failure and insecurity. Talk a little bit about that.
Wyatt: There was one really early talent show that everyone said that I should have won. It was when I was a freshman in high school and everyone there said, “Man, you brought the house down. Just you and your guitar. Why didn’t you win?” It was literally only because I was a freshman and they just didn’t let the freshman place in it. But it was that failure and that realization of “Man, it’s not always about your music. It’s not always about your style or anything. There’s sometimes these forces at work just in the business of things that will keep you away from the victories that you want no matter how focused or good of an artist you are.” But, because of that, instead of giving up, it makes me more bull-headed. Like, no, because of this, I’m going to overcome that and I’m going to win. That following year, I ended up making first place as a sophomore doing the same thing and where I had only got up during the talent show to do the one song to compete, I ended up playing three more songs while they were tallying the votes up. I just got on stage and took over and everybody was clapping and having a great time. Then when the votes came out, it was one of the greatest victories ever because everyone was so happy to see that I had won first place and actually, even if they had tried to snub me on it again, I’d already won. I was playing. I turned it into a show.
Katie: Yeah, I can’t believe you just went up there and turned it into a show. Jeez. It keeps coming around that you’re a really brave person and I feel like, as an artist, tell me if you disagree, that you have to have a certain degree of bravery in order to be successful in general and that seems like that’s a reoccurring theme in your life.
Wyatt: Yes. For me, I’m actually an introvert believe it or not. I’m much better feeling when I’m just at home. When I don’t have things to do. When I don’t have anywhere to be or any party to go to or show. But because that’s a comfort zone, I used it as a place to heal, but I know that’s not good for what I’m trying to do with my art. Anyone that has to do art, you have to put yourself out there and you got to stay out of your comfort zone. Go back there to heal up and then go out there and get beat up some more because that’s the only thing that progresses you is that constant thingy.
Katie: Yeah, absolutely. You even said in your 7 questions that you went out and you did a battle of the bands solo by yourself and I was like “Holy crackers! Who is this person?” It was just one of those things that was just like, man, it doesn’t matter how that turned out. It’s the fact that you went out there and did it at the end of the day and then you’re still playing here.
Wyatt: I’m a glutton for punishment. For me, I have to get out there any way that I can and if that means jumping into one of those things and it’s not the venue and everything else, then I still want to do it because, if nothing else, even if I don’t place because “Jeez, I’m not a band so I can’t really place”, still you meet so many people and so many people get turned onto your music that would have never heard you if you had not taken the chance. And that’s why you got to do it.
Katie: And you’re pretty big around the Kansas City area where Folk Alliance was this year and will be next year as well. How’d you get out to going to gigs? How often do you go out gigging?
Wyatt: I’ll usually go out once every two weeks or so to a show because I still work full-time at my other job and, honestly, I have to stick to shows that keep the money coming in. But I still make sure that I get out there and keep it up and still have plenty of time to continue writing more material and to work on things. It doesn’t matter, even if you can only put in time to work on something once every two months or once a month, as long as you’re getting yourself out there, you’re always going to be drudging up new contacts and new people that are going to support you. Something that I like to tell to a lot of people starting out: one gig usually leads to three. Even if there’s only five people at the first one. It’s all it takes is just a couple people being interested and you are already lined up for two more things down the road.
Katie: Yeah, absolutely. Do you use social media a lot in your promotion of yourself?
Wyatt: Not nearly as efficiently as I should. I’m terrible at it. I have a Wyatt Brewer Facebook page and that’s pretty cool, but also I feel really bad every time I use it. I have a self-loathing for it because most of the people that like that page are my friends and I feel like I’m sticking a fist down in both of their ears every time I post something to both. A lot of times my professional Facebook page ends up having huge spurts of time in between when I put things on there. I still keep myself up on the main one where everyone’s my friend. I find that gets out to people better and then I just try to keep the other one up so that people that don’t know me that try to book me are like “Oh, he has a presence on Facebook with all 250 followers”.
Katie: I hear that from a lot of artists too as well that they lament that their Facebook business page or their Facebook page as an artist actually doesn’t get nearly as much traction as their personal page and I think that’s actually just a fault of the way that Facebook sets up how it promotes artists.
Wyatt: The algorithm.
Katie: Yeah, they want you to pay for promotion. Freakin’ Facebook.
Wyatt: Nope. You jerks.
Katie: Speaking of people extorting money in the music industry, how do you find the music industry now? You saw it from your dad being a musician growing up, how have you seen the music industry change from when you were a kid?
Wyatt: Now with the invention of all of these things like Pandora, Spotify and all that, the good thing is I have access to music I would have never heard otherwise. Despite the fact that there’s a lot of hate on Spotify for how they treat artists (I mean I agree that it’s not fair that they don’t pay out like they should), I still have a Spotify account simply because I come on to all kinds of new sounds that I wouldn’t have. So I like that part of the music industry, the discovery, you can really just hear a lot of great stuff out there that you would not hear on the radio in your area. I think that it’s cool how anyone can get their stuff out there now, but also it’s such a flooded market. I believe that it takes a lot of being different to overcome that.
Katie: And there’s that theme again.
Wyatt: I’m a meat and potatoes kind of guy.
Katie: It’s great though. It’s a really smart strategy. I think you’re incredibly smart in the way that you approach things. Actually, speaking of which, I was listening on the KC Cafe Radio interview and you were talking about writing songs sometimes that you could see in film and TV since those pay better sometimes. Not because of that, but relating it back to the music industry paying out fairly. What inspired you to start doing that and what type of shows do you hope to get on?
Wyatt: Oh man. So what inspired me? The “Welcome to Bravo” thing is really the first time I had anything like that. That was like “Wow, this actually paid really good for the little I put in for it.” From that, I love it in a TV show when something happens and they’ll just cut to a song. They’ll end up taking out the whole audio from what’s going on. It could be one of your favorite characters getting killed off or it could be just some huge change and then the music just comes in. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a classic song that everyone knows or some new song but it captures a feeling that the actors and their words could not achieve and nothing else could just because it pulls it through the ether. I want my music to do that. The thing recently that really inspired that was that I read a promo, way before the first trailer came out, for the new HBO series Westworld based on the 1970’s movie. I read about how, in the original movie, it was about the humans trying to survive in the park after the robots go insane and they’re killing everyone. So it was kind of like the first terminator before it happened of machines killing people and having to overcome it. But in this Westworld it’s about the machines being used and abused by the humans and they’re just toys. They’re toys to be killed. They’re toys to have every manner of evil used on them so people can get out their dark desires and how they come into an intelligence where they understand it for what it is and how wrong it is. For me, that’s what inspired the title song to this EP “Factory Made”.
Katie: Wow. I love that cinematic element that you add into your writing. I think that’s so incredibly cool. It also draws in it seems your other passion of directing and also being on film, which also is very cool.
Wyatt: Hey, you do both too, don’t you?
Katie: Ha! I guess. But you also collaborate sometimes with a female artist Sarah Lynn too. Talk to me about how that happened.
Wyatt: She started working at Bravo where I was.
Katie: It all starts at Bravo.
Wyatt: IT ALL STARTS AT BRAVO. She was there and it was her very first day and, for some weird reason, that day our manager-in-training did not show up and no other person showed up to open that restaurant but me and this new girl that I did not know.
Katie: Pressure’s on.
Wyatt: The first thing that happens when she walks in. My name is really a big thing at the restaurant and stuff because I’m the head of training and everything else and, in front of the whole kitchen staff, she walks in and says, “Yes, I’m here to be trained by a Winston.” Everyone in the kitchen cracked up laughing. And I still, three years down the road, get called Winston.
Katie: That’s hilarious. Well, if it makes you feel any better, you don’t strike me as a Winston. Not that it’s a bad name; I just don’t associate it with you.
Wyatt: Well, thank you Katie. I do appreciate that.
Katie: But I will call you Winston next time I see you.
Wyatt: Dang it! She had moved from Springfield, Missouri about three hours away and she got kicked out by her boyfriend after recently moving here to Kansas City. And this was after a couple weeks of her working at the restaurant.
Katie: Oof. That’s rough.
Wyatt: Yeah, I know. And she had nothing and no one. And, as a friend, I took her in and she lived in my walk-in closet.
Katie: So you literally stored a woman in your closet for a while.
Wyatt: I see nothing wrong with that.
Katie: Well, there you have it ladies.
Wyatt: So I had a twin-size bed in there and it was just perfect for that and she lived in there for two and a half weeks while she was getting her apartment set up to move into. It was during that two and a half weeks where, we had already been playing guitar and hanging out just as friends in and around work, but in her time living there, there’s was a song that I had written three or four years prior to meeting her. A couple times I had tried to collaborate it with other female artists because I always knew that this song was a duet. But whenever I’d start to work with another female artist, it wouldn’t feel right, it wouldn’t jive, and I would just shelve it because I’m really huge on intuition and if you don’t feel it, you can’t do it. So I would shelve the project. Well, out of nowhere I ended up like, “You know what? It’s been three or four years.” I started playing the song. And I had my part down that I’d always had but ‘d never written a female part and she immediately came up with the right line that answered it and then I played my part. This isn’t even like sitting down “Ok, I’m going to write a sentence that rhymes with yours.” This is just singing to one another and not having words in front of either one of us. It started coming through perfect. When I sang my chorus, of course she didn’t know the words, but she did a neat high-up humming thing. From there, we realized this is a song that we’re meant to write together. So we sat down and wrote it and it’s still on Spotify and on iTunes. It’s called “Color” and it was our very first song on our demo a few years back. It ended up placing on a couple songwriting competitions and has been one of our favorite songs that we come around to every now and then. That’s what started that. And although I’m still a solo artist that holds my own and does my own thing, still she comes in and works with me on a lot of different projects and it’s a huge part of my inspiration in what I do.
Katie: I love that idea of collaborating and singing as a conversation to each other. I just think that’s such a beautiful image. Do you guys perform together on stage?
Wyatt: Yes. We used to play a lot of local open mics, but it gets so boring when you’re just lined up waiting to play and you’re listening to other people and everyone that’s there to listen are just other artists that are waiting for their turn and, for me, although it’s a good place to break in new material and you can have fun with a lot of other musicians, but it’s not the same thing as playing a show. So we ended up traveling a little bit around Missouri to Nixa and Springfield and played some places. We played around Kansas City. We ended up in 2013 in October, we played for a Columbia Records Showcase here in Kansas City that was coming through town and that was a lot of fun and a big eye-opener. We had a good time with that. We play off and on, we just have a lot of things going on so we can’t set up shop really as a duo because we kind of come in and out of each other’s orbits.
Katie: So is she a solo artist as well or does she mostly play with you?
Wyatt: She mostly plays with me. She’s written a couple songs on her own but she doesn’t really play out on her own. It’s when our orbits are close and then we work together on some things and stuff. So it’s always been like that. It’s an awesome thing because whenever it comes back around again, it’s like “Ok! We’ve got new songs to write together”. And it’s not an all-the-time thing.
Katie: Interesting. You know what I’m curious about? How’d you get involved in Folk Alliance? Was it just like you knew someone there?
Wyatt: I’m a psychopath.
Katie: Oh please. Tell me another psycho story. I love these. Not psycho but I would say brave as the nicer term but I guess you have to be a little bit psychotic. There was this really great interview that Art of the Song did with Loudon Wainwright and he said you have to be a little bit deficient as a person to be in show business.
Wyatt: I believe that. He said that well.
Katie: I think you just have to be a little on the crazy side, but, you know, that’s what makes you really interesting because we’re all crazy. It’s just if you put it out there. That’s what makes you an artist.
Wyatt: That’s true. Well, for me, Folk Alliance was a last minute decision. Like last-minute as in December 31st two hours before the registration cutoff for the Folk Alliance. I had heard about it.
Katie: I’m sitting here mouth agape if people are wondering why I haven’t commented yet.
Wyatt: So I had always heard about this Folk Alliance thing and honestly, when it comes down to it, I’ve rarely considered myself a folk artist just because I’m so mechanized in a lot of ways. I love the essence of it and everything but it’s hard to put me in that category. But I was like, “You know what? This is worth getting into because, if nothing else, I see that there’s a lot of people that go to this and I’m willing to meet people from everywhere.” So, two hours before the registration cutoff, I went in for it, dropped half a grand to get in there last minute because you know those rates really jump up there. I got in and the funny thing was, only afterwards did I find out, “Oh no. I can’t apply for official or private showcases. It’s all closed.” Because I didn’t know that. I was like, “Oh December 31, they’ve got two months!” Then, “Oh this is so big and so vast, I’m not going to get to play a single song.” So it kind of broke my heart. I was like, “Man, I’m not going to get to play anything. But still, I’m going to follow through. I’ve spent the money, I’m taking the time off, and I’m going to go and at least talk to people and just see what happens. Now, I ended up meeting really cool people and I ended up having five private showcases.
Katie: Yeah! Because I went to your showcase.
Wyatt: You were my fan.
Katie: I was like, “This does not compute”, to use your robot lingo here, because I remember seeing you play live. How the heck did you manage that?
Wyatt: Honestly, I’m just thankful for the opportunities I got. I sat in a room, a private room, where I met three artists and the owner of the room whose name is Derrick and honestly that room was not popping. It was me and two other people and the room owner and the three people player. I met an awesome artist named Kristen Ford, who’s an amazing one woman band and I still have contact with her. I ended up opening for her when she came through town in Columbia back in June, which is awesome. I’m actually going to get to hopefully chill with her in Nashville here in the next couple months. I’m going to get to go and stay there for a few days and stuff. She invited me out and that was awesome. But Derrick ended up giving me the number to Mike Beck of the ‘Access No Music’ Room. I went and talked to him up in the room and stuff and he really likes my uncle who was Mike Brewer of Brewer and Shipley back in the ’70’s. The one song “One Toke Over the Line” that was really famous. That’s my uncle.
Katie: Wow. That’s groovy.
Wyatt: But he liked me and ended up getting me into some showcases and you ended up going to one of those and making me look real good because I had a fan there. Yeah, it led on and then I ended up sliding into a first time showcase room because someone didn’t show up on time and they’re like “Hey, you’re pretty cool, you go ahead and just get up there and play.” So I ended up stealing somebody’s position that just didn’t show up on time and I did that two more times in other rooms because I just kept my guitar on me and when people wouldn’t show up and I don’t know why, but people would just invite that I go ahead and get up and play so I took advantage of it.
Katie: Well, see, for all you musicians out there it pays to carry around your instrument with you all the time.
Wyatt: All the time. That’s right.
Katie: And also to network. I mean you also said on the Standing ‘O’ in one of your questions the importance of being a businessman as well and treating music as a business and your own business. Talk to me a little bit about that.
Wyatt: I think that a huge thing that, at least in my experience, has been a downfall of a lot of musicians that I’ve worked around. They’re 100% passionate and all about everything that they do, but they don’t do the first line of business, which is show up early. Not on time. Not late. But show up early because you’re there to do a show and you’re being paid because of the business that you provide. If you’re going to be an artist you have to find ways to promote. Does it have to be the cookie cutter Facebook way of paying in order for them to show your post? No. But you have to promote and you have to talk to people and negotiate and get into better venues and get in front of more people. The only thing that can do that for you is by being upstanding and by having a reputation for, if you hire this person, they will show up on time, they will do a great performance, they’re not going to do anything that shames you on stage and makes you cringe that you paid to have them in front of a crowd of people that are staying at their place. I feel that that’s the main thing that I meant by that is that you have to treat it like a business and like you’re a businessman that’s promoting your business, which is your art.
Katie: That’s great. Well, Wyatt, we’re actually just about out of time here, but tell people where they can find your EP and find more about you.
Wyatt: December 10 the EP will be released on iTunes and also you will be able to find it on www.wyattbrewer.com. You can find out more there. Feel free to like my page on Facebook and get me up from 250 people.
Katie: Wyatt’s also on the Standing ‘O’ so you can find him on standingoproject.com/artist/wyatt-brewer. So go ahead and check him out there as well and this interview will also be up on that site as well. Wyatt, any parting words before we end here? Any advice? Things to say in general?
Wyatt: Ask me about the instrument.
Katie: What about the instrument? I’m a little scared. Oh yeah! So I was teasing Wyatt because he answered to one of the seven questions, “So what’s the sexiest instrument” which is one of our questions on the Standing ‘O’. And he put….no you say it Wyatt.
Wyatt: I put a woman’s body, of course.
Katie: And it’s so funny because he messaged me and he’s like, “I was young and impressionable when I filled it out back in February”.
Wyatt: I was really young back in February. I grew up now.
Katie: You grew up now. I think your answer still holds now.
Wyatt: Yeah absolutely. What, you going to say a piece of wood with strings on it? No.
Katie: It’s the woman’s body. Well.
Wyatt: That’s it. That’s all I got.
Katie: That’s all you got. That’s all folks. And on that note, thank you, very much, Wyatt for talking with me today.
Wyatt: You bet.