Brian Fortner has had some truly inspiring and emotional life experiences to influence his songwriting. Ranging from raw and heartfelt material, to the fantastic Firefly tribute (fellow fan here) Fortner's diversity is incredible. And we were lucky to have a nice little chat with him.
What musical influences do you draw your inspiration from?
Nick Drake became a major inspiration to me shortly after deciding I was going to start writing and eventually performing my material Senior year of High School… though I seem to have found motivation from a fairly mixed bag of ear candy as the years have gone by… a few including The Strokes, Colin Hay, Alabama Shakes, Jon Batiste & Stay Human, and so many more it would be silly to list them all!
Starting right back in high school, how has life changed and developed your songwriting?
Oh my well that is quite a question, it's been a whirlwind of tramping and surviving while wildly gripping the tether connected to my pursuit of happiness through my music endeavors, I try to see it as paying my dues though it sometimes feels like I’m fighting outside disturbances to continue writing and sharing my love for what I do. I have found myself through it all though and have become stronger than ever. I am currently working every moment to advance my career with the motivation of my newborn daughter who I am currently being denied any time with by her mother and grandparents. I foolishly allowed myself to become a domestically abused spouse and now I am fighting for custody of my beautiful daughter alone. I believe in love and that if I never give up in my dreams and goals I will be able to soon have quality time with her and one day she will be proud of me :)
When recording or writing, do you ever work with other musicians?
I have always worked alone for the most part save for a couple of good friends that are in my circle. I’m currently planning on working with Julia Smolka and have a long standing partnership with my drummer/producer Jordan Borders
You’ve already got an EP and a bunch of single releases under your belt, what more should we be expecting from you over the coming year?
Well I can confidently say that there will be many more releases continuing to come out at a more rapid pace in the coming month and throughout the year, as my songbook is always growing and I'm realizing I need to release these songs as fast as I'm writing them. 147 compositions and counting, I have a bit of catching up to do! Also in tune with my official releases there will be youtube videos.
What’s your favourite experience or encounter at a live show?
There are two that come to mind, the first was in Fort Myers, Florida at Rock StarZ heavy metal bar.
I booked the gig, made the trip, and was suddenly standing in front of forty metal heads with very confused looks pointed at the young (20 at the time) man in white shorts and a pink button down holding a fender acoustic electric plugged into my Marshall Soloist.
I played my heart out for an hour and a half and by the end of the show they were all graciously complementary and treated me as if I had just given the loveliest show they’d seen in a while.
I found it to be very uplifting to see the appreciation of my music, instead of the prejudgments I had expected to be my downfall when I arrived.
And the second was two years ago at Ziggies bar in Columbus, Indiana. After a three set gig as basically an organic juke box for the drunken crowd only wanting to hear songs they knew, I ended the show with originals and shortly after, a man came up to me while I was packing up my gear and told me: "I've listened to guys trying to do what you are doing for thirty years in bars all around this country and you are the only one I’ve had the need to say something to, do not ever give up, you have something in you, your own voice, please don't ever stop as it would be a tragic waste of what could affect so many peoples lives in a real and life changing way, you've changed mine already and I thank you.” Then he walked out and left.
That was a major moment in realizing full belief in myself as a singer songwriter.
What beautiful and inspiring stories! I wish you the best of luck with your daughter and of course your future releases.
Where can we find you on social media?
Simply search @brianfortner on Twitter / Instagram / Pinterest / Tumblr / Google + and of course you can find me on Facebook and add me as a friend or like the fan page , basically any search for my name on google will help you find me around elsewhere (reverbnation, soundcloud, brianfortner.blogspot.com)
All official and new track/albums will be exclusively released on the Brian Fortner page at Bandcamp for the foreseeable future :)