Teri Bracken, the singer-songwriter, instrumentalist, and face behind Brontë Fall, is celebrating her newest music video for her single, “Outsmart Love,” which was released today, December 6th.
Throughout all of the ups and downs of life, Bracken reminds herself that those seasons are only temporary and uses it as a drive in her career. Finding empowerment through writing her own music, she uses it as a therapy, which is portrayed in her new video.
Beginning the scene laying alone in her bedroom journaling and reminiscing on her past love, her body language alone tells the story immediately. With lyrics like, “It will always find the deepest cuts / The heart gets what it wants / Oh you can’t outsmart love,” and being surrounded by a library of books, she tells a story that no matter how hard you try to understand, love isn’t something you can outwit.
Embracing dark seasons, the single itself is characterized as subtle, light, and moody as it takes you through the stages of self-knowledge, love, and the hard truths of relationships. Nevertheless, finding beauty at the end is what Brontë Fall seems to always know how to do and listeners get to follow her journey alongside her.
We had the opportunity to talk with her about the new single, Christmas songs, 2022 goals, and more.
Surprisingly, 2021 is almost in the books. How would you sum up your 2021 in one word?
FAST. Where has the time gone?
Just yesterday, it felt like I was planning the year out. I had so many goals and things to accomplish (play my fiddle on Broadway, release a new EP, co-write at least 3x a week)! 2021 was going to be my grand comeback after a lost year (2020). And here we are, days away from 2022.
However, lofty my ambitions may have been, I think I (we, really) did OK! People got vaccinated, the music venues opened up again and we are able to travel and share our music LIVE as we did before. I’m happy through all of it, to be releasing new music. It feels like a good ending! And I am already planning my writing and fiddle ventures for the New Year!
In the past two years, you seemed to have undergone lots of hardships with the pandemic, heartbreak, and family illnesses. How has this impacted your songwriting and music career?
It has honestly made songwriting even more of a necessity in my life…call it my therapy, my lifeline.
I feel so lucky to have had songwriting as an outlet through the chaos and sadness of 2020 and 2021. It gave me something to focus on. And, I honestly feel like it has made me go harder than ever with my career. Releasing my last EP, Finishing School, gave me a distraction from the heartbreak and the cancer. In the summer of 2020, I was literally living in a hotel in Columbus, OH, giving interviews via Zoom while my dad was undergoing cancer surgeries at the hospital nearby. At the same time, I was going back and forth to Nashville because I was in the middle of a move due to the tornado that I was in just a few months earlier. Add on heartbreak to all of that, it was chaos! So I am SO very grateful for the music.
With the pandemic, too- I think I just started to miss my old life so much that I couldn’t wait to get back to it- playing music with people and for people again! It made me hit the ground running in May 2021.
Who or what inspired you to pursue a life in music and songwriting?
I was reminded of a huge catalyst for my songwriting and music ambitions after watching “The Beatles Get Back” documentary. In truth, I was always a music lover, growing up in orchestra and the choir. I had ambitions to write even as a high schooler, but didn’t yet have the tools to do so.
The exact moment I realized what I had to do with my life, I was on spring break during my freshman year of college. I was a bit lost and had decided not to join Greek Life (which was HUGE) at my liberal arts college on the east coast, and I was going through a bit of a falling out with the fast friends I had made in the first semester. All I wanted was to play music. I fell upon the boxed DVD set of “The Beatles Anthology” documentary and watched it that whole week. Drama aside, it changed my life. I wanted to be Paul McCartney. I wanted to be a Beatle and spend all of my days writing songs and performing them for people. The Fab Four lit a fire inside of me that has never burned out.
Your newest single, “Outsmart Love,” is very intricate and lyrically focused. Could you tell us about the songwriting process and influence behind it?
This song was fun to write because it was a co-write with Isaac Slutsky. It was great to bounce lyric ideas off of each other and I love the line he came up with, “To Cupid’s bow we’re all just sitting ducks”. I think that’s brilliant!
I came to him with the idea after a conversation I had with a very wise Uber driver. I was going through a breakup and had just finished dinner with a gal pal. I began crying in the Uber on the way home. I told him, “I thought I was smarter than that. I was always so careful about who I let in. I thought I would never put myself in this situation”. And he replied, “Ohhh, those are the people it hits the hardest. The ones who think they can outsmart it”. Hence “Outsmart Love” was born!
What do you hope listeners feel or take away when listening to the song?
I hope they feel less alone with their heartbreak or sadness. Sonically, I believe the song has lots of warmth and ambience. So it should feel like a lullaby, rather comforting.
How do you know when a song like this is finished? Do you find yourself forever wanting to tinker and tweak things?
I feel like a song is finished when there is nothing else to say about it. I always consider if there are any other loose ends. Like, if I were talking to a friend about the subject matter- would there be anything else to say, any other angles to it? But yes, I do tinker and tweak the lyrics and chords for weeks after sometimes! It’s so hard to feel like a song is “perfect” and “ready”.
What does success as a musician and songwriter mean to you?
I think making a decent living as an independent musician (paying rent and then some) in this current climate is success! But of course, I’d like more- a pub deal, tour dates with stupendous ticket sales, or even a No. One hit song (or two)!
What’s your favorite Christmas song? Least favorite?
It’s a tie between “O Holy Night” and “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas.” I love traditional Christmas songs. For my least fave, I’m gonna go with “In Love On Christmas” by *NSYNC. I’m not knocking their whole Christmas album- “Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays” is FIRE!
What might fans expect from Brontë Fall in 2022?
Y’all hold me to this! I want to be playing a lot more fiddle in my shows, in my recordings and around town, and I want to do a lot more songwriting collaborations. You heard it here first- my 2022 New Year’s Resolutions, or goals rather. 🙂