Alan and Chrissy Brill both uncovered their passion for music at an early age, listening to their parent’s favourite artistes.
Based in Hampshire, they have been performing in bands for a good few years now; writing, recording and playing, all over the south of England, and never really stopped.
Since 2017, they have written and released 5 singles through their own production company, which includes “Start Right Now” released in January 2019. This song won Best Country Song in the Indies Music competition held by Indiecon USA in June.
The Brae were also nominated for the 2019 Josie Awards, held in Dollywood for Duo of the Year and for Pop/Contemporary Song of the Year for “These Are The Best Days”, which was released at the tail end of 2018.
Alan and Chrissy’s latest single, “We Were Young”, landed on March 12th, and like all their other releases, is available on streaming platforms worldwide.
British Country Airplay (BCA) caught up with them to find out more about The Brae and their upcoming first album, which was written in the UK and recorded and produced in the USA.
Hi Alan and Chrissy. Thank you for taking the time to talk to us. There isn’t much out there on your story at the moment,
so we thought we would give you some questions.
When did they decide to form a duo?
Alan: Out of the blue in 2015, Shania Twain came into Chrissy’s mind and she wondered what she’d been up to. So whilst googling the internet, Chrissy found a documentary filmed in 2011 entitled “Why Not” on YouTube, which tells about Shania’s battle with losing her voice and why her music career came to a halt due to personal problems.
Chrissy was hooked by the video and watched the whole series in a couple of nights – and she thought
“Why Not” indeed.
That year, we were booked on a family holiday to Florida and discovered that Shania was playing in Jacksonville. Watching Shania in concert was an experience of a lifetime and amongst other artists, she inspired us to form a band.
We formed with a few other musicians. Everything was going really well, but unfortunately, members couldn’t make rehearsals and commit their time to this project, so the band was no more.
This was our dream so nothing was going to stop us, and we decided that we would continue on our own.
So we started looking for a Country music producer as we wanted to record a single, and found an excellent producer in the United States.
Chrissy: In 2017, Alan received a couple of free tickets to attend BBC Introducing and we thought, “Why Not”? BBC producers were inviting attendees to play their music to them, so again, “Why Not”.
We played our song, they loved it and it inspired us to write more; and from there, we had got the bug to write again.
Where did the name come from?
Both: Our surname of ‘Brill’ and Chrissy’s maiden name ‘Rae’ created ‘The Brae’.
Well, you can’t get simpler than that.
So which came first? Were you a duo before you became a couple?
Both: We were a couple before the Duo was formed, but we met while we were in a band in the late 80s.
We fell in love, got married and started a family. Music continued, but our children came first and all our focus was on their needs. Our children are older now and are following their own dreams, so we can put our time and energy into our music once again.
We have been a duo for over 25 years – playing all kinds of music in clubs and pubs. At the time, it seemed the UK audience was not ready for Country Music.
Why Country Music?
Both: We both love country music; we grew up on it – as children both our families would play music including Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, Don Williams, The Eagles, Patsy Cline, John Denver, Glen Campbell, Lynard Skynard, and Kentucky Head Hunters.
We are also inspired with today’s Country; Shania Twain, Carrie Underwood, Lady Antebellum, Little Big Town, Keith Urban, Tim McGraw, Faith Hill, LeAnn Rimes to name just a few.
We have been so fortunate to see these Artists play live over the last few years.
How would you describe your music?
Both: We feel like our music has a modern country sound, while both rock and pop style. We like to have meaningful lyrics and make sure there is a strong melody. When we write, we visualise a story. Many of our songs have been inspired by experiences through our lives and some inspired by movies we love.
So, what to you is the one element that makes a country song?
Both: For us, it’s the story behind the song.
You release your music through Brill Rae Productions, can you tell us more?
Both: We are independent artists so Brill Rae Productions is our own label, that’s as far as we’ve gone so far!
You have mentioned that you plan to release an album, in the future. What you can tell us about it and how far along are you to completion?
Both: The Album will be a traditional 10 song album. All the songs are written, we just have some studio work to go, and it’ll be ready. The coronavirus outbreak will delay the release, unfortunately, but we aim to release the album by the end of the year.
All the songs are written by us, it is an album inspired by our experiences and a few inspired by movies or conversations around us. We feel there is something for everyone.
What advice would you give to an up and coming singer and/or songwriter?
Chrissy: Practice, Practice, Practice! Keep writing and just go for it – in the words of Shania “Why Not”.
Learn from the greats that have come before us and soak up their knowledge. You will be your best if it comes from the heart.
And lastly, what are your Dreams and Aspirations regarding The Brae – i.e. a festival or venue you would like to be a part of.
Both: We have, on a number of occasions been told our story lines are so strong, that they should be in movies – so a sync to a movie would be great.
We are also looking for a publishing deal and would love to write for, and with other artists.
Once the album is released, the plan is to have an album tour and play at as many festivals as we can, so finding a great band to play with on stage would be amazing.
This is a British Country Airplay exclusive interview, as The Brae were waiting for their album to be released before promoting themselves. However, back in 2018, they did have a radio interview with Radio BBC Berkshire, which may fill in some gaps.
The BCA would like to thank Alan and Chrissy again for giving us their time to release this feature on their Country-Pop Duo The Brae, and hope that at least one or two of your Aspirations come to fruition.
In return, Alan and Chrissy thanked us for featuring them this week and said: “This is a great start to our promotion.”
Keep up to date on our Artiste of the Week via their website and socials for more information.
“It’s not often I’m left speechless by a song, but when ‘When We Were Young’ landed in my inbox I was absolutely floored. It’s dark, it’s gritty, it leaves you raw and hurting and I want to hear it all over again.” ~ Three Chords
The Brae’s music can also be found on iTunes – Apple (UK), Youtube, and Spotify.
The Brae is also being showcased all this week on the following shows:-
Steve’s Country Road with Steve Taggart
Moonshine Experience with Craig Parry
This Is My Country with Alan Hare
British Country Music Show with Roger Peck
Country In My Veins with Ali Donowho
Lewis’ Western Wake Up – Lewis Harrower
Red Rose Country – Joe Singleton
Rock ‘n’ Rodeo Therapy – Pierre Petrou
Black Cat Rodeo – Pierre Petrou
The Country Music Show with Sally D
Belles & Gals
Bring Country 2 UK
British Country Music Association
UP Country Magazine
Your Life in a Song
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Click Here to View Our Previous Artiste of the Week Recipients