UC Riverside

Chase Bryant opens up on chasing dreams, upholding values and touring with Brad Paisley

Some people discover their talents spontaneously, while others remain confident in their ambitions from the very beginning. For Chase Bryant, a 23-year-old country singer from a small town in Southern Texas, he always knew he wanted to pursue music– but the road to get there wasn’t paved with clarity.

From learning to play the guitar upside down to befriending mentors to get him on the right track, I had the chance to reflect with him before his Honda Center debut on his musical journey thus far, and where he hopes to go next.

Julia Schemmer (JS): First, you marked an incredible milestone by performing at The Trabadour in Los Angeles this week! What was that experience like for you?

Chase Bryant (CB): It was awesome. It was my first time ever doing a headlining show in L.A., in L.A. period, so it was a great feeling, especially being in such an iconic venue. It was really awesome for me to be a part of it, so we had a lot of fun that night and it seems like things just keep getting better for us. I’m very honored and thankful for those kind of things.

JS: Definitely. Did you ever see yourself doing this years ago?

CB: Oh yeah! I wanted to, I never saw it, but I wanted to. It all just kind of happened.

JS: I read somewhere that you learned how to play the guitar upside down? What was that all about?

CB: Yeah! It’s a right-handed guitar that I play left-handed, so it’s upside down and backwards, you could say.

JS: That’s awesome. I’m left handed too, so power to lefties!

CB: Absolutely, absolutely. I think there should be more of us.

JS: Exactly! And what advice would you give to teens that want to enter the entertainment industry but don’t know where to start?

CB: I think just follow your heart. Have some sort of plan that you can fight on. I think it’s pretty relevant to be able to have an opinion at such a young age, it’s a matter of how to get people to believe that opinion. If you believe in yourself, I don’t think there’s anyone that believes in you more. So believe in yourself and don’t let anyone tell you no.

JS: Definitely. In an industry that is constantly changing, what are some values that you keep as constant throughout your success?

CB: Always be the leader of your business. I think that’s the main thing. Don’t let anyone take control of your business.  There’s something that you want, there’s a dream you want to chase, there’s a part of you that wants to be successful and I don’t think anyone else can make you as successful as you can. I think everyone adds a certain piece, like my record label and agents and my management and my team on the road does so much, but it has to start with you. You’ve got to be the one that wants to be successful for them to make you successful.

JS: So I was talking to a couple of my friends, and I told them I was interviewing you, and they all said the same thing: “He has so much energy when he is onstage!” So when you go onstage, what are some things that you do to pump  you up and get you ready for a performance?

CB: Well most of the time, it’s like listen to loud music, and just kind of like breathe it all in, look in the crowd, and amp yourself up a little bit. That’s always how I start, and once I’m there, it’s kind of hard to come back.

JS: Have you seen any iconic signs in the crowd at your shows?

CB: Well I mean, I’ve seen some, especially kids that say this is my first concert or maybe their birthday. You’re making somebody’s night, one way or another, and if you try hard enough, you might make more people’s nights.

JS: You’ve been on the road nonstop– I’ve been following your social media and it seems like every night you’re traveling to somewhere new. How do you pass the time when you’re traveling between states?

CB: I hang out with my dogs, with the crew and the band. It’s a small group and it’s fun. We’re going to guitar stores on days off, or we’re going to have a nice meal somewhere, dinner or drinks or whatever it might be. Mostly it’s maybe read a book or write songs, anything a normal person would do.

JS: We uplift mentorship as a positive way to learn from other people. So growing up, who were the posters on your wall, who did you look up to?

CB: Oh, you know like, Brad Paisley, Keith Urban, Ray Charles, Fleetwood Mac, Tom Petty, there were some sports guys there, guys like that, but I looked up to so many people, it was hard to settle on one. You follow them all for all different reasons.

JS: Definitely. Are they still your mentors today or have they changed?

CB: Brad has been kind enough to be able to give me some hints and pointers and things of that nature, so it’s always been a fun time to hang around him and learn from him. It’s hard not to breathe that in, so I’ve had a lot of fun out here. As long as it’s fun, nothing else matters.

JS: That’s awesome. And my last question for you is what does being a trailblazer mean to you, and would you say you are one?

CB: Well it all goes hand-in-hand with what I always say. There’s settlers and there’s pioneers. Settlers follow everybody else and pioneers lead the way.  They are innovative, they structure things, and they follow their path. I’ve always wanted to be a pioneer, and I think that’s the same thing as a trailblazer. You barge your own trail, and you hope that her people hop on it and follow it along too.

You heard it from the country star himself! Whether you want to win a Grammy or the school spelling bee, with the spirit of a pioneer, the community of your friends and the ability to challenge yourself, anything is possible.