|Photo by: mindybraasch.com|
Athens’ native pop songstress Mindy Braasch will be opening the Casa night of this year’s Lobsterfest on Friday. Fresh off of her high school graduation, Braasch is reveling in her success of this past year--including winning a title at Athens High School Battle of the Bands and releasing her debut album Voices--and her plans for the future.
ACRN: When did you start playing music?
Mindy Braasch: I started playing piano when I was five and I started writing songs and getting more into that side of music when I was twelve.
ACRN: Was that your choice, even back then, or did your parents want you to play music?
MB: My parents put me in piano lessons when I was five and I actually didn’t pick it up very quickly. It didn’t seem like something that came very naturally to me but I kept at it and eventually I got better. So, when I was 12 I started trying out writing my own music and going into the pop element of things because up until that point, I had been focusing on classical piano. After I started writing my own music I found that I really, really enjoyed it, and I kept at it and that lead me to where I am now.
ACRN: What’s your motivation to play music and write songs?
MB: From the very first time that I wrote a song, it just made me really, really happy. I’m not sure really what it is about it. But creating music, I just get so much joy from doing that. It’s something I really, really love to do. I love performing my own music as well.
ACRN: What kind of places do you normally play around town? I know you had your CD release party at Donkey, but what other venues do you frequent?
MB: I play all around uptown Athens. As you know I played at Donkey, but I also play at Jackie O’s frequently and I’ve played at Casa a couple times. I’ve played at the Front Room pretty frequently before as well--most of the different open mic places around Athens. Now, I’m sort of branching out and playing more in other cities like Columbus. I played at the Woodlands Tavern and King Avenue Five in Columbus. Soon, I’ll be looking into playing down around Nashville as well.
ACRN: What kind of artists influence you? What’s playing on your iPod right now?
MB: I have a pretty diverse range of artists that I listen to. I have been inspired a lot by artists like Taylor Swift, Adele, Evanescence, Train--those are the main influences but there are many others that I listen to.
ACRN: You just graduated from high school. Was it hard to balance setting the groundwork for your career with your senior year and do you have a plan for moving forward?
MB: It was definitely a challenge. By my junior year of high school I pretty much knew that I wanted to pursue a career in music and so then it was sort of a struggle for me to make sure that I could split my focus between school and music. I was definitely looking forward to the day I graduated and, this past year especially, I had been thinking about what I wanted to do as the next step. I got accepted into the Honors Tutorial College Audio Production program and I decided to get a one year deferment so that I could spend next year basically just focusing on music. I’m going to be spending a lot of time down in Nashville this next year, just immersing myself in the music, business, and performance atmosphere and just meeting with other performers down there to really focus on music. At the end of the year, I’ll kind of evaluate where I am and then decide what to do next.
ACRN: How did it feel to win the Battle of the Bands?
MB: I played in Battle of the Bands my junior and senior year. Junior year I won best vocalist and this past year I won best acoustic. It’s just a really fun thing for high school students, especially since Athens has so much musical talent in it. I think it’s fitting that the high school would have events like that so that the high schoolers can showcase their talent. It’s a really fun chance for students to perform in front of their peers and so it was a great experience.
ACRN: Are you excited to play Lobsterfest?
MB: Yeah! I am. The people from ACRN were judging the Battle of the Bands this year and because I won Best Acoustic they invited me to come open for Lobsterfest which was really exciting. I’m really looking forward to it.
Mindy will be playing another festival after Lobsterfest in Pomeroy, Ohio called the “Kicking Summer Bash.” The festival will take place June 15-16 and while she does not yet know which day she will be playing, all of that information will be posted on her website soon.
ACRN: You said that you’ve played Casa before--do you like it as a venue?
MB: Yeah, I do. Casa’s a pretty cool venue. Every venue is different but it’s always fun playing there.
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