Hailing from Calgary, Alberta is up-and-coming country artist Braden Crawford. Picking up the guitar at a young age and shortly after started singing. In 2019, his newfound passion for performing and playing music led him to the semi-finals of the Calgary Stampede Talent Search. He also recently graduated from the Southern Alberta Institute of Technology with a Business Administration Diploma in Marketing with the hopes of applying his education to further his music career. Over the past 5 months, he has released 3 singles: “You”, “To Be Free” and “These Shoes”. Now on May 2nd, he is set to release his first EP “With an Old Friend”.
Recently I spoke to Crawford about his start in country music, his latest releases, his upcoming EP and his goals for this year.
Kyla Pearson: For those who are unfamiliar with your music, can you tell us a bit about your path to pursuing country music? What made you want to become a country artist?
Braden Crawford: I grew up wanting to be a rockstar like a lot of young boys, but what set me aside is that I never gave up on that vision. I grew up listening to Bon Jovi, Kiss, The Rolling Stones, and many more rockers of my parent’s era. I did not listen to any country music growing up until high school when a close friend of mine influenced my dive into country music. What I began to love about country music was its powerful ability to tell stories, and I resonated with the messages and perspectives shared by the country artists that I was listening to.
KP: You’ve been playing guitar since the age of seven. What inspired you to pick up the guitar? Do you play any other instruments?
Braden Crawford: My childhood dream was to become a rockstar, and the first logical step a 7-year-old could make to achieve this was to get into guitar lessons. I do not actually remember when I got my first guitar, I think I was around 4 or 5 and there were a few years of playing D and A chords before I got into lessons and really started to learn at around age 7. As I grew older I became more invested in singing than in guitar and slowly my skill sets began to shift towards vocals and away from the guitar. I still love my guitar and I could not live without it but I play guitar to sing with it, rather than singing to support my guitar playing.
KP: Your single, “You” was released early this year and speaks to being in love with a special someone. What was the inspiration behind the song? Is it based on a true story? Can you tell us a bit about the songwriting/recording process that went into making the song?
Braden Crawford: I started writing “You” about a girl back in 2018, and a month after I started writing it, we were dating. Just before she and I began dating she moved away to go to school which spun the song in a slightly different direction than what I was initially imagining for it, but I believe the song turned out better because of this.
KP: How does this song differ from your previous single, “To Be Free”? What are you hoping to achieve with this new single?
Braden Crawford: “You” differs from “To Be Free” in that when I wrote “You”, I wrote it about the way that someone else makes me feel in a relationship, where “To Be Free” on the other hand is more reflective of the thoughts that I have with myself and about myself. I guess one song is inspired by the thoughts and feelings that I have when reflecting on my relationship with another person whereas the other is about the thoughts and feelings associated with reflecting on myself.
KP: Your musical sound leans towards country-folk. Which artists would you say have influenced your sound? If you could collaborate with one of them, who would it be and why?
That is an interesting question for me to answer because the songs I have released thus far have not really sounded all that much like the music I listen to. Creating both “To Be Free” and “You” were long processes and I think that throughout the whole process I was influenced by a whole mixture of different musicians and creative ideas. Both songs really evolved beyond what I had imagined for them through the months I spent creating them. Right now I just want to focus on honing my own skills before I start to incorporate others into my work.
KP: You were also a semi-finalist in the Calgary Stampede Talent Search in 2019. What was that experience like for you?
Braden Crawford: Stampede Talent Search was a very special experience for me and I was able to develop confidence and strong relationships as a result of it. I was really excited to come back in 2020 and 2021 and hopefully work my way into finals but the world had different plans. Due to the coronavirus, 2019 was the only time I would get to have that experience. I look forward to similar opportunities in the future.
KP: What do you think is one of the most challenging aspects of being an emerging artist in the digital age?
Braden Crawford: A difficulty I have faced as an emerging artist in the digital age is that I feel like there are so many new emerging paths to “make it” as a musician and it is hard to know what advice to listen to. It’s hard to know how much effort you put into social media marketing for example versus how much effort you put into more traditional ways of gaining awareness. There is definitely more than one road to success and we are in a time right now where it feels like the best road is always changing.
KP: Moving forward in 2021, what is one goal you hope to achieve with your music by the end of the year? Do you plan on releasing new music?
Braden Crawford: With my EP With an Old Friend about to release on May 2nd, I am eager to apply what I have learned with my Business Diploma in Marketing, to promote, and get my music heard. I see myself using the remainder of 2021 to write more music and strengthen my writing, musical, performing, and promotional skills.
Apple Music: https://apple.co/2QHmpq8
Amazon Music: https://amzn.to/3e6OrEx
Crawford, Braden. Interview. Conducted by Kyla Pearson, Mar.15 2021.
Unknown. “Featured: Up & coming country artist Braden Crawford”. Photo courtesy of Braden Crawford. Accessed Apr. 30 2021.
Unknown. “Official cover art for Braden Crawford’s single, “To Be Free”. Photo courtesy of Braden Crawford. Accessed Apr. 30 2021.
Unknown. “Official cover art for Braden Crawford’s upcoming album, “With an Old Friend””. Photo courtesy of Braden Crawford. Accessed Apr. 30 2021.
Unknown. “Official cover art for Braden Crawford’s single, “You”. Photo courtesy of Braden Crawford. Accessed Apr. 30 2021.