Nashville is full of surprises. You never know who you are going to meet or who is going to inspire you. It was tax day, April of this year and I decided to go to 12th and Porter at the last minute after being invited by a friend that said I had to catch the Britt Savage show. In my ignorance I had never seen her show, and as usual I am always up for new experiences so I went for it.
Britt’s show was captivating. In a town bursting with country music, her music came out of left field. She features Mod Music – complete with gogo dancers and boots made for walking “all over you”. The performance showed great attention to detail by orchestrating lights, video, and images to correlate with the live music and dancing. I think I smiled the whole evening.
In honor of tax day she dawned a self-made dress made entirely of shredded tax forms for her show. The dress received great applause and cheers from the crowd when she revealed what it was made out of. It took her a month to create the dress. A few shredders didn’t make it out alive. She had never done something like this before. This tax creation is even making it into the next Ripley’s Believe It Or Not book. You can see more pictures by going to her website. She auctioned it off on ebay and was able to raise $306 for Heifer International, an organization working to end hunger.
Some time after the Tax dress and the Mod evening I ran into Britt at the Blue Bird. After recognizing her I had to introduce myself. I went on to express my admiration for her vocal talents and her life performance. She humbly thanked me for my kind words and I was struck by her sincerity. We have since then kept in touch online and I find that she is highly industrious and creative. After twisting her arm, she agreed to answering a few questions about herself. I just love it when I meet people who are talented, humble, ambitious, creative, and giving. From what I have been able to learn about Britt, she is all of that and then some. Here is a little background on Britt Savage…
How long have you been here?
I’ve been here about 10 years. I was working as a singer in NYC and started getting some sessions in Nashville and just fell in live with the town.
Why do you stay?
From the first time I stepped off the airplane, it felt like home. I’ve owned horses most of my life, although I had to board them, and I love driving past green pastures of grazing horses and cows on the way to a session. I also LOVE driving. I just completed my 4th time at driving school because I may enjoy driving too much. Ha I really love the Nashville music community, such a great supportive bunch of talented friends who have become like family.
If you weren’t doing music, what would you be doing?
I’ve always loved animals and wanted to be a vet but I loved animals much more than studying so I couldn’t get into vet school. I also wanted to be a jockey but at 5’7, I was really too tall although I worked as a groom and exercise rider at Meadowland Race Track after high school. I also worked as a Playboy Bunny, radio DJ and a gas station attendant but singing has been the best fit. It’s something I’d do everyday,even if I wasn’t being paid.
How long did it take you to really get into music full-time?
When I was about 20, I started out singing in cover bands in NJ. It was a great time for live music and you could play a different club, six nights a week. I learned so much about singing, performing and just life in general in those clubs. My band, The Nines, opened up for Scandal and someone from that band caught our show and asked me if I’d like to sing on a jingle. I had been doing session work for a couple years but this session turned into a national Campbell’s Soup jingle. I started getting more calls for jingle work and moved into NYC.
Describe your home demo service- why start it? How do you accomplish it?
Well, the home recordings really happened out of necessity. When I moved here, I was basically starting over. For the first year, I’d fly up to NYC for sessions and live gigs but it just wasn’t cost effective. My husband and favorite drummer, Wes Little, helped me get started recording my vocals from our home studio and sending the files to clients in NY.
I really started loving recording from home. I still do regular sessions in studios but I love the flexibility of home recording – I can record the lead and do the harmonies when I get home from a movie. Ha!
I usually record more takes and background vocals than anyone would ever need and post them to an ftp site. The songwriter or jingle producer rarely asks for any re-sings but I’m happy to do it. The reality is there’s nothing like being able to direct someone through their live session but I find I can usually get what someone has in mind from talking to them on the phone or an email. Most people paypal me or send me a check. It’s pretty easy.
Did you ever have professional training or does music come naturally?
I’ve taken voice lessons from Marty and Don Lawrence (Bon Jovi, Billy Joel) and Katie Agresta (Steven Tyler, Annie Lennox) but singing came pretty naturally for me. I’ve always just loved music and sang non stop. I learned a lot about harmony from listening to records.
If you could sing a duet with anyone who would it be and why?
Paul McCartney. I know the jingle says cotton is the fabric of our lives but The Beatles have been the aural fabric of mine. I wore those vinyl records out – but the strange thing is where most of the artists I’ve loved for a certain time remain stuck in that time, even if I still love to listen to them, The Beatles’ recordings seem to reveal new things to me all the time. It’s like they’ve grown as I have.
What is the worst way to ruin your chances in this town?
I’m no expert but it all comes down to integrity with me. Treat people well. You might be singing the world’s worst song demo but remember you’re singing someone’s dream.
What 3 things would you say to someone in Nashville who wants to throw in the towel?
That’s a tough one because a life in music isn’t for everyone. I like to say that the best part about it is also the worst part about it- you don’t know what you’ll be doing next month. Currently, the thrill of not knowing is greater than my fear of not knowing so it works for me.
I also think it’s ok for dreams to evolve. You might have thought you’d be the next Alan Jackson but maybe teaching music would feed your soul even more. The drummer in my old cover band, Mick Gormaley, is now a sound editor for lots of major films and he loves it.
If you’re dead set on making it in music, I’d say keep out there, keep learning, keep networking. There are plenty of “ I almost gave up and then my big break happened’ stories.
I know I didn’t give you 3 things to do when you’re ready to throw in the towel… I guess I’m thinking sometimes you can use that towel as a parachute and land somewhere even better.
Random, yet fascinating facts about Britt Savage
- Recently started writing songs for a greeting card company
- Currently making another charity dress out of Christmas wrapping paper for her appearance at Billy Block’s on Dec 15th
- Won $100,000 on Star Search
- Was a contestant on VH1’s Rock & Roll Jeopardy
- Won a trip to LA from a Howard Stern Song Parody contest
- Sang jingles for Coke, Loreal, Ponds, Lays, Wendys, Burger King, Woolite, San Pellegrino, Bounce, Tyco, Campbells, etc…
- Worked with live or in the studio – Tony Bennett, Noel Redding, Garth Brooks, Angie Stone, Trisha Yearwood, Dave Von Ronk, Larry Coryell, Linda Davis, Billy Dean, Brooks & Dunn, Natalie Cole, Ru Paul, David Sandborn, Rupert Homes, Denice William, Oran Juice Jones, Bebe Winans, Andy Griggs, Peter Wolf, Jason Michael Carrol, Donna Summer, The Skatalites, Robert Cray, Billy Squire, Nona Hendrix, Waylon Jennings, Phoebe Snow, Joe Lynn Turner, Southside Johnny, Ron Wood, Patty Smyth, Walk Wilkins, Billy Gilman, Cory Glover, Marshall Crenshaw, Crystal Gayle, Darlene Love, Nastasia Kinski.
If you ever have the chance to catch Britt’s show, you should go. When you meet her around town – ask her how one woman manages to accomplish this much in life! You can also check out her video on youtube for her song Looking Like I’m Gonna. Britt Savage’s music is available on itunes, cdbaby and amazon.com – ENJOY! It is hard-working people like this that make Nashville such a successfully talented town.
E-mail Britt: email@example.com