Artist Spotlight: Jane Ellen Bryant
Jane Ellen Bryant is a rising talent in the Austin music scene with years of industry experience under her belt. Although the native Austinite has roots in country and rock-and-roll, her style is one that speaks to many genres: a refreshing sound evident in her songwriting abilities. Her voice is controlled with an enviable grace and beautifully sharp around the edges. Moreover, Jane’s skill and creativity have earned her the “Best New Band” and “Best Female Vocalist” titles at the Austin Music Awards as well performances at Austin City Limits Music Festival.
Jane has been making music since a young age; after attending a rock music summer camp as a child, she knew that there was no other path for her. Bryant has played piano since eighth grade and demonstrates talent with the guitar as well. She recalls “Angel from Montgomery” and “Desperado” as being some of the first songs she learned to play. During her time at college in Nashville, Bryant studied voice and music business whilst simultaneously pursuing her career in songwriting and performing.
As a 90s baby, Jane is inspired by the likes of Sheryl Crow, Shania Twain, the Dixie Chicks, and AC/DC, among other country and rock artists. Like her muses, Jane’s songwriting is distinct and instantly recognizable. Through her music, Bryant hopes to capture moments in time and create unique and special experiences.
It’s no small feat to stay motivated in the music business. The tides are always turning and it’s often difficult to predict the outcomes of any career endeavor. Bryant says that her self-accountability and passion drive her, despite the tumultuous industry. On top of being an artist, Jane is also savvy in personally managing her music, bookings, and branding. Simply put, this renaissance woman is not afraid to get the job done.
When I asked Jane what advice she would give to her younger self, she replied, “stop being such a rule follower; stop worrying about what other people think.” Although Bryant’s music is already breaking the conventions of genre, she hinted that the new music she is in the process of producing will be even truer to her spirit. We can’t wait to listen!
Artist Spotlight: Hanna Barakat
Strength, vulnerability, honesty: these are some of the words that come to my mind when I hear the voice of Hanna Barakat. With Middle Eastern influence and dark, driving tones, her music whirled me away into an emotional soundscape. Hanna is not one to shy away from controversial topics nor daring changes in melody and rhythm. Her debut album, Siren, produced by John Moyer, bassist of Disturbed, showcases her exceptional songwriting and storytelling abilities. Much of the album is colored with traditional Middle Eastern instruments like the oud, which complement the staples of modern rock that underpin the LP: drums, guitar, and bass.
I first had the pleasure of listening to Hanna Barakat this summer when I stumbled across her music in an Austin Facebook music group. A Berklee College of Music graduate and seasoned live performer, her attention to detail and musicianship stood out to me immediately in videos of her performances. I had to know more about the women who had arranged, written, and recorded such an intriguing album; I interviewed Hanna on August 23, 2019.
The inspiration behind the title track of Barakat’s album, “Siren," is one that has evolved with time. Initially, Hanna explained, it served as a stance towards individuals in her life and the need to express her will and ambitions. With time it would grow into an empowering song that represents claiming her life as one that she is destined to determine. The song features several time signatures and melodic changes. The Lebanese influence over Barakat’s album is especially apparent on the fifth track of the album, “Cycle."
“Cycle” beautifully combines elements of rock music with traditional Lebanese instruments. Partially inspired by the Palestinian-Israeli conflict Barakat personally witnessed while living in Lebanon, the song’s themes of war, violence, and repitition transcend the piece as a global plea: “we must break down these walls between us, constructs of fear, the unknown,” Hanna demands. An Arabic verse later in the song echoes the want for peace.
For Hanna, music is both therapy and a means to deliver messages to the world. Barakat hopes to deliver her thoughts honestly, avoiding sugar-coating difficult topics like love and loss. Moreover, her music marks a stride toward the inclusion of Middle Eastern music in America. I look forward to seeing her impact in the Austin music scene and beyond.
my most anticipated artists of 2019.
Men I Trust
Hazy instrumental texture, soft-spoken lyrics, and intangible nostalgia all work in favor of Montréal-based trio Men I Trust. The electro-indie band has been around for a hot minute, releasing their first independent, self-titled album in 2014. However, with the announcement of an upcoming album Oncle Jazz to be released this February, Men I Trust intends to stay in the indie spotlight through 2019. Several singles—nine to be exact!—released within the past two years display a growth of artistry and reflect a wide array of musical influences that are anticipated to make an appearance on the group’s forthcoming album. The new and mighty Men I Trust departs from the band’s typical sound: grandiose bass and guitar licks are supplanted by atmospheric lulls layered atop their electro-heavy production, adding a greater depth of emotion to their songs. As I peel back the layers of Men I Trust, I am constantly surprised and impressed by the band’s emotive potential.
Favorite Tracks: “Seven”, “Lauren”, “You Deserve This”
Syracuse undergrad Charlie Burg has infiltrated the ranks of bedroom pop armed with dreamy teen pipes and technical prowess. His vast musical range is fully expressed through his latest project—a three-part EP series whose subject celebrates the emotive poetry of Ralph Waldo Emerson. The final release in the collection, Three, Fever (released January 2019), steps away from the more thoughtful ballads of 2017’s One, Violet and 2018’s Two, Moonlight, embracing a new artistic sphere that lies somewhere between funk and house and is intentionally explored to compliment Burg’s tender vocals and romantic chord progressions.
Favorite Tracks: “Moog Jam 1”, “To Dance Is To Love” from Three, Fever, “Art History, Pt. 1” from One, Violet
One of my absolute favorite discoveries of last year was Luna Luna. A reincarnation of 1970s Puerto Rican boy band Menudo for cool indie teens, the group hails from Dallas, Texas and finds their sound in dreamy reverbs, soulful vocals, and retro school dance vibes (consider this free promo for their 80’s Tune music video). By fusing elements of bolero ballads, chillwave instrumentals, and Motown R&B, Luna Luna oozes a sexy sense of self in their first EP, For Lovers Only. As I experienced firsthand at their Hole in the Wall show last month, seeing Luna Luna live in concert will always leave you wanting more—each member’s passion for performance is completely on display for the crowd. Like fellow rising Latinx artists Cuco and Kali Uchis, Luna Luna fully embraces their Hispanic roots in a largely non-Hispanic music space. As the band hints at a full-length release that will likely feature unique singles such as their New Year’s release “Commitment,” 2019 seems like Luna Luna’s year to take over the indie scene.
Favorite Tracks: “For You” from For Lovers Only, “Dance With Me” (Danny Bonilla solo feat. Luna Luna), “Fierra”
Welcome to the Euphoria ATX blog!
We are a student organization based at the University of Texas committed to keeping the UT and Austin music scenes vibrant by engaging students with campus events, introducing members to local industry professionals, maintaining a diverse blog, and giving back to our community.
We have lots of great ideas in store for our blog: event recaps, album and concert reviews, editorials, and member features are only a few kinds of posts we’re thrilled to share with you on our site. Our team currently consists of two members: Leah Rosenberger and Hunter Chemelli.
We’re excited to share our thoughts with you and are always open to hearing your feedback on what we’re posting!