Brian Edblad is captivating audiences with his originality, distinct lyrical style and edgy rock production, on full display in his new radio single ‘The World's Passed Us By’. We wanted to find out what drives this dedicated pop rock artist to push the limits of the genre.
You can generally tell when an artist is ready for the next stage of their career. It shows up in timing and tonal certainties, and there's a sense of conviction that just can't be faked. Brian Edblad's catchy new track ‘The World's Passed Us By’ has that audible conviction, but its sheer inventiveness and mainstream digestibility fulfill the other half of the equation that determines who gets radio time and who goes home unheard. It also doesn't hurt that the critics have raved about his award-winning work: ‘The most striking aspect of Brian Edblad’s new album is his command of multiple styles and rhythms, expertly packaged in their native state, to produce one of the most diverse collections of pop rock songs we've encountered.’ Independent reporter Alexis Adams recently caught up with Brian Edblad to talk about his new single and the passion for home-grown pop rock that gave rise to it.
ALEXIS: As an artist on the rise, what is one thing you are most excited about and one thing you are most afraid of happening in your career?
BRIAN EDBLAD: I am most excited to see positive reactions when people hear my music. Then I know that what I'm writing is connecting with my listeners. I'm not really afraid of anything because I've been doing this long enough to have heard many people tell me I'm not good enough or to give up my dream and I have come to the realization that I love writing songs. Period.
ALEXIS: Your song’The World's Passed Us By’is receiving a positive listener response on radio. What was your initial reaction when you first heard your song playing on radio?
BRIAN EDBLAD: I was thrilled to hear it on the radio. It's hard to describe but it's kind of like all of your hard work is validated.
ALEXIS: What was the inspiration behind your debut radio single?
BRIAN EDBLAD: I was driving up to my parents home in Duluth to visit them for Christmas and as I was driving up the street to their house I saw that my elementary and junior high school were both torn down, nothing but a parking lot. My whole trip back to Minneapolis I had this feeling of...getting old or how things are always changing or how the world has passed us by and it just developed from there. I wanted to style the song, lyically, as a look back at my experience growing up in Duluth. A story about where you're from and where your roots are and how life seems to fly by. I guess I've become that person talkin' about the good old days.
ALEXIS: It is often said that great art arises from difficult experience. Is there something in your life experience thus far that you would describe as the ‘catalyst’ or ‘fuel’ for your desire to create music?
BRIAN EDBLAD: Well besides the usual songs of heartbreak and failed relationships, which I'm no stranger to, and person problems, I think the biggest catalyst to make me dive into songwriting was losing two good friends in an accident. One of them was my best friend and my drummer and I used music to try to heal from that pain. There's one song I wrote called 'White Courtesy Phone" that still brings tears to my eyes occasionally when I perform it.
ALEXIS: How would you characterize yourself as an artist/musician? (Ex. Down-to-earth, serious, fun-loving, complicated…)
BRIAN EDBLAD: I would characterize myself as down to earth, fun loving and sometimes serious. While some of my songs may have a serious topic, music is meant to entertain and hopefully take people to a different place if only for a couple of minutes.
ALEXIS: What has your experience been like working with the other people on your team?
BRIAN EDBLAD: I have been blessed to work with some very talented and wonderful people. And the joy we get from just playing the music is almost its own reward. As you play music you realize that it is something special to be creating that sound and emotion and that's why musicians are willing to do what they do without financial reward because it is truly a labor of love.
ALEXIS: Did you come from a musical background? Are there other musicians in your family?
BRIAN EDBLAD: My whole family is musical. My father sang and played the guitar when I was a child, and all of my siblings play an Instrument. I started playing sax in church at an early age.
ALEXIS: What do you find most rewarding about being an artist? What do you find most challenging?
BRIAN EDBLAD: The thing I find most rewarding is being able to write a song that is catchy and heartfelt that connects with people.
The thing I find most challenging is being able to write a song that is catchy and heartfelt that connects with people.
ALEXIS: Who are your role models in music?
BRIAN EDBLAD: I love many styles of music but I would have to look to some great songwriters: The Beatles, Dylan, Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson, Prince. As a sax player I also love Dizzy, Charlie Parker, Sonny Rollins to name a few. Then there are my favorite singers: Elvis, Ray Charles... I guess I have too many role models to list because there are a lot of great artists out there.
ALEXIS: Describe your best or most memorable performance.
BRIAN EDBLAD: This one is easy. And kind of bittersweet in hindsight. It was after my best friend and drummer died and we played a benefit concert for him. I had another friend sit in on the drums and we worked up "American Pie" to close out our set and I remember everyone in the place held up a lighter and they all rushed the stage when the song ended. There wasn't a dry eye in the house. (and I have never played that song again).
ALEXIS: What advice would you give to young, aspiring artists out there who are unsure and need guidance?
BRIAN EDBLAD: The only advice I would give is that there is no right or wrong way to write a song. Just be true to your heart and if you keep at it you'll get there. Just be sure you are doing it for the right reason. Not everyone who becomes a musician makes it to the big time but that doesn't mean music can't be an important, fulfilling part of your life. (and I ought to know ) : )
ALEXIS: What's next for you as an artist? Is there a new single in the works? If so, what can you tell us about it?
BRIAN EDBLAD: Well I'm always working on new stuff and there may be something on this record being released after "World Passed Us By". The title track "Bubblegum Cigarette" has been getting good feedback on some of my sites (one site just went over 100,000 listens) and has gotten a tiny bit of local radio play, so we'll see.
I'm also busy playing in two bands. My original band "The Velvet Pancakes" and the funk band "The Undergroove" which I play sax in.
ALEXIS: That is quite exciting, congratulations! Thank you for taking the time to let me get to know you a little better. We wish you the best of luck and continued success.