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Carolyn Kruse

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Meet BEX from Redding, CT, now living in Boston

Photo by Joel Benjamin

Undoubtedly, nurture played a large part of BEX’s natural attraction to music. She grew up in a house where music was ever present. The Connecticut native said, “My mom almost always had something playing in the background… in the car, while cooking dinner, dancing in the living room just because. A lot of Fleetwood Mac and Bonnie Raitt. Both she and my dad taught themselves guitar, which eventually inspired me to pick up the instrument in high school.”

It was on a ride with her dad, in his truck, that became a turning point for BEX. A moment of clarity found in the music of Jackson Browne. She was 15 years old when she decided to “sneak” her dad’s tape of “The Pretender” into her backpack, and proceeded to listen to it on repeat for a week straight. She knew what she wanted to do. Or at least thought she did. Bex pursued a writing degree at Emerson College. While there, she took voice lessons, and related, “For years I battled this ongoing identity crisis, trying to figure out if I wanted to pursue music or writing. Oddly enough, it never occurred to me to combine my two passions until grad school, when I took my first songwriting workshop.” BEX’s passion lead her to The Boston Conservatory at Berklee (2017), where she went on to receive her M.F.A. and also served as the sole teacher’s assistant for the voice department.

For BEX, musical genres naturally mingle, rock, country, pop and plenty of soul. There’s a comfort in her sound. Perhaps the comfort of her influences, and doing what she loves. Her vocal clarity is refreshing, and refined. The singer and the writer have come together to do what feels natural, and was nurtured. The result is powerful.

BEX Belts It Out

Armed with a full album of material, BEX brought a couple of originals from her album, Sink or Swim, to share.

“Old Habits (They Die Hard)

 

“Clean Break”

 

Breaking BEX

  • How old when you started: I started singing almost as early as I could talk, and was involved in choirs, musicals, a cappella groups — whatever I could get into,from a young age. I wrote my first song, a kind of Joni Mitchell-inspired ballad called “Wild River,” on a tiny electric keyboard I stored under my bed when I was about nine years old. But it wasn’t until I was attending The Boston Conservatory at Berklee for a master’s program that I rediscovered songwriting. In my final year, I decided to write a cycle of seven songs for my thesis project, which I performed live in a concert on the school’s black box stage. One month later, after I graduated from that grad school program in May 2017, I miraculously connected with a producer at a local studio in Boston and we began talking about recording my first album
  • Instruments played: Piano, and a little acoustic guitar. But I wrote all of the songs on my debut album on piano
  • How would you describe your sound: Moody, soulful, and brimming with attitude. Bluesy to the hilt. Dark — with a light at the end of the tunnel
  • Who inspires you: Stevie Nicks. Hozier. Lissie. Bonnie Raitt. The Black Keys
  • All- time favorite country song: “Tennessee Whiskey” by Chris Stapleton
  • Favorite country concert: Seeing Lyle Lovett at the Houston Rodeo when I was about 12
  • What songs do you like now on Country 1025: “Girl” by Maren Morris, “I Don’t Remember Me (Before You)” by Brothers Osborne
  • If you weren’t a musician, what would you be doing: Probably starting my own blog or online publication. I’d focus on profiles, because I love hearing people’s stories. I’d love to start a podcast someday and interview interesting people who have diverse perspectives and expertise on a range of topics
  • Day Job: I’m a full-time freelance writer for multiple blogs and publications. I’m also a working actor with New England Models Group
  • Most proud moment: It’s a toss up when it comes to my music career. Being on stage at my first album release show was a special night — I had a phenomenal band behind me and I was fortunate to play to a warm, supportive, enthusiastic audience. But hearing one of my songs on the radio for the first time a week after the release — and hearing someone talk about my music — that was pretty surreal, too
  • Other things you like to do: I just wrote my first play, and I’m a huge psychology nerd, so I love reading about recent research. I’m also into kickboxing, cooking, and now that it’s summer, hitting up the beach in New Hampshire
  • Fun facts: -I consider Houston, TX a second home, and have been going there at least once a year to visit family since I was about 10. In fact, my first job was a summer gig at a restaurant in H-Town. I consider BBQ sauce one of life’s greatest pleasures, and I’ll pretty much put it on anything. I was a dialect coach at The Boston Conservatory, and can do a number of different accents, including British, American Southern, Irish, and Italian. Before I got into my dream grad school program, I was working as a technology reporter. I went from writing about IPOs, startup fundings and acquisitions, and quarterly earnings reports, to taking daily singing lessons and dance classes. I am 1/8 Native American (Cherokee)
  • Mantra: When in doubt, always choose gratitude. Also: there are no coincidences

Photo by Joel Benjamin

Bring On BEX

BEX Net

     

Every week, Kruser’s Local Catch highlights New England’s homegrown country music talent, and tells you where to catch them locally and in Nashville. Click here to view previous catches.

The Local Catch is powered by Shiner Bock, independently brewed in Texas, for Boston’s independent spirit. Boston is Shiner country! 

*Singer/songwriters with original music: Please submit for consideration on The Local Catch by emailing Kruser at carolyn.kruse@bbgi.com

             

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