Brittany Butler is a young pop/rock/jazz singer-songwriter from Boston, MA, who is making a name for herself in the music industry. Brittany is a self taught guitarist and pianist and has been singing since the age of one. Since her first YouTube video in 2007, Brittany has caught the attention of popular artists such as Taylor Swift, The Jonas Brothers, and Green Day, and has gone on to win several singing competitions. Five years after her first YouTube video, her channel has achieved over five million views and 44,000 subscribers, which are rapidly increasing every day. We recently had the opportunity to ask Brittany about her music journey, how her sound has changed over the years, and what she has in store for the future. Read what she had to say below:
How long have you been performing? Who or what inspired you to start?
I’ve been performing since I was a child. I loved participating in talent shows, and local competitions. I also did musical theater for a few years as well! Which I really enjoyed! But, it wasn’t until I was in 6th grade that I taught myself to play guitar. At the time, I had just discovered my favorite band, Green Day. They were the main source of inspiration for wanting to learn guitar! Piano shortly followed, & then I started to write my own music! My grandfather (my papa) was my biggest supporter! He was always there video taping every performance!
When did you start putting your songs/covers on YouTube? Was it difficult trying to gain a following?
I uploaded my first YouTube video on Christmas Day, 2007. I had just gotten a new camera! So, plopped on my bed and recorded the first song that came to mind. (Jonas Brothers, “Girl Of My Dreams.” – I was obsessed with them at the time!) I kind of nonchalantly posted the cover not thinking anything would come of it. And, I honestly forgot about for like, 3 months when I decided to check it, & it had garnered around 35,000 views! I was shocked! So, I decided to post a handful of other covers and it really took off from there. But, YouTube was also a much smaller community at the time. So, it was a little easier to gain a following with simple bedroom covers. I was 14, & I was covering stuff like the Jonas Brothers, Miley Cyrus, & Taylor Swift… So, I gained a lot of that fan base. Don’t get me wrong, it was difficult trying to gain a following, though. It still is! It’s taken 5 years to get where I am now! YouTube is a much more competitive market these days!
Your videos have caught the attention of popular artists such as Green Day, The Jonas Brothers, and Taylor Swift. How does it feel knowing that these artists have acknowledged your talent?
It means a lot! That’s really the goal sometimes. I think deep down every YouTuber hopes that their cover will reach the original artist somehow! And, you have every hope that it will, but when it actually does?! It’s the craziest feeling! From time to time I still can’t believe that I got to meet Billie Joe because of my Green Day medley! When the artist acknowledges what you did and likes it… it’s just really nice to know. You feel accomplished, in a way. Elated! There’s no other way to describe it!
When you first started uploading videos on YouTube, your style was very pop-rock influenced. Now, you’ve developed your own style which is a blend of jazz, pop, and soul. When and how did you decide this was the direction you wanted to go in?
When I started out on YouTube I was young, and I couldn’t really distinguish between the music I listened to, & the music I should be singing. I loved listening to pop/punk/rock (and I still do, of course!) but, I forced myself to sing in that style. I grew up singing the standards and music from the 40s & 50s! My grandfather raised me on that stuff, and that’s how I learned to sing! So, for a while I rebelled from that style. But, in 2011 Amy Winehouse’s death really hit me hard, and sort of rekindled my love for that style of music. It’s just timeless. It really strikes a chord in my soul. And, I’ve since reverted to that style and sound. And, now I know that the music I listen to doesn’t have to be the same music I sing & write. It just took me awhile to figure that out.
You’ve also changed your stage name from Brittany Nicole to Brittany Butler. What was the reasoning behind that?
There’s a Christian artist named Britt Nicole, and I was always getting confused for her & vice versa! I didn’t think it was that big of a deal, but now with my new sound & everything I kind of just felt like “starting over” in a way. I felt like the names were just too similar! Plus, it seemed like the perfect time & opportunity to start going by my first & last name instead!
Now that you’ve defined your style and made a name for yourself, can the fans expect more originals from you?
I’ve definitely been writing a LOT more! And, it’s awesome because my new songs all fit one consistent style. For a while, I tried to write pop/rock stuff… but every time I sat down to write everything came out jazzy. I was trying to go against the natural current! But, now I’ve embraced it! And, it’s really exciting! I’m trying to build up more new originals before I start posting videos of them to YouTube!
What are your plans for the future? Are you planning on releasing an EP or debut album?
As of now, I’m really just writing more and working on getting a band together to start playing gigs! That’s what’s most important to me at the moment! I definitely want to release some sort of EP in the future. In the mean time, I’ve been working with some friends & producers and we’re in the beginning stages of capturing the sound I’m looking for!