Former producer at Americas Got Talent, Steve Harvey’s Big Time and The Tom Joyner Show, has a new cd.
Windows 8 users may need to go to full screen to see the video.
B.Seed : Thanks for being on Brightseedblog Audra, writer, producer, singer, actor, former member of the Mosaic Youth Theater. From former MYT member, singer Ebonique: “..its my structure, not to make music about minute things, but those that can touch and help”. Is this how you feel? Are any of today’s singers? a role model for you? encouragement for you?
Audra : I feel fulfilled when I can encourage or inspire someone. If I can do so in an everyday conversation or smiling at someone when I pass them on the street my day is made. So, if I can put that energy into my artistry and encourage people globally then I am happy. It just feels good!
I am definitely encouraged by singers today like:India.Arie, Stevie Wonder, Anthony Hamilton, Mali Music, Common, Lauryn Hill, Sade, Musiq Soulchild, Michael Jackson (has always inspired me) as well as Luther Vandross and countless others. I found that whether they were directly speaking to me (their audience) and saying that “I am beautiful” or affirming me in some way if they painted the picture of what real love looks and feels like I was encouraged and inspired. I believe that when a song is made with loving energy and good intentions you will feel it and its beautiful!
B.Seed : Tina Turner made a big impression on you, i believe. You also loved to write at a young age. Were there any authors, back then, who stood out or you favored?
Audra : Yes, I LOVE me some Tina! I remember listening to her music, seeing her videos and watching the film “What’s Love Got To Do With It” (about 100 times) and all I could say is that, “This woman is a beast!” (in the most loving and respectful way of course). She is a powerhouse. She was not dainty and timid in her performances yet she was still feminine and beautiful and I always admired that and still do. I said to myself “I want to be like that!” Her voice was strong and unique and I felt like I could connect with Tina because my voice was heavier and a little different than the singers I was listening to at the time. I could relate to Tina in that way.
I wrote my first song at 9 and before that I would write stories so I was a fan of writing and a fan of songwriters before I was a fan of singing. I remember when I first got my karaoke machine, there was a tape that came along with it (“Tape” whew I’m dating myself here) but that tape had Eric Clapton’s “Tears From Heaven” on it and I remember listening to that song over and over again because it was just so sincere and heartfelt. It was beautiful! It was then I became of fan of songs and songwriters. I loved how they could paint “melodic pictures.” I fell in love with Lionel Richie’s writing, Babyface, Diane Warren, Neyo, Bruno Mars and so on and so forth! A good song is a good song and to me you can’t beat that!
B.Seed : You grew up in Detroit, in the theater where you were able to develop and display your songwriting skills. Looking back, how important was this to you?
Audra : Oh my goodness I could cry just thinking about how CRUCIAL Mosaic Youth Theatre of Detroit was to my development as a songwriter, singer and overall performer! Hands down if I was not a part of this dynamic group of young artists I would not have even figured out that the songs I was writing were even any good.
I recall one of the alumni members holding a songwriter’s class that I took and she introduced me to Garth Brooks’ “And the Thunder Rolls” which I love to this day and she gave me pointers as to how I can perfect my craft and told me that my writing was good and she encouraged me to continue. From there I began writing songs for the plays and people really liked them. It gave me an outlet for my art, the confidence that I had some talent in that area and the knowledge that it didn’t just have to be a hobby. What a blessing!
B.Seed : Mosaic Youth Theater also allowed you to travel and perform internationally, World Festival of Children’s Theatre in Copenhagen, locally at the Kennedy Center, and for President Clinton. Great moments for you right? Was it around this time that you decided singing would be your career? or was it a childhood dream?
Audra : Being able to travel to Denmark as and perform with other young artists from Zimbabwe, Wales, Turkey and several other countries from around the world was phenomenal to say the least! That trip really showed me how diverse we are as people and that our differences are all so very beautiful. We all had stories to tell, art to display and each perspective was unique to their culture. We were all different but still relatively the same in so many ways. It was there that I also learned that music can truly tie people together because when we had our wrap party and the DJ played music specific to a country or region only some people were engaged but when they played The Macarena (dating myself again) EVERYBODY got on the dance floor! They played that song for the rest of the night and it was cool with us! Lol
Performing for the President and then at the Kennedy Center is just about as cool as it sounds! It’s a huge opportunity as an adult so it was definitely huge as a child. All of these performance experiences helped me to see that music and the arts in general is what I would like to be the vehicle for fulfilling my purpose.
B.Seed : Why did you move to California? Had you been here before?
Audra : I moved to California because I wanted to be a songwriter and had gotten an internship with the record label of one of my favorite singers, Jill Scott. I have some family here and had been here once for a family reunion prior to moving out here.
B.Seed : A television job with the Steve Harvey’s Big Time Challenge. Was this your first producer job? Were you ready?
Audra : Yes, that was my first job as a producer. I think I was more ready than I thought I would have been. Getting the job was a challenge in and of itself though. I had to find 20 acceptable pitches for the show and after the first interview I left the room with merely TWO acceptable pitches. I came back every week after determined to hit 20! It was a challenge I truly appreciated. It pulled all of my creative juices out (ones I didn’t know were there)!
B.Seed : You moved to the Tom Joyner Show. In May 2006, Joyner decided not to go on with it. Do you know why?
Audra: No clue, not sure if it was Tom’s schedule or what.
B.Seed : Working with GSN and BET was “fun and Games”, so to speak. Were you enjoying your time in the Los Angeles area? meet any interesting people/men?
Audra : Both shows had their own eccentricities. It was definitely hard work but I met some amazing people that I am still friends with today and I am so grateful for it!
B.Seed : You spent nearly four years with Americas Got Talent”, to that date the longest time as a producer, i believe. How did this job compare to all the others? Ever consider trying out for the show?
Audra : This job REALLY sharpened my research skills. Its not easy to find a “diamond in the rough” year after year!
Many people asked me why I didn’t try out and I would tell them it was a conflict of interest (which it was) but it was also because in all honesty I was not ready mentally, emotionally and spiritually to be a singer. I was too afraid but I could easily encourage others to do it. What an interesting dynamic in retrospect.
B.Seed : Goodbye Americas Got Talent, hello Cartoon Network. Was this a “night and day” change for you? I like Baby Looney Tunes. Do you work with a bunch of cartoon lovers?
Audra : It was definitely a change for several reasons. My job was different (more of a Left Brain position) and I was surrounded by visual artists (which I totally admire especially since I can barely draw a stick figure.) They are definitely a bunch of cartoon lovers and I love it! These talented artists create what is going to be someone’s favorite childhood show and that is amazing!
B.Seed : I bought and downloaded your song Rendezvous, listening to it right now. Great groove! Can you give me a little background on the production, the people involved?
Audra : Its interesting because the producer of the track (DJ SoulO) and I had known each other for years. I’d perform at various venues he was DJing but not until the end of 2013 did we finally decide to work together. I went into his studio, listened to some of his tracks and when I heard the “Rendezvous” track I was so excited because it sounded like a song that my family and fellow Detroiters could hustle to. It was groovy and a little different for me. After I wrote the song, I took it to my friend who is an amazing dancer and choreographer (Sade’ Moore) and she choreographed the step. The rest, as they say, is history!
B.Seed : I feel an element of “old School” to your song. What do you think?
Audra: Definitely! I’m old school at heart. I even wrote a song called “Old School”! I don’t know what it is but that tends to be the overall vibe to most of my music. I have been this way since I was a kid. I was around adults mostly growing up so maybe that’s it or maybe I just have an old soul but I have always appreciated things that were classic like virtue, honor and Motown! J
B.Seed : So what’s next for Audra Bryant in 2015 which is just around the corner?
Audra : 2015 is the year that Audra Bryant is unapologetic about being her full self as old school as I might be! My desire is to release my project “Through the Dark” and do major shows. I was acting in a production of “Steel Magnolias” and we were just nominated for a 2014 NAACP Theatre Award so I am hoping that will open doors to more acting opportunities. Also, my play “The Cage” that I wrote in 2011 will now be a feature film which is set to be in production in 2015 as well. So, things are moving along and I am excited to experience all of the many blessings God has in store while hopefully providing some encouragement and inspiration along the way!
B.Seed : Thanks for being here. Anything you would like to say to our viewers?
Audra : Thank you SO much for having me! I would say that at the end of the day we all have something powerful, poignant and profound that we can each offer the world. There are no limits to how much one person can accomplish if we only believe that we can because if we know we can then we definitely will. I am learning this for myself and it is making all the difference. Be blessed ya’ll!
Now let me put on my business hat and say make sure you download “Rendezvous” on iTunes or CD Baby and feel free to follow me on Twitter @AudraABryant. Find me on Facebook as well! Let’s stay connected! J