A! Magazine for the Arts

Brenna Williams

Brenna Williams

Arts for Youth: Brenna Williams finds beauty in music

August 25, 2020

Brenna Williams grew up surrounded by music, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that she’s hoping to make music her life’s work.

“Growing up my parents were always singing around the house. Needless to say, to this day, I am a walking jukebox. When I was young my parents put me in Kindermusik. In these classes we would learn about thefundamentals of music. When I was in second grade, my mom took me to see the musical ‘Cats.’ I would say that this musical was my initialinspiration for the rest of my music career. After seeing that musical, I was head over heels in love. I knew right then and there I wanted to be a musical performer.”

She joined Mountain Empire Children’s Choral Academy, under thedirection of Beth McCoy and Jane Morison when she was in the second grade. She remained until she graduated from high school. She began voice lessons with Ivy Blair at Blair Academy when she was a junior in high school. After she graduated from high school, she attended East Tennessee State University, Johnson City, Tennessee, and got her bachelor’s degree, with a concentration in vocal performance under the direction of Karen Smith and Matthew Potterton.She attended ETSU on a Jenrette Scholarship.

“While at ETSU I performed in both ETSU’s Chorale and the East Tennessee Belles. My experiences with both groups were invigorating and energizing. I absolutely love making music in an ensemble. It is always fun to be a soloist, but there is something different about singing in a group with people who love music as much as you.

“Music to me is like breathing. Some kids are raised on sports, I was raised on music. Life without music would be a death sentence for me. There is no part of my day that is not filled with music, whether I’m singing or I’m listening to music. Music is so ingrainedin me that I often sing words or phrases. I am like the live version of Jessica Day from ‘New Girl,’ always coming up with little tunes.

“The beauty of music is that it allows people to express themselves in so many different ways. Music is a form of communication in a melodic structure. Look at all the many genres of music, pop, rock, folk, etc. These are just a few examples of how musicians express themselves. Then on top of that, music theory can be used to further convey a message. For example, a lot of upbeat songs are in a major key and sad songs are in a minorkey. However, the beauty of music is that sometimes an upbeat song can be minor.

“All aspects of music are complex and beautiful. Music is also a way to view history. The style of music changes along with the culture surrounding it. For example, there is a lot of difference between the popularsongs of the ‘50s and the popular songs of today. The way we use music to communicate is whatinterests me most. I don’t believe I have a current style when it comes to music. The majority of music I listen to and sing is musical theater. However, my music library on my phone is very diverse. What music I listen to really depends on my mood. I love a lot of different genres of music, but I do not love them all. That being said, I can listen to any genre of music and appreciate the artistry behind it.

“I have many influences indifferentaspects of mylife. Specifically, for music, my teachers have been the biggest influencers. They have molded me into the singer I am today. They have pushed me to be the best artist that I can be, and I hope they continue to push me in the future. The biggest influences in my life, however, are my parents. They have supportedme since day one. I have been blessed to have them as my biggest fans. In fact, my dad is constantlysending me links to songs telling me I should sing them. I could not have asked for better parents. They have nurtured my dream and love of music and are the reason that I have succeeded,” she says.

Brenna had planned to be an intern with the Barter Players, Abingdon, Virginia, this summer. Since that plan was interrupted by the coronavirus, she is honing her talents at home.

She is the daughter of Tammy and Steve Williams of Johnson City, Tennessee. She attended Providence Academy, Johnson City, Tennessee, and recently graduated from ETSU.