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Logan Brill on the Importance of Vulnerability in Songwriting and Why She’ll Be Singing the ‘Real Stuff’ On Her Third Album

When it came time to write and record for her third album, Logan Brill took the philosophy of 'honesty is the best policy' to heart.

Written by Annie Reuter
Logan Brill on the Importance of Vulnerability in Songwriting and Why She’ll Be Singing the ‘Real Stuff’ On Her Third Album
Logan Brill; Photo credit: Hannah Burton

Logan Brill has spent the majority of 2018 on the road opening for acts like Lee Brice and the Wood Brothers. Along the way, the Tennessee native has been penning songs for her upcoming third studio album and promises a project that highlights her live show as well as showcases her vulnerable songwriting. The singer-songwriter has already released two songs from the project, “Giving Up” and “Good Story.” She says both songs represent the direction she’s taking for her next LP.

“My live show is such an important part of my career, and one of the things I love the most about what I do,” she tells Sounds Like Nashville while settling into a chair at popular East Nashville coffee shop The Post East. “I always have my live show in mind when I’m cutting a record. With this new record, I had a hand in a lot more of the stories than my last record. I spent the last three years really digging into what I was going through personally.”

“Giving Up” showcases this honest storytelling. Co-written with Randy Montana and Jacob Powell, the song is about a long-term relationship Brill was in up until recently. Struggling to make the relationship work while she was on the road, she admits that she frequently found herself emotionally checking out while on tour.

“I decided I wasn’t going to do that anymore. I remember writing in my little journal of ideas. ‘Giving up on giving up’ was what I came up with,” she recalls. “I took it to a couple friends of mine, Randy Montana and Jacob Powell. They’ve both toured and done the same thing so they understood it and we ran with it. The new music, to me, is all centered around touring life and the difficulties in that and the things that happened to me over the past three years.”

Brill says when she was penning the song she didn’t realize she was writing it for herself. After they wrote the song together, Montana asked her to sing on the demo. While she was singing she realized it was her song.

“I think it grew on me to the point of it was such a personal thing, but I think it took me a second to recognize just how personal it was to me,” she admits. “It really just felt right. Of course I’ll tell this story — this is my story. I’m the right person to tell it.”

A song where the female isn’t quite ready for the relationship to be over, Brill paints a vivid picture on the chorus. “I’m giving in getting in my car / George Strait singing ‘Baby run’ on the radio / I could find it blindfolded in the dark / Pulling in your drive still feels like coming home / Open the screen door / Knock on your front door / Just to tell you / That I’m giving up on giving up / I’m giving up on giving up / I’m giving up on giving up on you.”

“One of the things I like about the song is the immediacy of it. I wanted it to sound like it was written in the moment: I’m getting in my car right now because I need to see you and I need to make this work, which is how I felt when I wrote it,” she explains. “I felt so desperately that I wanted to make this thing work. In the end it didn’t work, but that was the emotion I really wanted to capture.”

Logan Brill promo image for "Giving Up"

Logan Brill; Photo credit: Hannah Burton

While Brill admits it can be scary to be so honest within her songs, that’s what her favorite artists do so she tries to be as open as she can for the listener.

“All of my favorite artists and favorite songs are really vulnerable and honest, and those are the things I personally relate to. Sometimes it can be a little scary to pour your heart out and share it with the world, but that’s what I relate to most. That’s the type of artist I want to be,” she says.

Brill has been writing for years and confesses that she was likely writing songs long before she realized it. She wrote poetry as a child and by the time she got to high school she’d pen melodies and put them together with her poems.

She attended Belmont for college and soon began co-writing. By her junior year, Brill garnered her first publishing deal and would split her time attending class, co-writing and touring on the weekends. She credits Nashville’s co-writing community for helping her to find her confidence as a writer.

“Co-writing was a really good way for me to let go of my anxieties with holding onto lines too hard, or not being able to let go of something because I didn’t feel like it was perfect,” she admits. “I think that’s when I found my stride.”

Brill says her new music will showcase her evolution as an artist. It’s inspired by the touring she’s been doing for the past several years. One song in particular, “Good Story,” penned by Luke Dick and Jon Randall, encapsulates life on the road for Brill.

“The song ‘Good Story’ is something that is about all the crazy things that happen when you’re on the road. All the crazy people you meet and band guys doing dumb stuff. It’s a really unpredictable and funny lifestyle,” she shares. “The minute I heard the song, I started thinking about a thousand different stories from being on the road. There have been some crazy things that have happened, we’ve done some dumb things. It immediately took me there. I think a lot of other people will relate to that too, ’cause we’ve all done things we shouldn’t have for the story.”

Brill worked with producer Jason Lehning for the new project. While she says the album embodies similarities to 2015’s Shuteye, specifically the grit and bluesy vibe, it also embraces her fun side as witnessed in her live show. She says it’s a personal release for her too, as she’s penned most of the songs herself.

“I think vulnerability in songs and songwriting is really important. I relate so much to songs that feel like they’re honest and tell the truth about how someone feels. The stuff that I like to listen to, if it’s a really honest songwriter, it almost gives me the opportunity to say what I want to say,” she admits. “I think it takes some bravery to do that, to put yourself out there in that way. It’s the real stuff. That’s what I like to sing about — the real stuff.”