My name is Bryant. A lot you reading this, probably know who I am. Not because I’m any kind of important, but because I’ve been fortunate enough to be a part of some really cool things. But while you may know my name, what you may not know is that: songwriting wasn’t always the plan. Rather, it’s something that found me by accident.
I’ve always known I wanted to do something in music. My grandfather was a songwriter out West. I grew up around that. And so, the love for music was handed down. Though, I always pictured myself more on the artist track. As soon as I could, I moved to Nashville. I immediately started: putting in time playing on Broadway, volunteering on street teams, was an extra in music videos, went to every networking event I could find, played guitar for different artists. I did everything I could to get my name out there. Eventually, it paid off. And I got the opportunity to go out and play some shows of my own.
“If you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plans”. Well, life definitely had other plans for me. A few years ago (I can’t remember how long), while walking through a crosswalk, I was hit by a car. In that moment - my whole life was changed.
The accident left me with some pretty severe Traumatic Brain Injuries. Injuries which, even now, heavily impact myself and my memory. I lost a lot of the dexterity in my hands, I lost the ability to play guitar. From what I’m told (again, I can’t remember), for a long while following the accident, I was in pretty rough shape. Even putting full sentences together was a struggle. And so, I isolated myself. I was afraid that if I spent too much time around people, let people in, they’d see how broken I was...
Enter Richard Casper - Richard Casper is a combat injured veteran who now runs a nonprofit called Creativets. They help veterans with Traumatic Brain Injury and PTSD heal, through songwriting and the arts. Richard had heard my background in playing music, he had heard about my accident, and (even though we didn’t know each other) called me up to ask if I would be interested in writing my story in to a song.
With the help of Jesse Wayne Taylor, we sat down and wrote everything I was feeling into a song. The confusion, the loss, the uncertainty, all of the not being able to accept just how much my life had changed - it became: “Chasin’ Memories”. It was the first time that I was able to put into words what I was going through. Even more importantly, people were taking the time to listen. Thanks to my friends Benjy Davis and Nick Baumhardt, we were able to get the song recorded and released.
One of the most important moments in my story, is my song catching the attention of Rob Snyder. Rob runs a writers night a lot of you might’ve heard of, Revival. (Over the years, Revival has done so much for so many writers in Nashville. And I’m no exception). Rob told me he wanted to help get my story out there, he wanted to use Revival to help me prove something.
That’s when we came up with the idea for a Chasin’ Memories Benefit. I would fill the lineup with some of the friends who are writers who had been there for me, the entire thing would raise money for Creativets, and it would help me prove to myself that I could still do something that mattered. That night changed everything...
We just recently did our third annual Chasin’ Memories event. And because that first night showed me that I could organize events like that: I now have my own writers night “Chasin’ Melodies”, at Dawghouse on Thursdays (where I can pay it forward. It lets me give writers the same kind of opportunities I was given), and I’m a full time writer now. I even have a handful of cuts set to come out this year.
I was asked to try to tell the story of how my experiences at my worst, made me my best. The truth is, it has very little to do with me. Rather, I have a lot of people to thank. I’ve been fortunate enough to have the right people there for me, at the right time. And that’s how me at my worst, became me at my best. Dumb luck, and good friends. If any of them are reading this, thank you. Anyone who has attended one of my shows, played one of my shows, cut one of my songs, or believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself... Thank you.