In Conversation with Brei Carter on Honoring Charley Pride with her Cover of “Kiss An Angel Good Mornin'” and Being a Black Woman in Country Music

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Brei Carter is a country and southern pop artist living in Nashville, TN. Born and raised in Monroe, LA, with a true southern upbringing, where she was taught about classic country legends by her parents and listened to their music faithfully. Carter attained a Bachelor’s in Business from the University of Louisiana at Monroe, a Master’s in International Relations from Webster University, and a Doctorate in Theology from New Foundation Theological Seminary. She is also a proud veteran of the U.S. Army, where she served as an enlisted soldier and officer. Having moved to Nashville soon thereafter, Carter quickly established herself in the songwriting community.

2021 was the year of Brei Carter with her single “Gave Him a Girl.” The song has since charted up to #71 on Music Row’s Country Breakout Chart. The song was recognized as “cute and catchy” by country music historian and veteran journalist Robert K. Oermann in his weekly DISClaimer column for Music Row Magazine.

Carter most recently released her cover of “Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’” by Charley Pride, which has been incredibly well-received and gained her even more fans. From the press release announcing the news:

“I honestly don’t know where to begin when it comes for my profound respect and admiration for Mr. Charley Pride,” Brei said. “His songs were some of my first memories of music as a young child, so when I decided I was going to take my shot as a Nashville-based country music artist, I just knew I had to record his signature song.”

What was it like to have your song, “Gave Him a Girl,” debut on Music Row’s Country Breakout Chart?

Oh, my goodness. Are you serious? It was amazing. Truthfully, I’m still on Cloud Nine. I’m so thankful and grateful just to have that opportunity to be able to chart and for all the radio stations to start playing my music. And a part of me, it’s amazing because it is my story, but I’ve heard other women and girls say that it’s kind of like an anthem song. As women, as girls, there’s so many things that we can do, and it’s great. And at the end of the song, it says they got the best of both worlds. So sometimes, being a girl, being a woman, you get the best of both.

You have a cover out now of “Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’” by Charley Pride. I just want to know more about that backstory, the reason you chose to cover it, and what it means to you to cover this song.

I’ve always been a huge fan of Mr. Charley Pride. When I was a little girl, probably about six years old or so, my father used to sing Mr. Charley Pride all the time, and especially, “Kiss an Angel Good Mornin’.” That song really resonated in my spirit. Once I decided to be on the path of doing country music, singing and performing, I just knew that I wanted to redo that as a cover, as a tribute to him. But lo and behold, I thought when I was trying to create the music with the producers, that I’d have the opportunity of presenting it to him, that he’d hear it. He’d loved my rendition or my version of it. And we’d be on stage someday singing it together. But unfortunately, he passed, and that just really tore my heart apart.

It just really, once again, hit home when there’s something that you want to do, do it, when there’s someone that you need to see or you want to see, do it. Don’t miss out on those moments, putting them off saying, hey, you know what, I’ll wait, I’ll see them next time in concert. Do it because we don’t know; we may never get the opportunity. Tomorrow’s not promised to any of us. But I will say that with covering this song and every time I sing it, I just see it.

And in the video, I have my parents in the video, which is amazing that they’re able to be a huge part of this song for me. In addition to that, we got approval to use pictures of Mr. Charley Pride in the video. And there are different cameo appearances in there of him. It is really a tribute to him. The one thing that really, really touches my heart is just so amazing, is that his wife, Ms. Rozene, she heard the song — obviously, his version is the best; it’s so near and dear to my heart, but she heard it, my version, and she liked it, so that made me feel good. She approved my recording and the video, which says a whole lot because she didn’t have to do it.

My next question is, what has your experience been like as a woman in country music? 

I think sometimes it can be very difficult, and let’s address the elephant in the room, a Brown woman, a Black woman. To make it in this male-dominated industry of country music, sometimes it could be challenging only because people expect you to sound a certain way or look a certain way. I’ve just learned. It took a minute when I came out to just realize; you know what, Brei Carter? You are you; you’re unique, you’re uniquely you. And that’s what people want. You don’t need to fit into another mold; be you. And hey, you know what? Either people will like it, or they won’t. And if they don’t like it, that’s fine because the wonderful thing about this earth, this world, there’s no one size fits all. We have something in everything that someone will like, and that is for someone. You have to be happy with yourself before anyone else can really be happy with who you are as an individual, as a performer. So, I’ve just had to take that approach. And now, you know what? I’m loving some Brei Carter. And I’m hoping other people are loving some Brei Carter too because I’m being me, and that’s all I know how to be.

You have an extensive life journey. Your bachelor’s, your master’s, and your doctorate, and you’re a veteran. So first, thank you for your service. It’s an incredible resume you have. So how have these experiences influenced you personally and as a musician?

They’ve influenced me in such a great way; the military and the fact that it instilled just an additional discipline and just passion for serving my country for doing what I did at the time. And it was a great experience. And I think just through that, I just learned the value of hard work, the value of character and integrity. And that’s all you have if you don’t have anything else. And just realizing, you know what? We’ve all made mistakes. If we’re here on earth, we’re going to make mistakes, but what do you do when you make those mistakes? You got to pick yourself up by your bootstraps, and you keep it moving; you keep it pushing. And I think a lot of those things and those experiences and the other thing with the military is everyone in the Army was green. You were light green or dark green. There are no color boundaries or anything like that. All of that’s prepared me, but my education would be with the doctorate and with the master’s and everything. God has been the foundation and the focus of all of that, that allowed me to get through the military, that allowed me to get through the education. The basis for all of that, how that’s helped me is God being the center and the focus and has allowed me to do the music.

So obviously, we are Guitar Girl Magazine, so we like to talk about guitars. Do you have a favorite guitar to play?

You know what? I’m learning how to play it. I have a Gibson guitar that I’m learning to play. I bought it years ago, and I was ready to rock out and do my thing. And I started, but I stopped, but now I’m consistently picking it up just to be a much better player. So that I can one day be able to get out there and play by myself without having to have someone accompany me. That is a goal and a dream that I have to be on stage and fully play through my own music without needing someone to do it for me. Although you have the training wheels on, you are still riding. That’s how it goes. I have my training wheels on my guitar, but I’m still playing, and I’m still doing it.

Who are some of your biggest influences as an artist?

I love Aretha Franklin; I love her soul. I love Dolly Parton; how she sings and she flows in and out of music. I love Shania Twain. I’m really loving Chris Stapleton. I love Darius Rucker. I love Ashley McBryde right now. I love that soulful element. Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town. Luke Combs. There really are so many. I grew up listening to Loretta Lynn. I still love the traditional country; that was my foundation for loving it all. I like Charlie Daniels, Johnny Cash, of course, Tammy Wynette. There’s just there’s so, so many amazing artists that influence me. Tanya Tucker is another one.

What is next for you as an artist?

I have another radio tour that’s going to be coming up soon. In addition to that, I’m going to release a couple more singles. I’m going to release a couple of EPs this year. I’m going to release a full Christmas album and a full album this year.

 

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Gabbi Calvert is a writer, publicist, and artist from Findlay, Ohio who now resides in Nashville, TN. Gabbi is incredibly passionate about all things pop culture, but her forever love is music. Following her passion for entertainment and music, she graduated from Belmont University in April of 2021 with a B.S. in Creative and Entertainment Industries with a minor in music business. Her academic endeavors led her to find a home working in music public relations and she is now a senior publicist at Publicity Nation PR. Not only does Gabbi work and thrive in the music industry, she is also a musical artist herself. She began singing and playing gigs at the age of 12 in her hometown and has an extensive background in performance. Under her stage name Gabrielle Vaughn, she has released two singles. Gabbi is also a member of the all-female cross-genre supergroup The Highway Women. In her free time, Gabbi loves spending time with friends and family, attending drag shows, and bonding with her two guinea pigs Queenie and Peach, and her cat Mitzi.