Lifoti Interview | The Uprising Music of Brian Berggoetz

The ever so talented Brian Berggoetz is not just an artist. He is a person with a unique background story and someone who has been passionate about making great music for decades now. Brian is a singer and songwriter with a very rich musical history and a fascinating background. He has inspired many younger listeners, craving that old school sound and that nostalgic retro feel, inspired by the best vintage rock and Americana. He is back on the scene with yet another brand new release: “Wildflower.” This album songs is particularly amazing, because it has a perfect combination of exciting hooks, beautiful sonic aesthetics and a great arrangement. The song begins with a melodic introduction, allowing the mood to set in. Soon after, the verses fall in, establishing the song’s structure and dynamic energy. During the choruses, this is exactly when the songs reaches its emotional and intensity apex. Brian’s vocals are as intense and passionate as ever, show casing his deep penchant for an authentic storyteller act, and sending positive vibes to the audience. 

Brian focuses on creating edgy songs, with a love for different influences. Over all “Wildflower”, is a combination of country, Americana, and even rock, making for a unique and highly rewarding combination of styles that keep the attention span of the listener high. With every songs, it seems that this artist is setting the bar higher in terms of performance and production alike. Brian spoiled us with his charming and beautiful retro arrangements, but this time he has developed and even more defined tone. In other words, today’s music can be a little bit shallow, and it might lack substance. 

There are not many songs that have an actual storyline or characters that you can relate to as well as a deeper meaning to connect with. By contrast, but really stands out about Brian’s music is most definitely the fact that he puts a lot of thought into creating something that will entice and engage listeners. His music is excellent in terms of production, but also in terms of lyrics writing. This is definitely the case with this particular album as well because everything is extremely well-produced, and there are so many incredible details making the songs really special. His music feels kind of timeless. Well, Brian Berggoetz is a self-taught guitarist and a natural-born singer and songwriter since he was eighteen years of age. He has written many songs throughout the years since, and he has played at various venues local to where he has lived, both as a solo artist and as the leader of a band Brian is a long-time resident of Tucson, Arizona. He is currently playing with a band that he started four years ago, The Brian Berggoetz Band, the members of which together form a solid and optimal configuration that showcases his music in its intended light.

The band plays a combination of rock and blues, mostly original songs that Brian has written, along with some cover songs that he has re-written to make them his own. They are currently in the process of producing an album which is soon to be released in the coming weeks, so this is a long-awaited new beginning for a “seasoned veteran” in the business. It’s an album you will want to hear! Since the early start of the pandemic, Brian began a new relationship with a woman that has inspired him to write new songs, many of which are somewhat on the softer side than to what the band ordinarily plays. As such, he has simultaneously formed a second band as a solo project with the addition of a violinist which captures the essence of its thick, dreamy sound that veers more towards an Americana style of music. This project has just produced and released its first CD in April of this year, and the reviews so far have been overwhelming. The CD is comprised of eleven original songs in addition to Brian’s rendition of the cover song Purple Haze.

Brian Berggoetz says that 2020 was the best year of his life. Before you scratch your head in disbelief and turn the page, hear the man out. Sure, like many Tucsonans and Americans, the COVID-19 pandemic left him jobless, but not homeless. And with nothing to fill his days, the Indiana native who moved to Tucson in themid-1980s decided to revisit a year-old medical diagnosis that showed he might just have prostate cancer. Turns out the second opinion showed the cancer was much worse than the initial diagnosis. Last June, he underwent surgery and, he’s happy to report, he’s one year cancer-free. The loss of his day job selling coffee to grocery stores led him to help out a buddy doing property management. And through that job, Berggoetz met Karen, who owned the company. And that meeting literally changed his life. All of a sudden he wrotes all sappy love songs. 

Last December, Berggoetz took those love songs to Duncan Stitt, a well-respected Tucson musician and producer, who recruited a couple of session musicians to record “Wildflower,”Berggoetz’s first solo record in a career that goes back to 1989.The album’s pleasance is due in large part to guest musicians Michelle Constanza Mineron vocals and flute, and Shanti Foster on violin. Fellow Monterey Court regular Craig Green also appears on the album, co-writing the bluesy “I Will Go,” rife with imagery of life on the road and self-sacrifice, plus a powerful violin passage from Foster. “Wildflower” is a lively collection of 12 songs, Combining his skillful musician ship with compelling arrangements and crafty compositions, this collection will lift you up and be a perfect accompaniment for any road trip. Whether you are a fan of old-school folk-rock or contemporary music, Americana style Brian’s records are going to be great for you! There is genuinely no constraint to the creativity and vision of this fantastic artist, and he is on a roll, consistently releasing amazing songs and building his growing fan-base. In this exclusive interview with Maria Nicolas, Mr. Berggoetz discusses heartfelt creativity, and why music is so important to him.

➧Interview By Maria Nicolas

• Would you please share a brief synopsis of your music journey? If you could walk us through your music-related journey from the start to present, what are some of the most notable facets of your life as an artist?
» Music was always a passion of mine, but it was highly discouraged in my family as "the sons" were steered heavily in the direction of sports. 
My journey began in 1989 following the passing of my father.  That is when I felt freed to fulfill my own dreams, so I bought my first guitar and taught myself how to play.  I never took lessons, but I was determined, and I eventually discovered what an integral role music would turn out to play in my life. Prior to playing the guitar, I had written a number of poems.  These poems had eventually found a home in many of the songs that I have since written, and continue to write in the thirty-two years following.  
I started playing gigs locally, and I was surprised to see how quickly I was recognized in popularity, to the point where I found myself on the stage at the SXSW Festival in Austin Texas, alongside Charlie Sexton and the Reverend Horton Heat just one year later.  I was also broadcast on local radio and recording an album with the local great Stefan George.
So the music was off to a great start until I started to withdraw due to health issues, the source of which was unbeknownst to me, as gluten intolerance was not readily diagnosable in that era in time.  Since then, my journey had taken some bumps until I eventually discovered the source and I was cured of all the symptoms by simply changing my diet. All the while, I had continued to write a prolific number of songs as various inspirational experiences occurred in my life throughout the years, both in its ups and downs.
As many musicians experience changes in their lifetime with band members coming and going, I am very pleased with the most recent formation of my band which I feel is representative of my music in its optimal configuration. 
As you are aware from my bio, I have two bands that play my music.  The Brian Berggoetz Band that plays the blues and rock and roll songs, and the solo band which plays the softer americana style of my songs.  Now my music is represented in its optimal fashion because I couldn't ask for a better grouping of solid band members that are committed to the bands.

• Compared to when you started a music career some decades ago, is it easier or harder to be a musician in 2021?
» In short, it has been much easier for me to be a musician in 2021.
It's ironic because 2020 was the best year of my life in many respects. I lost my job and started a new relationship and was cured of my stage two cancer, all during the pandemic which served as the catalyst that made all these things possible.  
It has also provided me with more time to focus my attention on my songwriting and more importantly on the recording of my music with both bands.  The recordings were the resources that had allowed me to finally be able to share my music with a broader audience by getting my songs onto numerous playlists and onto spotify as I watch the streams grow exponentially.  This is a moment that has been long awaited, and it gives me a tremendous amount of satisfaction. Interviews such as this have also been long awaited and very much appreciated, so I thank you for allowing me to share my story with you.

• What is the ONE thing you are NOT willing or prepared to do EVER, in your quest to achieve a successful musical career? 
» I would never want to compromise my ethics for the sake of monetary gain.  Music for me is a means by which I am able to resonate with people on a deep emotional level.  Through my music, I get to share my personal experiences in life with others who can relate to them in some capacity.  That's what inspires me to write.

• How important was music in your life? Were your family and friends supportive of this career choice? If you weren’t a musician today, could you see yourself doing anything else?
» Music has saved my life.  I've struggled in its absence and thrived in its presence.  There is no other way to put it other than the fact that it is an integral part of my life, and I am fortunate enough to have been able to make that discovery early on and keep at it while overcoming various obstacles along the way.

• How are you keeping busy and musical these days during the pandemic? How are you staying connected to your listeners? Are you finding that social media is even more useful now?
» Definitely yes!  The timing was right on target.  The recordings have enabled my music to be streamed in volumes that were once unimaginable.
Also during the pandemic, my girlfriend and I would go to various scenic places to record my music and I would post the songs on my Facebook page for my fans to hear in the absence of live gigs.  I even got to play at music festivals from my living room through zoom.  In the process, the concerts were recorded, so I got to read individual comments that fans wrote during the performance, something that would not have been possible in live concerts.  It's like the saying "Out of adversity comes opportunity".  That is so true.

• What, or who serves as your biggest inspirations, both musically, and personally?
» From the perspective of the source of the material for the songs that I write, it's life's experiences that influence me in that regard.  
My biggest musical inspiration is Bruce Springsteen.  His understanding of life and the underlying human conditions come across through his music, and it resonates with me on a deep level.  It inspires me to connect with my listeners in the same way through my own words and expressions through my music.

• What is the first thing that comes to your mind when creating a new project? 
» There's something about the process of creating a song that feels like something I was destined to do.  It's not an easy process, but I get a tremendous amount of satisfaction when it is completed and the lyrics are married to the melody in the way in which it was intended.  The ultimate satisfaction is achieved when the band gets to play the music,  adding value to the portrayal of my creation.  I owe a lot to their musical abilities and to their devotion.

• What is the one thing every song must have for it to be solid?
» A common feature to my songwriting technique involves unique chord changes and melodies that take unexpected twists and turns.  I also like to weave into the lyrics some lines of encrypted verbiage that have deep significance to me.

• How does your live show add to your mission? How do you want fans to feel when they see you live?
» I want them to feel like they have been swept away by the music.  I want to never disappoint and always surpass people's expectations at every concert.

• Have you been surprised by anyone who’s reached out and said they’ve been influenced by your music?
» Always.  I am always humbled by the enjoyment that people have of my music.  That is something that will never change.

• Let’s talk about your recently released album, “Wildflower.” What did it feel like releasing these collections?
» I am thrilled by the overwhelming feedback I have received by the media since it was released.  Touching lives beyond my personal reach has given me so much satisfaction, and the songs deserve to be heard and judged for themselves, so I thank you for assisting me in this endeavor.

• Did anything surprise you about the overall process?
» Since I have been distributing my music online, it has been surprising to see how quickly the interest has spread, and I look forward to watching it continue to grow at such a tremendous pace.

• Can you describe the themes that you explore on these albums?
» The themes to this album are about relationships.  It's about the friction in relationships between real love versus idealistic love that mold relationships, break-ups, getting old, making decisions on where the red lines exist that are not to be crossed over but have been,... The underlying theme is the amazing power that people have to break through limiting obstacles by just letting your heart be free.  Everybody hungers for love.  We learn and grow by learning lessons along the way through our mistakes.  It is ultimately about triumph through love.

• While it’s difficult, can you pick out a few of your favorites on “Wildflower”?
» Wildflower, I Know, I Will Go Down, My Way Home and Jukebox along with the rest.

• What was it like producing them and where did the inspiration for them come from exactly?
» The biggest source of inspiration comes from my current relationship of approximately a year and a half to date.
The production part was thrilling thanks to the amazing contributions that the accompanying instrumentalists added to the sound.  I am grateful for the individual contributions that they added to complete the album in its ultimate presentation.

• What makes it so meaningful to you?
» The satisfaction that I am getting after all these years of effort.

• Really i like the song "Wildflower" very much, it feels relaxing while watching the music video. What was it like making the music video for “Wildflower”?
» I think the image of the woman running free through the wildflowers captures the essence of the song very well.

• How creatively involved with the process were you?
» I was very much involved with every aspect in the creation of the music, and the band played an integral part of pulling the sound together from their aspects, but I owe a tremendous amount of gratitude to Duncan Stitt for the recording and production end of the album.

• Do you think music today is enjoyed more for the beats and rhythms or for the lyrical content?
» It's really a marriage between the lyrical content and the melodies.  When the mix is right, the appreciation and enjoyment is further enhanced.

• You perform and release the music with your own name. Why not just go by artist or stage name?
» Band configurations change over time.  As the singer/songwriter/composer and bandleader, it seemed to make sense since I am a permanent fixture in the band.

• Tell us a little bit about Brian Berggoetz Band? How do you handle your band as a leader?  How many artists currently have it? And in future, Will they increase?
» The solo band is mainly composed of a base player and a violinist, and the album has a guest flutist and an additional guitarist.
The rock band shares the same base player, it also has a drummer and a lead guitarist.
The current configuration of each band is optimal and solid.  I do not foresee any additions or subtractions ever! 
I'm a lucky band leader.  I handle them with respect and I solicit their feedback with suggestions for changes because I value their input.  They are family to me.

• How do you handle criticism? Who has been your worst critic, if any?
» I can honestly say that I am not aware of any criticism I have received since the formation of either of these bands.

• What does the next page in your career trajectory look like? What does the rest of this year and the start of 2022 look like for you? Do you have plans to release more new music or a full album soon? Are you currently writing new music?
» Great question! The band is about to release a new album that I will be proud to present to you in the coming weeks.
I am constantly writing new music.  It keeps things fresh and alive and it keeps the interest from the band and the listeners going strong.  
I hope to keep the numbers of listeners climbing upwards exponentially and eventually sign a record contract for records and/or movies.

• Now it's time for Rapid Fire Round, you have to answer in one line. So get ready for it...!
» The first song I remember hearing? - Happy Birthday
» The first song I fell in love with? - Born to Run by Springsteen
» The first album I ever bought? - Bad to The Bone by George Thorogood
» The first gig I went to? - Crosby Stills and Nash, front row
» The song that makes me want to dance? - Dancing in the Dark by Springsteen
» The song I wish I’d produced? - Thunder Road
» The song I can’t get out of my head? - Be Afraid by Jason Isbell
» The song I can no longer listen to? - I Think I Love You by The Partridge Family
» The genre I don't like? - EDM
» The song I want to play at my upcoming B'day? - For He's a Jolly Good Fellow
» Describe Shevy O'shea in one word? - Respectful

• You’ve always championed new music. Are there any recommendations for Lifoti and its readers to check out?
» Check out The Craig Green Band

Recently he was featured on cover page of Lifoti's July 2021 issue 18, you can check it from below link's for your country:

Follow him on Facebook | Twitter | Spotify | iTunes | Website 

Stream the full album "Wildflower" below and let us know what you think down in the comments.

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