"I went through this weird phase where I was almost trying to convert people to country music, but there were already millions of country music fans out there."
2022 was another big year for Bryce Sainty. He released a five-track EP titled Hometown that was well-received by fans and included the huge single This Summer’s The One. He also performed a slew of live shows including a touring with industry stalwarts The Wolfe Brothers.
It was the latest step in what’s been a stop-start career thus far. Sanity arguably made his first big impact on the country scene with breakout single Never Going Back in 2018, but the supremely talented singer-songwriter actually released his debut single in 2012, over a decade ago.
Chatting over Zoom, Sainty reflects on both the frustrations and joys of working as an independent artist including how it’s impacted his career momentum. “I’ve had good and bad experiences with it. The best part about it, I’m in control. I’m a hands-on person, I like to be in control of things when it comes to my music and over the years I’ve learnt of a lot of different skills.
“I really like the business side of things, and I’ve been fortunate enough to have a few key players along the way that have formed my small team. But there have definitely been periods where it’s been really lonely. It’s also extremely expensive, that’s probably been the hardest thing. Being independently funded means that I basically have to go out and work like crazy to then pay to release the music.
“There’s been periods of my life where I've developed a lot of momentum with my music and then I haven't been able to continue or keep that going because I've sent myself broke. It's one of those things where I think when the right time comes along, a record label will find my music and we’ll see what happens.”
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So, we come to his new single Sideline, written alongside The Wolfe Brothers. Sanity reveals his confidence in being able to keep up the momentum this time, attributing new motivation to rediscovering his passion for the pure country music he fell in love with. “I think I’ve grown up a lot on this single,” he says.
“Prior to my last EP I’d released a single every three months or so before that, and towards the end of it, I decided to take time away to figure out what direction I wanted my music to go in. For quite some time I’d been flirting with that pop-country side of things. I went through this weird phase where I was almost trying to convert people to country music, but I realised it was the dumbest thing I could have done because there were already millions of country music fans out there.
“I decided that I wanted to go back to the music I fell in love with when I first got started. For me, that’s all about the songwriting, the stories, and back into more pure country music. The music I’m working on now is keeping with that direction, using a lot more real instruments as opposed to synths, and things like that. It’s an exciting new chapter for me.”
As we speak about the last few years, Sanity says the lack of performing during lockdowns and COVID-related restrictions meant he almost forgot how important it was to hear his own music in a live environment, revealing it’s been a game changer for his creative process. “Being able to go on tour with The Wolfe Brothers was an awesome learning experience for me. I really learned a lot about just being out there are playing.
“I had the chance to play songs I’d released three years prior, and having people in the crowd singing along to my songs… Then they’d come up to me afterwards and say, ‘I had no idea who sung that song and now I know it’s you’, it was incredible. There were a few songs I’d written that I thought would be great live, but after doing it, there were actually other tracks that weren’t even singles that I enjoyed playing more.”
Despite his commitment to no longer worrying about what other people think, or about trying to write music to appeal to mainstream audiences, Sanity acknowledges that one of the reasons for country music’s rude health in Australia is some big crossover hits in recent years.
“It’s crazy seeing how much Australian country music is coming out at the moment, and how many artists there are. It has never really felt like this before, and I think it’s got a lot to do with the mainstream nature of big artists like Luke Combs, Morgan Wallen, and those guys out of the US.
“A few years ago, we had Sam Hunt, Morgan Evans and Thomas Rhett starting to be featured on mainstream pop radio in Australia. Then we’ve had Keith Urban heavily played a lot on radio too, and with his exposure on The Voice too, that’s been shining a light on country music in Australia.
“Now we’ve reached a point where country music is cool again! So, there’s a lot of young artists jumping into the country music world and finding it’s a great fit for them. It's really great to see how vibrant and healthy the Australian country music scene is.”
To keep up to date with Bryce Sainty, follow him on Facebook here.