|Britt & Blaire debut on Mt. Juliet Records|
|Wednesday, June 27, 2012|
Teen newlyweds harmonize on 'Young Summer'
MT. JULIET -- Married four months back, admitted beach bums Brittany and Blaire Hanks left their sunny Florida home to make a name for themselves in Music City.
The blonde, blue-eyed 19-year-olds, who perform as Britt & Blaire, recently debuted their first single, “Young Summer,” and its accompanying music video on the newly-formed Mt. Juliet Records label, and Mt. Juliet is now where they hang their hats and guitar in a “tree house.” They will entertain at 4 p.m. next Wednesday as part of the Providence MarketPlace Centerstage Summer Concert Series.
“Young Summer” has been receiving airplay on about 100 country radio stations and on a recent weekend, 30 major stations gave the song a test run.
“We love the beach. We love it a lot. I’ve grown up the tropical-type lifestyle. I knew that I wanted to have a summer song, so I sat down in my room one day and wrote ‘Young Summer,’” said Blaire, who composed the tune when school was getting out and summer break was beginning.
The couple confessed their initial Nashville recording session left them “just blown away.”
“It was crazy because we laid down the (vocal) tracks,” Britt said, before Nashville musicians added the instrumentals. “We were like, ‘Are you kidding me?’ First try, they just started playing it.”
“It was fun and emotional. We had a lot of our family there too, our parents,” Blaire said. “Our moms were crying,” Britt chimed in.
“They’ve already got 10 songs cut, all original songs that Blaire has written,” said Mike Borchetta of Mt. Juliet Records, who with wife Martha is producing and managing the act along with the duet’s uncle and Blaire’s father. “We’ll have them performing (at live shows) songs that people will recognize and release another single before we do the album.”
Borchetta, who signed Tim McGraw to his first record deal, said, “They have this good teen appeal that’s good for the audience. The most obvious market in the world is the teen market, but radio stations don’t jump on it. I’m hoping we can crack the ice somewhere.
“Their harmony is so unique, almost like the Everly Brothers, if they were brother and sister, and a little bit of the Beach Boys. I’d like to develop them into sort of an Everly Brothers meets the Beach Boys. And Brittany is gonna hit some notes that will give you chills,” said the 50-year veteran of pop and country music business.
Country boy Blaire grew up in Macclenny, Fla., which he describes as “a little town where everybody knows everybody. About three or four churches. Word gets around. The cops don’t take you to jail, they take you to your daddy. It’s a really close community.”
City girl Britt was born and raised about a 30-minute drive away from Macclenny in metropolitan Jacksonville, Fla., where she sang her first solo in church at 3 and later performed in plays and musicals in school.
“I liked doing it, but it was not until I met Blaire that I thought this is what I want to do,” she said.
The pair met at a karaoke night at Calender’s Deli in Macclenny when they were 17. Blaire had been playing guitar since the age of 9 and began dabbling in songwriting at 14 but never considered himself a singer.
“When I met her, I told her, ‘I’ve written some songs.’ I never really sang ’em to her, but more or less whispered them. She told me, ’You’ve got a good voice. I want you to go over there and sing just one on karaoke night, and I did and people clapped,” Blaire recalled.
“After that I started skipping school to go to her house and write music with her, and I thought that we could pursue this. We were getting better and better.”
“We didn’t know who Mike was. I ended up Googling him, and then I was like, ‘Wow! This guy can get us places.’ We ended up coming here,” Blaire said.
At the time, he labored at his father’s air conditioning company as a maintenance helper, and Britt worked in a local boutique, Classy Crossroads.
“We came up here, and Mike said, ’We really, really like your stuff.’ That was awesome,” Britt recalled. “They said, ‘This is going to be the biggest thing that ever walked into Nashville, and I was like, ‘Holy crap. Mike Borchetta just said that about us.’ We were really excited and kept moving forward, and here we are.”
The couple married in mid-February and moved to Mt. Juliet two weeks later. They signed their record deal in March and before the month was out, “Young Summer” was playing on radio stations.
“We were so excited to be here, but at the same time were a little nervous of the unknown. There were a lot of changes happening at one time,” she recalled.
“The first thing the Borchettas did was help get us out of the green mode. We were too green, too new, and we still are, but they’re trying to get us ready,” Blaire said.
“They’re starting at the bottom,” echoed Borchetta, a master of radio promotion. “They’re gonna be big.”
Blaire described their sound as “trop rock.” “It’s kinda got that Jimmy Buffett feel,” he said. One of his tunes is titled “Eat, Drink and Stay Salty.” He co-writes with veterans Michael Huffman, Billy Holt and Scallan.
To help prepare them for concerts, Borchetta lined up a Country Music Association Week gig at Tootsies on Nashville’s Lower Broadway. He had them learn such standards as “Islands in the Stream,” “Golden Ring,” “Bye Bye Love” and “Louisiana Woman, Mississippi Man.”
The youngsters are basically getting a crash course in Country Music 101, while they make their home in a Mt. Juliet garage apartment in the woods which they have dubbed the “tree house.”
“I don’t really have expectations,” Britt said. “Our goal is that we hope that we are going make it and do big things. We want to give a good testimony to people as well and be good influences and role models for younger kids.”
“I’m the same way: no expectations,” Blaire said. “I set high goals, I’m a striver. I keep going, but I keep praying: keep God first, remember where we came from. I want to have songs our fans will relate to.
“Everybody has taken us under their wing in Nashville: Huff Daddy (Huffman), Dean Scallan, and, of course, the Borchettas. In the past few months, we’ve gotten really close to them. It’s just been a miracle. Everything in our lives just lined up. We say, ‘It’s just too good to be true,’ but then again you think, ‘That it’s gotta happen.’ God has lined us up absolutely perfect, and I feel like if we just keep our nose clean and do what we’re supposed to and work hard, He’s gonna make it happen, and it’s gonna be unstoppable.”
“We should write a book and title it ‘God Is Real and We Can Prove It’ and include every little detail that has lined up for us,” Britt said, “because it has been a miracle.”