The gentleman behind SayWeCanFly, Braden Barrie, has a way with words that has melted hearts ever since the very start. Through pouring his heart and open wounds into every single tune, SayWeCanFly has created a dedicated fanbase that has stood by his side through every single low and high. On the brink of his upcoming release, ‘Blessed Are Those’, I caught up with Braden to discuss his tattoos, evolution as an artist and more.
First and foremost, introduce yourself to our readers. Who is SayWeCanFly?
My name is Braden. SayWeCanFly is my acoustic music project / my heart & soul.
Congrats on your upcoming release, ‘Blessed Are Those’. Give us the scoop behind your experience with the recording process for this album.
This album is really special to me for a few reasons. It’s my second full length, and for the first time in years, I recorded this one at home. After a few months of touring & writing on the road, I decided to build my own home studio and challenge myself to record this full length. I really needed some alone time with my creativity, and was able to dive into some sounds I’ve always wanted to use in my songs (war drums, singing elves, full orchestra, etc.). The recording process consisted of too many cups of coffee and a lot of messing around. I usually begin every song with the acoustic guitar (or piano) and vocals and go from there.
Let’s talk tattoos. Tell us about your favorite pieces and the artists that brought them to life.
My favourite at the moment is probably the portrait on my left shoulder. This tattoo means a lot to me for a few reasons; the whole idea behind it is the fact that after we are gone, our love remains here. At the end of the day we are all skeletons underneath our skin and our differences subside once we go beyond the surface. I wanted to have two skeletons embracing because nobody will ever know if they are male, female, white, black or anything else. That stuff has never mattered to me and I always struggle to understand why so many people are so caught up in it. I got this tattoo during the summer of 2015 which was my first year playing the full Vans Warped Tour. This incredible artist named Dylan Richter was doing tattoos for people in one of the busses, so I paid him a few visits. He used to sing in a band called For The Fallen Dreams who I used to listen to back in the day so it was neat getting to know him.
You have been touring ever since you were 16 years old. This leads me to a state of curiosity pertaining to your high school experience; please do explain.
High school will always be some of the best years of my life. I went through so much pain & depression but looking back I am so thankful for every experience I’ve had and the people I met. If it weren’t for the few people in that school who supported my music and always pushed me to make more, I’m not sure I would have the same drive I do now. That being said, I did drop out at the start of my last year. All of my friends had already graduated and that was really the only reason I liked going to school. Everyone was pushing me to go to college but the idea of pursuing anything but what I love just made me sad. I just wanted to make music and play shows, so I decided that’s what I was going to do. It took me years and years to turn it into my full time job but I told myself that no matter what it took, I was going to make a living with my art.
You wrote your first song when you were 14 years old. Impressive. What was the first song you have ever written and what inspired you to do so?
The first SayWeCanFly song I can remember (aside from the one I wrote about Scooby Doo when I was 9) was called “Breathe”. I wrote this one about my understanding of depression at the time, and it was kind of like telling myself to chill out because I was the one causing the pain by letting thoughts take me over. At the time I didn’t know it meant that of course, but looking back now it always feels like songs show their meanings to me later on in my life. That song specifically though I remember being written at a very dark time in my life. My grandfather had just passed away and he was kind of my best friend at that point, and my parents I believe had just divorced shortly before that. There were just a lot of thing going on that I didn’t understand… and writing songs was honestly what got me through those experiences.
The level of humanness expressed throughout your music is commendable. What life experience in particular has led you to such a strong state of vulnerability?
I think the reason I always write from my heart is because I started writing long before I ever had an audience. It’s always been natural for me to write exactly what I feel. I’ve never written a SayWeCanFly song with another human being because I can’t. I don’t do it to make music that sells or could play on the radio… the moment I try to structure or apply a formula to it, it loses honesty. I think just feeling alone so much as a kid has given me so much time to question and explore my emotions that it just comes out in my songs. It’s not something I could easily explain, but those songs are all new experiences for me as much as they are for anyone else who listens. Over the years I’ve become very aware that other people connect with those painful and emotional experiences that I write about, which has given me a whole other incredible reason to keep going no matter what. It makes me feel safe knowing someone else understands what I’m feeling.
Any upcoming tour plans?
I’m actually hitting the road from November 3rd to December 4th with a few of my friends. We are playing a bunch of shows across the U.S.A and I’ll be playing songs from my new album.
If you could share one life lesson or words or wisdom with your younger listeners, what would it be?
Just be aware. Remember that nobody truly knows what is going on or why we are here, so do what feels right. Don’t let worries stop you because all of those “limitations” and fears were placed in our minds growing up. They are not real. You determine where you end up in life, and the moment you believe you won’t succeed, you probably won’t. Always ask yourself what you want to leave behind after you’re gone.
If you could spend six months in one country overseas to simply write music, what country would you choose and why?
It would absolutely be New Zealand. The Lord of The Rings trilogy is my favourite piece of film, and I’ve always felt a little more connected with that realm than our own. There’s something incredibly deep and special about Middle Earth, and I can’t even begin to imagine what kind of songs I would write in the Shire.
Last but certainly not least, any messages for your fans?
You guys are incredible, and I will never understand why I was blessed with such a beautiful & down to earth group of human beings to share my music with but it will always be an honor. It’s pretty crazy to see how SayWeCanFly grows, and it’s something I never expected but I am so thankful. I hope you guys enjoy my new album, and just remember I’m always here, and will always be creating something to share with you. Stay cozy.