Indie rocker Brandy Zdan is a force to be reckoned with

Alysse Gafkjan

We have chick flicks and, with Brandy Zdan's new single, “More of a Man,” I think we might have a new chick anthem. The Nashville-based indie-rocker is a force to be reckoned with. In an interview with Brandy Zdan, I explored her influences, her inspirations, and why she went solo.


Ms. Zdan's love of music began at an early age. So early, in fact, that she doesn't ever remember music not being a part of her life. “From the time I was 5 and started singing at school choir I knew I loved it.” For Ms. Zdan being in the music industry was not a choice. “It's just always been there, it's in my blood. I started writing songs and playing guitar around 12 or so around the same time I was discovering my folks’ record collection and realizing this whole other world of rock and pop music.”


Before becoming a solo artist once again, Ms. Zdan was part of the duo Twilight Hotel. The experiences she went through with her co-singers and co-musicians served her well to prepare for spotlight alone.

“We are all just a sum of our experiences and I've had many,” she said. “I've been blessed to tour all over the world in the various groups I've been in. It's also just broadened my horizons and kept my chops up.” You can tell the experiences have suited her well in her music quest. Not only is she a phenomenal singer, she is also a musician. She has the talent to play guitar, steel, and accordion among others.

My favorite song of Ms. Zdan's is “Does Everything Break.” The haunting guitar riffs and Ms. Zdan's voice pair quite nicely and tug at the depths of your soul. By going back to her roots and becoming a solo artist, Ms. Zdan has been able to come full circle. Older and wiser with a sound that reflects this knowledge. “This is where my heart is,” she said. “It's in singing my own songs. I started doing that back as a teenager playing coffeehouse gigs around my hometown. I knew I'd always come back to it. I just wanted to wait 'til I knew what the vision was.”

Ms. Zdan's new single is a let loose and have fun, tongue in cheek, anthem that will have you tapping your feet along to the beat. “It's a chatty girl talk song,” she said. “To be perfectly honest, it's about being more manly than most of the men I date. It seems the well of manly men who get their hands dirty, can change your tire, and carry your amplifier is running dry.”


Ms. Zdan is very involved in social media. She gives her fans updates via her Facebook page or her personal website. I asked whether or not Ms. Zdan felt social media allowed her to have a closer relationship with her fans and have an ear to what the fans like.

“Absolutely!” she said. “In this modern day music industry, the connection with fans is the most important thing. I funded my album from these fans who care so greatly for the music, it's the least I can do to stay connected with them. As I do with my favorite artists, I like to see their process and get a glimpse into their world.”

Speaking of favorite artists, Ms. Zdan's musical influences run the gamut of musical types and genres. “My Canadian heroes will always be Daniel Lanois, Joni Mitchell, Neil Young, Leonard Cohen, but I have a love for guitarists such as Blake Mills and Bill Frisell. Right now I'm on a pop/rock kick that has definitely influenced my writing.”

Ms. Zdan's wish-list of venues she has yet to play is an ode to her hometown area. “I would love to one day play Massey Hall in Toronto,” she said, “as well as The Burt in my hometown [Winnipeg, Canada], but yes, the list is long with the usual suspect venues in the major US cities.”

What can the fans who attend her concerts expect? “Rich guitar tones, to the point rock/pop songs, and high energy.” As an artist Ms. Zdan can stand her ground. She has the ability to sway an artist to feel heartbreak one minute and then feel pumped up the next.

“I will say that I am an artist first,” she said, “but I am an artist who likes to entertain and I don't think there should be any shame in that. If you are going to be a performing artist there needs to be showmanship. I think that's why I've gravitated towards rock and pop lately and less from folk and Americana. I wanna turn the lights down low, put on a show and sweat, dammit.”

If you've watched any of her videos showing concert footage or showing Ms. Zdan sitting on a chair with just her vocals and her guitar you get the feeling that you are missing out on the full extent of her talent by not being there in person. I, for one, can't wait to see Ms. Zdan in person because I know that I will be blown away.

And if Ms. Zdan wasn't in the music business...”If there was something else to pursue then I'd be doing it right now. I tell people, if there is something else you wanna do, can do, then go do it, cause music/art is a hard, wild rollercoaster ride not for the faint of heart. As a fan, I'm glad I'm on the ride.”

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