We had the good fortune of connecting with Brian Chartrand and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brian, why did you decide to pursue a creative path?
It was never really a conscious decision to pursue a career in music. It has just always been there. As far back as I can remember, music has always been the main passion. There was something alluring and magical about the sound coming out of the radio. I have been making music since 4th grade when my public school held auditions for the school band. I was immediately drawn to the drums, maybe because my brother played the guitar and I wanted desperately to be in a band with him. In 6th grade, piano lessons started. But it wasn’t until I found my voice and my brothers guitar, that I felt like I found my calling. I played in every band in High School; concert band, marching band, jazz band, and of course my own rock band. Throughout college, I performed with my original band on the weekends and dreamed of making a living playing music and financially supporting myself with my voice and a guitar. It wasn’t always easy. In 2003, a move to Phoenix, Arizona in a way jump started my current career. Part of the reason for the move across country was to get away from music; an act of rebellion against a career that was not developing the way I had always wanted. I was tired of being broke, living at my parents house, and being in a band with musicians who weren’t ready to go all in and make music a full time pursuit. Once settled in Phoenix, I immediately began writing material as a solo artist and quickly found some likeminded individuals ready to bring life to my new compositions. Fast forward to today, I have numerous projects. My original band The Sweet Remains has had some great success on Spotify, sells out venues across the country and most recently had the honor of making first ballot for the Grammy for the Best American album of 2020. My other main band is Live from Laurel Canyon which tours all over the country performing the music from the artists who lived in Laurel Canyon in the Hollywood Hills between 1965 and 1975. When not on the road with those projects, I perform as a solo artists here in Phoenix, tour the country and in Europe, and make albums in my home studio. It hasn’t always been an easy road to travel but its all I’ve thought about since I was a child.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
Making a career in music isn’t easy. Especially as an “untrained” musician. I didn’t study music in college, so my technical knowledge was lacking as I entered the field. A lot of the more traditional musician gigs were off the table. I guess I made up for it by being tenacious and unrelenting, always creating and writing, always trying to hone my skills. I’m proud of the fact that I came to a new city at age 27 and networked as hard as I could to get in front of the right musician and studio owners. I pounded the pavement and earned a living even during the recession in 2007/08 when opportunities for work was scarce. I lived a very modest life at that time, just me and my dog, and dedicated myself to the craft. I’ve made some albums that I’m very proud of. Fulfilled a lifelong dream of touring in Europe, which I’ve done at least 15 times over the years. And lastly, I’ve been able to focus solely on music as my career since 2007.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
We would definitely seek out some live music whether its at Valley Bar, Crescent Ballroom, or the Rhythm Room. We would definitely find some good food whether its Pizzeria Bianco or Rita’s Mexican food. We would also definitely find some nice patios for a drink at Postino or Ohso Brewery. Another favorite thing is hiking at either Piestewa Peak or Camelback Mountain.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
Someone who recognized my passion while in Phoenix, is a drummer/booking agent called Mike Florio. Im not sure I would be where I am today were not for his confidence in me and his support of my music.