We had the good fortune of connecting with Ernest Brockman and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Ernest, any advice for those thinking about whether to keep going or to give up?
I’ve watched a lot of artists and friends fall by the wayside in their respective fields because they decided that other things in their lives were of a higher priority than creative pursuits. I think a lot of that internal motivation depends on how an artist defines their success, and for most people, it seems to be a numbers game. When that’s the case, it’s really easy to lose track of the passion amidst, say, trying to figure out how many people are streaming your records on a given week. I’ve come to understand that as long as I feel excited about my forward movement and growth, and as long as I’m not continuously losing, I will always keep going. My work as an artist is easy to be very stoked about, especially with the end goal of connecting to as many people as possible.
Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
A huge driving factor for me in the music industry has always been the connection to people. Art is a vehicle for expression within culture, and one of my joys is finding and creating within the specific culture that TREY fits in. I began working in the industry in Nashville in 2017 as a studio engineer doing Christian and pop records for other artists, and spending a lot of late nights doing my own music in my free time. That same year, I went back to school to do a master’s in business, which was also the year TREY started touring pretty consistently, so time management became really important in order to maintain both. It was definitely a long and hefty process – there were a lot of nights sleeping in vans and on beaches on the east coast while trying to find enough wifi to finish my grad school assignments – but pressing through, and the connection that came with the fans and people along the way, was incredibly worth it.
I’ve definitely learned the value of consistency and the importance of a good community. Those first few years of TREY I was surrounded with amazing creatives who shared my passions and vision for what our corner of the industry could be. I’ve also grown to recognize the value of sticking with a specific brand; in the case of TREY, that means basing everything off of that love for connecting with people.
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.
Phoenix has so much to offer! We’d definitely start at least one day with a good hike. I love the Piestewa Peak area in the mornings, and Echo Canyon right before sunset. Most of my friends, like me, are huge coffee fans, so we’d definitely have to head to Moxie Coffee Co. on 16th (the best roaster in the Phoenix area) or Futuro (my favorite cappuccino!) downtown to get that good stuff. Tempe has some amazing places too; Pair Cupworks and Cartel do a great job. Some favorite restaurants are Forno301, Zinburger, and Soi 4 in Scottsdale! Being in the music industry often means a lot of late nights and some great hangout spots are definitely Valleybar downtown, Hanny’s on Central, or Lux if it’s my bandmates and I needing to dig deep and get some work done.
Scottsdale is normally where I head for shopping (Fashion Square, anyone??) and hanging out in old town.
I’m always scouting local venues for good shows to catch; Rebel Lounge and Crescent Ballroom have some of my favorite spaces to see great music come to life. The Nash is a classic jazz spot that has quickly earned its place as one of the top places to catch musical excellence as well.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d definitely start by thanking my godfather Kevin for gifting me my first recording setup when I was 9. It sparked a love for music production and pushed my writing process into something that was tangible and moldable as I learned how to grow in the craft.
Faith Benson Bella Peterson Sam Battaglieri