the 2020 north american open champion opens up about her life, the music business & the best advice she ever got!
Who are you?
Beth Norris Brennan. Originally from Aitkin, Minnesota. Currently living in suburban Minneapolis. I am the frontwoman for the party rock band Sugar Buzz. I also play bass and sing in a side project called Creatures in the Parlor. By day, I’m a Sr. Marketing Director for SAP Concur technologies. I’m a fitness junkie and I like scary movies plus all the Law & Order a human can consume in reruns.
What first got you into music?
Life! earliest recordings are nursery rhymes at age 3. When my dad tried to take the mic away, you can hear me say “i’m not feesh yet ” (I’m not finished yet) — but I really didn’t start taking it seriously at all until my junior year in high school.
How did you learn to sing?
Listening and mimicking. I did take some opera in college and a few voice lessons in high school. I believe you can ALWAYS improve your craft, so for the past few years I’ve been working with internationally acclaimed vocal teacher Katti Powell.
Who would you most like to collaborate with?
My band Sugar Buzz — I love live music. Anything can happen (and it usually does) – so that added excitement of humans all being “on fire” all at the same time – or even having to recover mid-song from a broken string, missed entrance, etc- is what it’s all about.
If you could go open a show for any artist who would it be?
Celine Dion hands down. Then , if given a second choice – HEART or PRINCE (yes, i know he’s dead)
What is the most useless talent you have?
I can ride a unicycle. I haven’t in years — but if called upon, I could probably do it.
What is your go-to karaoke song?
Totally depends on the mood. If it’s Rock I’m going with Whitesnake’s Still of the Night or Heart’s Barracuda. For a Ballad it has to be either Celine Dion’s I Surrender or It’s All Coming Back to Me Now.
What would you be doing right now, if it wasn’t for your singing career?
I’d probably have to find a hobby with a competitive angle like martial arts. Otherwise, i’d probably just be in my friends’ hair asking them to go out and do stuff all the time (extrovert issues)
How do you feel the Internet has impacted the music business?
Both good and bad. The invention of services like NAPSTER (remember them?) really brought down some of the money-making aspects for artists and they had to adjust . The GOOD side is that many people can self-produce and self-promote without aid of a record company. Your works can be consumed instantly around the world.
Which famous musicians do you admire and why?
Prince – he always went his own way in how we wrote and performed music — he was an early pioneer of the technology and internet reach. Aside from that, he is arguably one of the most talented musicians of the 21st century. (and he hailed from Minnesota!)
If you could change anything about the music industry, what would it be?
I think it would be more about those who consume the music. I see so many people asking for FREE concerts and a “but you’ll get lots of exposure”. That goes for promoters and fans. Musicians work hard to put out a quality product. It’s worth paying for, it’s worth paying the cover charge at a nightclub instead of asking to get in free. It’s worth people patronizing the clubs, buying the merch etc. People are quick to dismiss musicians as hobbyists (even though i consider myself a hobbyist – many of my friends and colleagues make their living this way . ) The profession deserves respect!
What is the best advice you’ve been given?
Be the best version of YOU that you can be — do what plays to your strengths . Don’t try to be everything to everyone. No one can be YOU better than YOU.