Bria McCollum also known as Ergo, Bria is a singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and producer from Atlanta, Georgia. She is now currently located in Nashville, Tennessee where she attends Belmont University as a songwriting major and plays gigs with her band live bringing audiences intense emotions from the heavy rock, metal, and punk influences to melodramatic, emotionally moving pop, alternative, and indie songs.
Bria strives to break the typical barriers of an artist because of her unique voice and style choices. With her passion for genre bending, she uses her background as a classical pianist, violist, and violinist to create a completely different arena of music. Much of her work contains deep, yet literal lyrics about racism, politics, heartbreak, mental health, and love. ”
How did you get to where you are now?
I started this project around a year ago. All of the tracks on the EP are older pieces I’ve written because I have myriads of songs. At this point I’d rather get all of my older content out now so when I do release more recent songs, people will be able to see the obvious improvement I’ve made as an artist and songwriter. The last song “Crash and Burn” is the oldest on the EP. I wrote it when I was like 13 and it definitely shows, but it holds a special place in my heart because it was what got me into my songwriting major in college (and I played the entire orchestra at the end which made recording an absolute blast).
How would you describe the highs and lows of being an artist?
The highs are being able to do what you love, which is anything music-related. In all honesty, there aren’t many lows. I feel like the only thing is when you’re a small artist you have to prove your worth countless amounts of times to get people’s attention. When it comes to promotion, it’s also very mentally draining to do that type of stuff. I’m a hardcore introvert so when I have to reach out to a lot of of people online, it intimately drains me. But being able to make music for others and myself definitely makes up for it!
What’s a musical guilty pleasure of yours?
I listen to Big Time Rush when I need a good cry.
What are some sources of inspiration for you?
Books, TV shows, anime, and overall just hearing about other people’s life stories play a huge, huge part when it comes to inspiration. About fifty percent of the time I write songs about personal emotions, feelings, and experiences. The other fifty come from art that others have made. For example, my very first single, “Quicksand” came about because I was watching a K drama and I felt what the main love interest was feeling so much to a point where I just had to write a song about her experience of falling in love.
Who is an artist that you look up to more than others today?
Brittany Howard is an artist I absolutely look up to more than others. I love the way she puts her soul into her music and just leaves it at that. I just love her outlook on the world and how positive and confident she is. I strive to have her outlook on the world.
Favorite activity to blow off some steam?
My absolute favorite thing to do is go on drives in the middle of the night. I don’t know why but something about driving and listening to a podcast or music completely lowers my stress levels. I also love doing active things like skating or playing tennis simply because it increases the serotonin in my brain.
Tell us about your latest release and how it came about
My latest release “Plethora” has a very odd backstory. When I first began college, I met a friend that lived in my dorm hall and maybe a week or two of knowing her we somehow ended up sitting in the hallway at 3:00 AM having this super deep conversation about society’s outlook on women and how damaging it is. At one point she was like, “I’m tired of not being desired because I don’t fit the beauty standard and I just want decent men to want and love me not for my looks”. Then the next day I immediately wrote “Plethora” in like thirty minutes. The image of a girl being so overwhelmed with the idea of love and appearance made me really want to write a happy-go-lucky-sounding song with dark commentary for some reason. After writing it, I performed the song for every live show I’ve ever played and it’s always been a favorite amongst audiences – therefore, I decided I should finally record it all in my car, as per usual, and release it.
What are some things you do to deal with anxiety and creative blocks?
I feel like I have not had many creative blocks when it comes to writing songs. It’s probably because whenever I feel myself not being able to produce music or lyrics, I just assume it’s not the right time and forget about it until I feel it’s time to revisit a project. I also come up with approximately ten ‘song topics’ a day and write them down so I’m pretty sure I’ll never run out of ideas.
What’s the future looking like for you?
I’d like to think my future is looking pretty bright. One of my main goals is to go on tour since playing live is absolutely one of my favorite things to do. I also want to grow as a producer and collaborate with more artists because I would love more experience in that realm. I just want to learn more and share my art with the people who have been believing in me thus far.
What inspires your visuals, videos, looks, etc?
The people who inspire my visuals are Nova Twins, Meet me at the Alter, and Noga Erez. There are clearly punk fashion influences in Nova Twins and Meet me at the Alter which call out to me visually, but, I also have a very corporate side to me that Noga Erez visually executes perfectly. I honestly just mix my business aesthetic in with the punk/grunge aesthetic and hope for the best.
What are the most embarrassing memories and the proudest moment of your career so far?
I do not think I have any embarrassing moments yet. The only reason I say this is because I feel like a situation is only embarrassing if you make it embarrassing. My proudest moment is definitely where I am now. Releasing music was a very hard hurdle for me solely because I did not have the gear or money to go to a recording studio so I am very proud of the fact I have been able to get to where I am with my motivation and drive alone.
What is the best advice you’ve ever gotten?
Don’t ever stop learning. There are so many musicians and people as a whole that believe they know every single thing about their profession. This ultimately leads them to fail when they are to stretch their narrative. I learn and grow every day and I think it’s a huge part of the human experience. It also just helps me feel more at peace knowing that no matter what there is going to be something I don’t know and when I do learn something new, it definitely helps with my creativity.
Where do you think the music and entertainment industry is headed after this past year?
Tiktok has completely changed the state of the industry. Now there is a bigger reach and people are more likely to find music they would have never listened to in a million years. Because of this phenomenon, I think this whole pop-punk resurgence that’s going on will completely reach new heights since this is just the beginning. In my opinion, I think this is great because obviously, I love music like that, I just hope and pray there will be more inclusion this time.