Soul-stirring Americana artist Brittany Collins is a late bloomer who never imagined that her calling would be singing, but once she discovered it, there was no turning back. Raised in the Pacific Northwest, she didn’t step on stage to perform in public until her twenties. Her soulful voice immediately captivated audiences with its intensity and raw energy, turning her into a darling of the Northwest music scene. Collins quickly built up an impressive resume of performances from acoustic coffeehouse shows to summer festival stages before landing spots on more extensive tours throughout California. After releasing two self-produced, self-released EPs, The Hitchhiker EP and Rough Sides, Collins will release her debut album, Things I Tell My Therapist, on August 12th, 2022.
The album’s overarching theme is examining how the people who raise us and the people we encounter in our lives shape how we see the world. Every song on the album is about a specific person; sometimes, that person is Collins. The record was written primarily in late 2020 when she was going through many changes in her personal life that caused her to reflect on her relationships. The process forced her to unpack a lot of trauma. But, the good news is that she ended up healing from it for the very first time. The songs might examine times in her life when she grappled with painful memories and situations, but they are tinged with hopefulness.
“If there is a message I would want someone to take away from the album, it would be “Life is messy, you get hurt, but you get to choose the kind of person you want to be, you get to choose to grow past the hurt and be a source of light for people if you want. It’s never too late to choose to put yourself first,” explains Collins.
This album feels a little bit like Collins’ diary, primarily written during a time when she was just beginning to address and recover from trauma stemming from childhood abuse. It reflects on her own relationships, the people she encountered during her time as a social worker, and stories that compelled her. Starting out as a tongue-in-cheek title for a song she wrote while on a hike in the woods, she soon realized that the title “Things I Tell My Therapist” was painfully and comically accurate.
“‘Somebody’ is about the experience of being parentified (the process of role reversal whereby a child is obliged to act as parent to their own parent) when everyone tells you how mature you are and what an “old soul” you are. But when you become an adult, you feel wildly behind all of your peers because you never learned who the hell you are or what it is you actually want to do with your life. The line “late bloomer, old soul” comes precisely from this feeling of role reversal. But even though the album deals with many heavy topics, I don’t like to think of it as a sad album because, along with all those not-so-happy things that made me who I am, there was also love, growth, and inspiration,” says Collins.
With a tight music budget, Collins and her band had a very narrow window of time in the studio. They spent a lot of time doing pre-production and recorded all of the scratch tracks at producer Dylan Welsh’s house in Edmonds, WA. They only had 72 hours at the beautiful MARS Studios in Bothell, Washington and basically lived there for the duration, recording the 9 tracks for TITMT.
“Dylan and I spent about 3 months doing pre-production, sending each other songs, and really honing in on what we wanted each track to sound like. We were both listening to a lot of Rock and Americana acts like Brandi Carlile, Jason Isbell, Jack White, and Chris Stapleton. We really wanted to hone in on the moodiness of some of the tracks while still making sure that they all sounded very distinct. We also wanted to make sure we weren’t pulling any of the same tricks twice, so we knew what vibe we were going for on each song well before getting into the studio.”
Things I Tell My Therapist is a debut album ten years in the making, and Collins’ first release that she feels was truly a collaboration between her and her producer. It examines the pain of familial ties (“The Apple”), the beauty of love that grows and evolves (“The Journey”), self-discovery (“Somebody”), reconciling with a parent (Things I Tell My Therapist”), and the dichotomy of living an everyday life while also dreaming of becoming who you know you are meant to be (“Two Worlds”). Her growling voice, poignant lyrics, and soul-flavored alt-country sound make this release stand far above her peers, stuffed full of soul-stirring ballads, uptempo Americana ditties, and a slew of radio-ready hits.
“This album really documents the process of finding myself, learning to chase my dreams, and embracing life for all of its messiness. These songs are an introduction to who I am as a person. Even more so than that, I hope these songs resonate with anyone who has experienced trauma/abuse/marginalization because no one is the sum of how other people judge them. My experiences shaped me, but they don’t define me.”
“Ms. Collins has a knack for writing about real-life struggles and situations. – Skagit Breaking