Tag Archives Courtney Graf

Courtney Graf Discusses The Start Of Her Band, Broken Halleluyah

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Picking up your life and moving to a new place is not an easy task for anyone, but sometimes it can bring about great things. Singer/songwriter Courtney Graf was struggling to find her sound as a solo artist in New York. She hadn’t found a producer that quite understood her unique style until she whimsically decided to rent a car and go to the beach. The beach seems as good a place as any to grasp incredible opportunity, right? While jamming out with some people she had met earlier, Graf was introduced to someone who eventually led her to her producer and current band mate, Lamont Coleman.

 

The band, Broken Halleluyah, composed of Graf and Coleman, relocated to Nashville to chase their dreams together.

“Moving to Nashville was more of a spiritual journey for me,” says Graf. The pressures of New York were taking a toll on Graf and even though it was difficult to uproot her life in New York, she wanted to find herself and thought Nashville would be a great place to start.

Inspired by artists like Aretha Franklin and Shania Twain, Graf has always had an interest in country music. With Coleman’s huge background in producing, he had a lot of different styles to offer as well. Together, they describe their sound as “country soul, rock, and a little pop, all at the same time, all the time.” With Graf’s background in country music and Coleman’s background in just about everything else, their combined sound is truly genuine.

One of their latest songs, “How to Make Love Work,” has a real soulful feel to it. This song embodies more than making love work in a relationship; it is also about the world. With all the hate and negativity in the world, Broken Halleluyah wants to inspire people to put aside their differences and to make it work.

“We are all just trying to make love work,” says Graf. “Get out there and sail your ship and if you run into a storm, just keep going and work it out.”

Making sacrifices is not easy, but in order to make love work, we all have to give a little and be willing to “swallow your pride and find the common ground to love each other,” as Graf says.

Broken Halleluyah has released a few new songs, including “Born Again” and their most recent song, “Soul on Fire,” which they are extremely passionate about. “Soul on Fire” is about doing what you love and what sets your soul on fire as opposed to doing something you hate just to get by. Graf and Coleman are very passionate about this song because they are truly doing what they love and see this song as an inspiration for everyone else to do what they love.

Get out there and sail your ship and if you run into a storm, just keep going and work it out.

Before they started releasing music, it wasn’t all fun and games. Graf and Coleman had to make a lot of sacrifices of their own before getting to where they are today. Leaving New York was hard for Coleman because he had been there for so long, but in order to pursue his dream, he had to step out of his comfort zone. Graf had struggled to find a producer that really understood her as an artist before she met Coleman. It was a long road before they got going, but now they are working hard and don’t plan on slowing down. They are working on releasing an EP, getting into movie scoring, and always making new music.

Broken Halleluyah wants their fans to know “we are here for them.” Through everything they go through “we are who we say we are and we are going to rock for a lifetime.”

Read more Music Interviews on ClicheMag.com

Courtney Graf Discusses The Start Of Her Band, Broken Halleluyah. Photographed by  Stephen H. Dillon

Catching up with Courtney Graf

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Cliché readers, we’ve been catching up with Courtney Graf. Two years have gone by since the singer-songwriter graced the cover of Cliché. Since then the artist has been up to a lot, including writing and recording new music and modeling. We talked to Graf about her latest single “Give Me Freedom” and how her music has changed.
Cliché: What have you been up to since we last spoke to you two years ago?
Courtney Graf: Since we last spoke, I opened Courtneygraf.com LLC and have been managing my own career. All of my music, acting and modeling runs through my company now; makes things a bit less hectic to keep track of. I recently put out a new single called “Give Me Freedom” and am about to release “Hands Up”; both were produced by The Heatmakers, who really helped me shape my soul/pop sound on these two records.
I signed with Silver Models and have been making strides in the fitness modeling realm; working towards branding with fitness to shape my artist image. I’m hoping to build one of strength, empowerment and positivity. I received my personal training certificate so I could know exactly what my body was doing and the benefits of exercise. It speaks to a life of power and taking charge. I feel my lyrics speak to the same.
I also signed with Fenton Moon Modeling Agency and was able inspire my clients at KMS and Goldwell to use my single “Give Me Freedom” to open their hair show tour around the US this year. Their cinematographer, Alec Watson, is also filming my music video in the process. I’m thrilled about this opportunity and can’t wait to share what we create with you all!
In writing your music, what is the sound or vibe you’re going for? What would you want the listener to feel?
The sound or vibe of my music is something I’ve been working on since I was 5 years old. It’s such a personal experiences and expression. You have to really know yourself. I can’t say if I’ll ever fully find it; growth is an endless journey. However I believe I’ve seen a glimpse of what I’ve been searching for in the Soul, Pop genre. My two new singles, “Give Me Freedom” and “Hands Up”, are the first of my works to embody it. To me, my sound has become a fusion of all the music I was raised on- Creedence Clearwater Revival, Mariah Carey, Michael Jackson, Jill Scott and everything 90’s.
Courtney Graf
Have you changed your music writing process over the years, and what would you say influences your writing?
My process has pretty much stayed the same. I’ll play or hear a chord progression, sing from the heart with the voice recorder on, find a central theme and write as I freestyle.
My struggle to find my way as an artist in NYC is always a good topic of discussion. However I will say I am a strong believer in the power of a positive message. Regardless of what direction my heart is pulling me I force myself to see the light in each situation. There is no lesson learned if you stay down on yourself; although it is important call yourself out on your mistakes. Whatever life throws your way the challenge is to find your way out; not let it jade you with your regrets.
How many songs do you think you have written altogether?
Well, I’ve been writing since I was 10 and I really stopped keeping count. It’s more about writing something, anything, every single day. Allowing your self to feel something and express it in words. If there’s a lot of thought backed up in my mind I’ll write two or three a day.
“Give Me Freedom” seems to have a different sound from your earlier singles, “The Good Life” and “Deal With It.” How would you as the writer and singer describe the differences you made when recording?
“Give Me Freedom” was one of those records I wrote to make myself feel empowered and strong. I was about to leave for the airport for a KMS/ Goldwell hair show in Nashville. I had this overwhelming feeling of wanting to do and be my best in all aspects of my life; yet my weaknesses seemed so prevalent. This song is really about allowing yourself to accept your flaws and free yourself by embracing your strengths.
What is your immediate future plans? Any upcoming performances or albums?
I’m opening for the KMS/ Goldwell hair show tour with my song “Give Me Freedom” all around the US this year. They’re shooting my music video in the process as well. KMS is all about freedom of style so it was a great fit. (It’s somewhat ironic that I wrote that song the morning of my first show with them in Nashville.) We recently shot the first show in Seattle. Next stop, Miami.
I’m working on a “We Follow Her” video for Yogasmoga as well. They’re a great company with such wonderful people in it. Another one of my musician meets model moments. I’ve been very lucky with what I’ve been able to pull together through my access as a model in NYC.
I also perform every Wednesday at the Carlton Hotel in restaurant Millesime from 9-11pm. When my drummer can make it he plays the last hour with me. It’s a beautiful venue and a great place to try out songs I’ve recently written. I’d say its a very unplugged an personal version of my performance. Great place to have a drink or dinner; hang out with me and the music!
Courtney Graf
Photos courtesy of courtneygraf.com