While many people are making plans for vacations and jobs this summer, Bree McCuin, sophomore political science major, is planning to record her second album.
McCuin says she started singing as “a very small kid.” She began writing original songs at age 5 and would practice singing them to herself.
“That was something that just always came naturally to me,” McCuin said. “It was how I expressed myself.”
She began playing the guitar seriously at age 11.
McCuin’s guitar teacher, Bryan Webb, encouraged her a great deal when creating her album, she said. It was his idea to begin recording her songs when she was 13 years old, and it became a vision for her, she said.
Webb owns Sad Giraffe Records: Studio East Productions in Pinson, Tenn., where “Fly Away,” McCuin’s very first album, was recorded.
Each Thursday night for two years, McCuin and Webb worked on her songs. When McCuin was 15, her alternative album, “Fly Away,” was released with 12 songs.
About 250 copies of the album were sold, and she said she’s hoping sales will increase with the release of her new album.
In the time since the release of “Fly Away,” McCuin says she has changed a great deal as an artist.
“It’s amazing to me to go back and listen to it, because it’s not who I am now,” McCuin said.
She said she feels the emotions and ideas that she wrote most of those songs about had no depth, but they reflect who she was at that age.
“I was passionate for everything, and I wasn’t in my head,” McCuin said. “I wasn’t thinking out all these things.”
McCuin says the part-time work she started during her senior year of high school as a deputy clerk at Madison County Juvenile Court has dramatically altered the way she sees people and, therefore, her songwriting.
She was struck by the realization that the people she worked with were made in the image of God, just as she was.
These concepts have become something she enjoys writing about, she says.
“I like to write transformative songs, where the person described in the beginning is not the end result,” she said.
“I never feel as much contentment and rest as when I’ve got a guitar in my hands,” McCuin said.
Adrienne Wagster, sophomore music major, has known McCuin since their freshman year of high school. She says McCuin has grown as a musician since they met.
“I believe that her new album will be a new take on her music and lyrics,” Wagster said. “It will be more easy, soulful, and extremely meaningful.”
Another change between “Fly Away” and McCuin’s new album will be the company used to produce her work. In the time since Webb and McCuin worked together, their schedules became increasingly difficult to coordinate, McCuin said.
At age 16, McCuin met and became close friends with Wes Henley, producer at Highland House Productions in Jackson, when she was asked to be a guest vocalist for country songwriter Ross Hudson.
She said Henley began working with her, and she was recently approved to begin work on her second album.
Despite her enjoyment of writing songs and performing them, McCuin said music is not the career she wants to pursue.
She plans to attend graduate school and earn a doctoral degree in political theory. McCuin then hopes to eventually teach political theory at a Christian college.
“I never feel as much contentment and rest as when I’ve got a guitar in my hands,” McCuin said. “That’s one thing I’m just never going to be able to get away from.”