Brave New Girls is a brand that inspires girls to find strength in their unity and power in their individuality.
There’s a Brave New Girl in every girl.
Hi, I’m Teresa. Life’s been good to me so far because music has been a huge part of it. I learned to play the guitar when I was thirteen years old. My dad went to Italy one summer and for some crazy reason, when he asked me what I wanted him to bring back for me, I said “a guitar”, as if that’s where guitars came from. Random, I know, but that little request set the course for my life.
My grandmother, who’s name I was given, bought it for me, and my dad carried it all the way from his hometown of Pianopoli, Italy (population 2000). In those days then there were no gig bags so he literally carried it 10,000 miles strapped to his back.
My very musical childhood best friend, Shelley, who today is a concert violinist and orchestra conductor, I told you she was musical, convinced me to go with her to a 3 week-summer music camp. I took a guitar class and Mr. Korchmeyer taught 25 of us basic chords. I know it’s cliché, but I was so into it, I really did play until my fingers bled.
My first real gig was backing Shelley at the New England Fiddle Contest in Bushnell Park in our home state of Connecticut. We played for a crowd of 50,000 people, which is probably why I have never had stage fright. Shelley’s dad drove us all over New England to compete. She was great, even back then, taking home trophy after trophy.
When I was 17, I auditioned and landed the gig as the lead singer of a local rock band called STORM. I had braces and had to have signed permission from my parents to sing in bars. It took some convincing, but after seeing us play, they signed. I was very trustworthy and a total square so there was evidently very little risk of me going wild in their eyes.
After that I played in several bands, eventually spreading my wings beyond my little Connecticut boundaries, and at age 22 I hit the road as a solo artist. I remember a bio saying, “Teresa cut her teeth on the college circuit.” That’s such an odd saying, because all I picture is chewing my way to gigs, but nonetheless, it’s true. I became known as the Queen of the College Circuit, in fact. I guess it’s good to be “Queen of something” at least once in a lifetime. : ) I stopped counting at 1000 college dates, so who knows how many I’ve really played.
I finally decided that my life was mine, that no one was going to come “discover me”, so on my 28th birthday, as a birthday gift to myself, I moved to Nashville, Tennessee so I could become “Garthina” Brooks. That was my dream and I finally got up the courage to just go for it. I packed up my truck and U-Haul trailer, turned the keys to my newly remodeled house over to my new renters, 4 college guys and their huge dog, I think he was a Great Dane. And like the pioneers, my guitar and I headed west.
During my first weeks in town, I hit all the open mic nights, singing my songs and meeting other songwriters. At the same time, I kept up my touring schedule. I was wonderfully and busily immersed in music 24/7.
One day in the Nashville airport, this “Mean Guy” sarcastically blurted out, “Just what Nashville needs, another songwriter! You know sweetheart, you have a better shot of having a song of yours played on the moon than on the radio.” I was just standing in the airport with my guitar on my back, minding my own business. Every now and then we run across negative people and we have to learn to ignore them, because what they’re truly saying is, “I didn’t try, I didn’t chase my dreams, so neither should you.”
Wouldn’t you know that after a few years in Nashville I landed a publishing deal with Warner Brothers and a few years after that a record deal with Sony Music. I guess I showed the Mean Guy! But where was he now?
I was obviously excited about Sony and other than wanting to tell the Mean Guy, I couldn’t wait to share my news with the rest of the world, especially my best friend, Cady. You see Cady is the friend who beats me at nearly everything. You may have one of those, too. I must say Cady’s brilliant. She graduated from MIT with a PhD in Polymer Science, which translated means “plastic.” Of course, it’s a little more complicated than that, but it cracks me up to say my best friend majored in plastic. : )
When I first met Cady, I was a student pilot. Cool, right? Wrong. Cady already had her pilot’s license, having logged hours and hours in her own private airplane and in a military T-38’s, that’s a twin-engine supersonic jet trainer! You can see where this is going.
Now, don’t get me wrong, Cady never brags. In fact, she’s very modest and pretty spectacular. But, naturally, Cady was my first call after I got my record deal because this was my chance to show her I was cool, too.
So I rang her and when she answered the phone, I said, “Cady I’ve got great news.” She blurted out, “Me too, I just got my launch date.” Did I forget to mention she’s an astronaut? Anyhow, talk about timing. What were the chances we’d both have our dreams come true at the same time? After I congratulated her, she remembered that I had called her. She said, “Hey, what’s your news?” “Never mind,” was all I could say. I mean how could a record deal top her going into outer space?
After I was over being mad at her for once again one-upping me, I was actually thrilled and proud and inspired by my Brave New Girl friend. And a song was born.
When I sent Cady the recording of her song, she played it for her fellow astronauts and her NASA admin people and Brave New Girls also known as Cady’s Song, was chosen as the official mission wake-up song. So I got to go up in space with Cady. How cool is that! And guess who crossed my mind again? The Mean Guy! This time, because it turned out he was right. It was easier to have my song played in outer space, than on the radio. Don’t you just love irony sometimes?
Though I didn’t quite make it to the moon, I did make it out of this world. And Garth Brooks can’t say that!
So, there are a couple of morals to the story here.
Moral #1: God has a much cooler plan for us than we can imagine. Dream big then get out of His way.
Moral #2: For the most part ignore the Mean Guys of the world, but also know that you can extract some truth from their lies.
Moral #3: There’s a Brave New Girl in every girl, astronaut, songwriter, mother, daughter, friend, and I’ve come to learn first hand that you don’t have to be an astronaut to be considered brave. Cady helped me see that it was brave to leave my home, brave to follow my dream. Being brave isn’t being fearless; it’s really the opposite. It means forging ahead in spite of our fears. I wrote down this quote I found once and have tried to live my life with it in mind. “It’s not brave if you’re not afraid.”
Moral #4: Lift up your Brave New Girl friends; they are not your competition, they are your strength. Inspire, challenge and encourage each other. That’s what my Brave New Girlfriends do for me; Cady, Kathy, Shelley, Patricia, Sheri have inspired and supported me and I hope they all feel I’ve done the same for them.
By the way, the Warner Brothers and Sony deals didn’t really pan out. All the people who signed me, left before we made a full record. But I have no regrets. I can never say I didn’t try. Again, as I am proof that God had a much cooler plan for me than I could have ever dreamed up, I started my own record label, BNM Records, and my own business, Brave New Girls Music. Had the Sony thing worked out, that would perhaps not be the case.
Not that love isn’t a worthy topic, but because of my musical path, I haven’t focused solely on love songs, like most major label artists must do. I’ve been more inspired and inclined to write songs about interesting people and perseverance, because I have met some amazingly fascinating people and have certainly persevered.
My songs have in turn brought me all over the world, playing all kinds of gigs for all kinds of audiences; for astronauts, college students and Girl Scouts! In fact in a few weeks I’ll be playing on the National Mall in Washington D.C. for 200,000 Girl Scouts at what is expected to be the World’s biggest Sing Along. Garth can’t say that either!
Since I met Cady, I’ve come to look for Brave New Girls and what they have in common. They are brave of course, but brave in the sense that they “go for it.” They dare to pursue their dreams and their happiness.
Cady, may be the Original Brave New Girl, but she helped me find the Brave New Girl in me! I hope my music inspires you to find the BNG in you. When you find her, unleash her. I promise she will make the world a much cooler place.
See you the playground!