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Episode 119: A conversation with Colin Bracewell

Kaylie Sirovy talks with an indie-pop singer/songwriter and UMN Student

KAYLIE SIROVY: Hello, everyone! I’m Kaylie Sirovy, your host from the Minnesota Daily, and you’re tuning into In The Know, the podcast that brings you all the latest on the University of Minnesota. 

For this episode, I have a special guest joining me. Please welcome Colin Bracewell, an indie-pop singer/songwriter who has been creating a buzz in the local music scene. Bracewell is pursuing a dual major in Business-Marketing and Vocal Performance here at the U. Alongside his academic endeavors, he has also received training in the world of opera. Today, we’ll dive into his journey, exploring his passion for music.  

COLIN BRACEWELL: I started off on the violin when I was four. I did that all throughout high school. I played the saxophone in high school, too. Did a lot of musical theater growing up, and then once I got to the University of Minnesota, I started playing like my own music. And so I used to be a DJ at Radio K, actually, and that kind of connected me with a lot of people that do music at the U. And that was my freshman year and that’s when we did our first gigs. 

SIROVY: In addition to Bracewell’s singing, he is surrounded by a group of musicians who form a cohesive band. Let’s meet the other members:

Joe Sikora takes charge of the drums, providing the rhythmic backbone. Cole Grundhoefer showcases his versatility as he handles both the bass and guitar duties, and completing the lineup is Nate Loesch, a master of the trumpet.

BRACEWELL: I think there’s like this – the classic four piece group that me and most other bands have. It is cool that we have a trumpet player, so people really gravitate towards that. And also, like I said, I really think that people really gravitate towards my, like, vocal performance. And I know that I’m not a great guitarist, so I really rely on that, too, and my songs are also like based on that, too. So I think that’s where we stand out.

SIROVY: Bracewell’s music has resonated with listeners on esteemed platforms such as The Current, Cities 97.1, and Radio K. According to the Current, his instrumentation sets him apart from other singer-songwriters of the same genre, often adding gentle synths, a killer trumpet solo or a moody saxophone riff to bring a jazzier feel that offsets lyrics of heartbreak (or amplifies them, depending on the listener). But juggling the demands of pursuing a higher education while growing a music career can undoubtedly pose unique challenges. 

So being both a musician and a student, how do you kind of balance that life?  

BRACEWELL: Well, I don’t. I don’t know. So far I’ve been able to do both pretty smoothly. I know that this past semester with the opera and finals, that was very overwhelming. And so luckily, the U of M has a lot of really great student resources just for like mental health. And so I utilize those and just being open and being, you know, communicative to teachers has really helped me. And also they know that like, you know, I mean, and so my teachers are like, ‘Oh my God, I heard your name on the Current. Like, that’s crazy that you do that.’ So most people don’t even know. I mean, I think people are slowly figuring out like, ‘Oh yeah, he also makes his own music,’ but I’m really grateful with how I’ve been able to do both so far and how my teachers have been not only like accepting that but like really embracing it. 

SIROVY: Bracewell and his band have played the stages of renowned venues in Minneapolis, leaving his mark on the local scene from the esteemed Turf Club and Fine Line to the iconic 7th Street Entry and Varsity Theater. Additionally, he had the privilege of being one of the first artists to perform at the Green Room, a fresh addition to the music scene in Uptown Minneapolis. The Green Room, a venue that has only been open for about five months, is working to become an integral part of the city’s musical landscape.

To gain further insight into the significance of local music and the community it fosters, I sat down with Tanner Montague, the owner of the Green Room. In our conversation, Montague shared his thoughts on promoting local artists, the vision behind the Green Room, and the role it plays in cultivating a vibrant music scene in Minneapolis.

TANNER MONTAGUE: Green Room helps offer a place for local artists to grow their audience, to try stuff out, to make money, and to go to the next step. I think prior to Green Room, there weren’t many venues independently owned that offered that. There are a lot of great dive bars with a small stage and you can have a show and ten people show up and it’s awesome. 20 people show up? Packed kind of thing. But that doesn’t really lend itself to much, like you don’t really grow much from that. 

SIROVY: Before his concerts at the Green Room, Bracewell met Montague at a previous show.

MONTAGUE: I used to manage a venue in Saint Paul and that’s where I first met Colin. It was before he got all over the Current, and I think before the song Making Me Crazy came out and we got the full band to do a show at this venue and it was super fun. But like as a musician, I was so stoked on the music that was being played, the bands like artistry, the musicianship, the music was like good and fun for them to play, but also totally relatable and easy for an audience member to enjoy. And that has only grown since.  

SIROVY: Back in May, you headlined at the Green Room, which was sponsored by the Current. But I also noticed that you dropped a new song on Spotify that same day. Could you share the story behind the song’s creation?

BRACEWELL: Oh yeah. So it’s Falling For You. It came out May 11 and that was a part of the Green Room release show and it was for that song and this was the first song that I produced all on my own. So I was just in my bedroom in my house in Dinky, and I just worked on it for the whole semester and I tracked drums in my basement. Yeah, and now it’s out. I don’t know. I mean, it was cool, but it was also really scary because I couldn’t rely on anyone else. Like normally when I, you know, when I record or do something, I go to a studio and there’s someone engineering and stuff. But this was just like all of me. 

It’s crazy. I worked on it on a weekend and probably the most progress that I made on it was on that first two day period. And then just the rest of the month or the rest of the semester, I was just obsessing over it, you know, because there’s always like one little thing or like I probably I think I redid the whole entire song like probably six times just because I was like, okay, like, I know I just got to try different things and then I end up just going with the original thing.

SIROVY: While your website mentions that your production resonates with the sound of Bon Iver and Jeff Buckley, I’m curious to know who or what have been your primary musical influences?

BRACEWELL: It definitely comes in waves. I think every couple of months I have like a neo-soul moment, but I haven’t put out anything that really reflects that. Well, obviously Hippocampus is like a big inspiration, but even just like indie pop thing. I also really rely on, like, my vocals just because, like, I am primarily a vocalist. So I definitely just that’s the center focus when I do make music. 

SIROVY: As you continue to evolve and make your mark in the music industry, what are the upcoming milestones on your journey? What are your next steps as an artist?

BRACEWELL: Yeah, keep on releasing singles. I’d love to eventually put out an album or like I want to put out vinyl so bad, but it’s just got to be the right moment. Like, I don’t want to put out vinyl and have it at shows like it’d be cool to have it like distributed to like the Electric Fetus and like, do pop up shows. I think that would be so cool.

MONTAGUE: The music scene here is so special and different. All the musicians, all the fans, everyone is so incredibly supportive of everyone. I’m a musician first and foremost. I’ve played a lot of gigs. I’ve come up in the scene. I went to school here and so it’s been really cool to be on the other side of it, booking the shows and bringing these people in to play on our stage and get them to feel like rock stars. 

SIROVY: For additional information about Bracewell and his music, you can check out If you’re eager to experience his performances firsthand, mark your calendar for his upcoming shows on July 29 at the Green Room and August 18 at 7th St Entry, among others.

This episode was written and produced by me, Kaylie Sirovy. As always, we really appreciate you listening in. Feel free to email us at [email protected] with comments or questions. I’m Kaylie, and this is In The Know.


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