Mentor of the Week: Brody Ray Runge (Nashville, TN)
Home|Mentor of the Week: Brody Ray Runge (Nashville, TN)
Mentor of the Week: Brody Ray Runge (Nashville, TN)
You may have caught him on the last episode of America’s Got Talent. Brody Ray Runge, our Nashville singer-songwriter teacher, has an amazing story to tell. His talent and bright personality shines through during the auditions and becomes a favorite amongst the judges. Watch his audition below and read our interview with him to learn more about his journey.
We were so touched and blown away from your audition. Congratulations on your success! What were you thinking when you were standing on that stage?
Thank you so much for watching it and for your support! I was kinda scary going out there. I was super nervous but I was able to talk myself out of a lot of it. I tend to get stuck in my out self-doubt in my head so I’ve been working on staying away from high-pressure situations like that. I told the audience and judges my story and I got an overwhelming amount of support from everyone. That helped me feel more comfortable. I also know that I can hear myself a lot better with a stage, mic, stage monitors and a guitar. I can hear myself singing better which gives me more confidence so that changed a lot for me. I had to tell myself to stop over thinking it and just sing backstage. My producer saw me getting nervous and said, “Just have a conversation. Let it happen naturally”. That really helped me also.
How long did it take for you to prepare for the audition and how did you pick your song?
I have been training and preparing hard for a moment like this for many years, but I really started training and practicing in January when the audition process started. I try to stay up on my vocal training and warmups daily as well as writing and performing weekly. That helps build confidence on stage and makes me more comfortable in my abilities.
As for the song choice, It took a long time to find the right song. It came down to me trying to imagine the moment on stage and creating a moment that could capture everyone’s heart. It took me a solid month to go through every song I could think of that related to sharing my story and I always kept going back to Stand In the Light. But I kept passing on it because it was too high for the register. I felt kind of stuck so I thought why don’t I try dropping it a couple steps and see what it sounds like. I found a perfect key that felt comfortable and the producers said they thought it was the right fit as well. We ended up just going for it!
You seemed so calm during the audition. How did you quiet any nerves?
I had been struggling with performance anxiety for years. I would be fine up until the night before the big day. I wouldn’t sleep, I would have dreams of failing badly. I would just think about all the bad things that could happen and I found myself trying to stop myself from going there in my mind. When it came time to sing in front of celebrities for other shows my heart rate would climb so rapidly that I would get dry mouth, shakiness, and an inability to speak. I had some producers tell me that I was having minor panic attacks and anxiety attacks when put in the spotlight so I finally had the courage to bring it up to my doctor. He said I had performance anxiety and he prescribed me medication. I mean I still get nervous from time to time, but then I tell myself I am here for a reason. I have the talent and story that America needed to hear. This was not something I was going to ruin. I talked myself down several times before stepping onto the stage and became lost in the moment.
In the audition, we had the pleasure to learn more about your backstory. If you had a chance to meet your past self and have a conversation with little Natalie today, what would you say?
I would tell myself to not worry or be sad but to continue to have hope for the future. Your body will match your mind soon then you will be able to put that behind you and focus on your music career. I would say stay focused and out of trouble because it’s not worth the time spent. Work hard daily on your music. And don’t wait until your 29 to move to a music city!
What advice to do you have for young transgenders who are struggling to find their voice?
I think I would say that there is ALWAYS hope and light at the end of the tunnel and to never give up because it’s all possible. Everything you dream is within reach. You just have to keep fighting for your life and have faith. I always had that because my parents helped and supported me. They loved me unconditionally and helped my transition physically and push myself musically. Find support. Have courage, strength, and faith to keep fighting for yourself is the perfect concoction for success.
I saw that you performed alongside some amazing drag queens for PA Pride Festival; big things are happening! What’s next for you?
PA pride was so much fun! I have been having a blast performing at Pride festivals the last few months. Already this year we have hit Kalamazoo Michigan Pride, Capital Pride in Washington, DC, Frederick, Maryland Pride, Lexington, Kentucky Pride and have Atlanta, Georgia Pride October 14th! I am still in contract with AGT so it kind of limits me for what all I can do but I have an amazing team here in Nashville that is working very hard and we have lots of big things coming. I will be featured on AGT tomorrow night 8/7c on NBC for the final judge cuts episode. Next week the Live show will start. I will be dropping my new single on iTunes tonight after the episode airs! The same song I’m singing on the show tomorrow. So keep an eye out! I keep shows and music updates on all my social media accounts. You can find me on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter under @BrodyRayMusic. We will have a new EP dropping shortly after all this also.
Jennie Zhu is the Outreach Coordinator and Marketing Associate of Care2Rock. She currently resides in Austin, TX, but never stops moving.
"My child's instructor has not only profoundly opened his musical abilities up and made it fun but he is also a life mentor who has taught him dedication, discipline, grace and accomplishment through hard work. We feel very blessed that he is part of our lives. "