Briana Calhoun is a singer/songwriter from Louisiana with an eclectic style and an incredible story. She's gone from jailbird to songbird and says her main objective is to empower others.
Originally born in Dallas, Tx., she learned to love music at an early age from her mother and grandfather — both accomplished musicians. She moved to Louisiana as a pre-teen and can safely attest that writing songs was her saving grace during some difficult times to follow.
“I went through a lot of personal and family struggles in my teens and early 20’s. I fell victim to addiction, depression, and self-hatred, and ended up doing time in state prison for multiple possession charges. It's not something I'm proud of, but I'm not ashamed either. In Louisiana, we have an extremely high recidivism rate for inmates. So, the fact I was able to get out, turn my life around, get my master's degree, hold a career down, and start a family -- I feel very fortunate. I could and should have done something with my music way earlier, but drugs robbed me of my opportunity -- like they do so many people these days."
Briana says aside from her faith, songwriting has always been her way to get outside of her situation and comfort herself. “It’s my therapy.”
She wants her music to have the same effect for those facing similar struggles.
“Specifically, I wrote ‘Learn Girl’ (the title track to my EP), as a call to love yourself. To learn that instead of putting yourself down, you’ve got to build yourself up. There’s enough in this world that can bring you down. So, when everything else is dark, let the light come from the inside. When I was locked up I’d look in the mirror every day and tell myself all the great things I was going to be and do when I got out. I was going to be a completely new version of myself (with God’s help) And guess what? I was.”
In addition to her music, Briana is now a mom and a teacher. She says she feels blessed to have been given a second chance and tries to turn her negative experiences into a positive platform.
"Now my biggest obstacle is trying to balance all I've been blessed with, while still pursuing my music the way that I want to. It's tough sometimes. But I look at what I've already been through and think, 'You can do it.'"
Briana's style is comparable to modern country artists like Kacey Musgraves and Maren Morris. However, in 2020 she trademarked the term "Southern Pop" to describe her music. "People kept asking me what genre I am and I have so many different elements in my music I decided to create my own. When you hear my music, it's pop, but you can also hear most of the primary genres, too -- and you can definitely tell I'm from the South when I sing so I came up with 'Southern Pop.'"
Briana is currently touring in the Southeast as an independent artist. She released her EP "Learn Girl" Feb. 14, 2020 and will soon release a new single "Baby, Baby, Baby."