Confidence, competition, performance and identity. These are the things sophomore Bryn Battani explores in her debut EP, All I Have to Offer You is Anything You Want, recently released on January 15. Battani’s four song EP follows the release of her first single, “Neutral, Baby,” late last year.
Battani’s music career actually began in musical theater classes in middle school. She loved songs by Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova from the musical Once. “I think the female protagonist in Once is one of the main reasons I started playing more music,” Battani said. “I realized how much I loved playing and singing together.”
After coming to this realization, Battani began to learn more songs that she liked. She started to read less sheet music, and more charts and lead sheets. Similarly, she began to focus on “lyrics, chords, structure and arrangement.” These things would facilitate her original songwriting that she would gradually become more comfortable with, and begin to share in high school.
When it came down to actually creating her debut EP, it was no easy task nor a one-man job. Battani had the idea for All I Have to Offer You is Anything You Want this past summer and immediately went to work reaching out to her friends and mentors Curtis McMurtry and Diana Burgess. McMurty is a songwriter, and Burgess a cello player. Both are respected musicians in Bryn’s hometown of Austin, Texas.
“They are chock-full of musical wisdom and know their way around Austin’s music scene,” Battani said. “They helped me make a plan, sift through many demos, pick the strongest set of songs to record and connect with an engineer and musicians.”
Among the people whose instrumental expertise made the EP possible are studio musicians and high school friends. Battani spent a collective 15 hours in the studio recording for her EP. It took her and her co-producers “a few weeks to make notes on the rough mixes, a few more weeks to get the mixes back and make revisions, a few more to get the masters and a few to get the EP ready for release through a distributor,” Battani explained. In total, it took four to five months to complete the EP.
“The main influences I always cite are Fiona Apple, Tori Amos and Regina Spektor,” Battani said. In general, as well as on her EP in particular, “these three fiery female singer-songwriters rock my world, as do many others,” explained Battani. Although her EP conveys a distinct sound unique to Battani, it’s impossible to ignore that her songs are filled with similarities to Fiona Apple in particular. “I specifically used Fiona Apple’s When The Pawn… as a production reference for my EP,” Battani explained. She drew inspiration from Apple’s “sparse, melodic guitar lines,” in order to place significance on lyrics and highlight her vocals.
All four tracks are important to Battani, although she notes that “they each showcase a different range—musically, vocally and emotionally.” The EP opens with “Field Game,” which “[presents] the title with sultry assurance,” and suggests that “she has something to prove.” “Neutral, Baby,” previously released as a single, follows that up by “[remaining] unabashedly herself and refusing to change,” even while “her confidence [may seem to] falter.”
The last two songs on the EP are “The College Visit” and “The Entourage.” The former “[features] a haunting piano accompaniment augmented with lush layers of cello harmony,” which differentiates it from the other tracks. Lastly, “The Entourage” contains “rhymes and wordplay similar to Regina Spektor.” Battani is “backed by a buoyant bass line and bright, snappy drums played with brushes.” Something that links the songs together, however, is “a powerful piano and a lively rhythm section,” that back her powerful vocals. Intensity is heard in and defines all four tracks.
On January 15, the fruits of Battani’s labor were realized: she released her EP onto musical platforms, including Spotify and Apple Music. Battani has enjoyed lots of positive feedback, and is planning on a virtual performance in a few weeks. She hopes that everyone will continue streaming as she continues to create original lyric-driven piano rock music.