Singer Briannagh Dennehy on Motivation, Success, and Balancing the Rigor of High School

Let’s set the record straight: when Briannagh Dennehy becomes the next global sensation, an It-girl on every cover, songs on #1 on every Billboard, just remember that Dasha and I called it first.

Actually though, anyone could’ve called it.

It’s not hard to see why. As an up-and-coming singer, songwriter, and actress, Briannagh manages to balance fame and a normal high school life. Enigmatic, humble, and hard-working, my fellow New Yorker gives 100% to all she does. Briannagh has performed in multiple parades (as far away as England), festivals, and schools as well as star on various Disney (Bizaardvark!) and Nickelodeon shows and commercials… or you may recognize her from NBC’s This is Us. She even has a freakin’ IMDb! Plus, she has been nominated for and/or won a Golden Globe AND an Emmy Award.

My roommate/friend Dasha and I came up with the idea to interview Briannagh after we stumbled across her music video for Feel the Beat. The catchy tune, fun lyrics, and funky rhythm had us dancing around our room in a happy delirium– you can hear how her Carbbiean-American roots truly shine through her music! Dasha and I wondered how she was able to balance a rigorous academic workload on top of the intensity a music career demands.

I had the privilege of being in English 200 with Briannagh my sophomore year. Quiet but thoughtful, Briannagh was insightful in her comments about whatever we were reading, often adding new points no one had thought of before. Despite the massive amounts of success she had to celebrate, she never once bragged about her impressive feats– in fact, for a majority of the year, none of us knew about her other life at all!

I am so glad I have known Briannagh as a classmate, friend, and a celebrity. Thank you, Briannagh for sharing your wisdom from your experiences here:

1. Where and when would you say it all began?

    My entertainment career began with piano lessons, which began when I was five years old. I would have frequent piano recitals when I first started, which put me in front of audiences for the first time. I also performed in my church’s choir around that age, where I first learned about different vocal techniques. I have always enjoyed performing in front of audiences from as far back as I can recall.

2. What have been some of the most rewarding moments in your career thus far?

In terms of performances, the 2017 St. Kitts Music Festival felt extremely rewarding. This annual multi-day concert is the biggest in the Caribbean and over the years has had artists such as John Legend, Ciara, Chris Brown, and Toni Braxton. It was an honor to have even performed at the same festival as such world-renowned artists. Seeing myself on the news and hearing myself on the radio during the days leading up to the festival was even more special because I knew the stage was awaiting me.

I also felt that appearing on Disney Channel’s “Bizaardvark” was a very meaningful moment for me. It was really fun. The cast was really nice too.

Recently, my song and video for “Feel the Beat” has been my most successful song yet. It hit number 1 on the Tempo Caribbean Charts and there was a lot of buzz about it in many different countries. I’m looking forward to my upcoming single which I know will be an even bigger hit with the rap battle king himself, Cassidy, who has performed and released music with Jay-Z, Kanye West, and Lil Wayne.

3. What motivates you to make music?

I love the creative process. Just being in the studio and knowing that you are about to create something that is uniquely your own, is so satisfying. I love being able to tie in a motivational message to my lyrics as well. I hope that I am able to inspire others with meaningful lyrics that they can connect to.

4. What has been your most challenging setback so far, in terms of starting your career?

That would have to be my appearance on the Emmy Award winning NBC drama series “This Is Us.” Last Summer, I auditioned and was selected to be the little sister of the Pittsburgh Steelers Franco Harris as part of a flashback episode. After being on set for many hours and putting in a lot of hard work to make my scenes the best that they could be, I was a bit disappointed to find that the majority of my long anticipated screen time had been cut. It just goes to show you that nothing in Hollywood is promised. It’s only set in stone when it’s done.

5. How has being at a rigorous prep school such as Choate influenced your career as an artist, both positively and negatively?

Participating in Melatones and Chamber Chorus has challenged me to perform music that I don’t typically perform. I have learned a lot in the process and it keeps me sharp. I have also been able to perform on my steel pan with Yale’s Pan Jam and Lime Steel Band, which has been a lot of fun. I don’t believe that Choate has influenced my artistry in a negative way at all. If anything, it’s helped me grow.

6. Where do you see yourself in the next, let’s say, 10 years?

I hope that in 10 years I can either win a Grammy, sell out an arena, or be the leading actress in a hit movie. I think that if I could accomplish any one of those things, I’d say “mission accomplished Briannagh.” It’s good to dream big.

7. How have you managed being both a student at Choate and an artist?

It is quite challenging, but I believe that if you truly love something it doesn’t feel like “work” at all. Of course there are times when I have felt stressed or tired but I kind of treat my artistry like a hobby or an activity. It’s meant to be fun. During the summer and school breaks, I try to be as productive as possible, whether it be recording new music, auditioning, performing, or filming a music video.

8. Do you have any advice for aspiring artists, especially those trying to juggle high school like us?

Make sure to be efficient with your time. Work on your artistry whenever you have a free moment.

Connecting with Briannagh through this interview inspired me to pursue my own artistic endeavors even when high school can be draining. I could not have done this collaborative post without the help from the lovely Dasha– make sure to check out her blog for more awesome content! In the meantime, I am looking forward to Briannagh’s next big hit!  

Do you have any similar inspirations? What keeps you motivated through your workload? Let me know in the comments below!

Lots of love,
Skylar

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