Country Artist Frank Vieira Brings His Own Brand of Country Music to Us (Interview)
Frank Vieira is a country artist based out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Frank grew up in Vestal, NY where he fell in love with the guitar during his senior year of high school and he hasn’t put it down since. College brought Frank to Pittsburgh where he now resides with his wife and soon-to-be first born child. His new album Right Here is available for digital download on itunes and other major digital distributors.
Over the last few years Frank has been a big part of the Pittsburgh Country music scene, from hosting songwriters nights at local clubs, headlining honky tonks on weekends, and opening for national acts. I’ve been lucky enough to not only get to know Frank but to call him a friend. His album Right Here shows the development of his sound and how far his music has come. I had the chance to ask Frank a few questions and learn more about what makes him tick musically.
Frank, I know you recently released your song “Hands Down” to radio this summer. Can you give us some insight on the inspiration for that song and who you wrote it with?
“Hands Down” was one of those songs that I had kicking around in my head for a long time before we made it into anything. It’s a song that tries to take all of the little things that make someone who is your special person feel good – and I think that’s the goal of songs like Hands Down. To say something that everyone feels on a daily basis in a cool way. Something different than what we’re used to hearing. That first line expands from being the prettiest girl in the room to being the prettiest in all of your dreams, to me that kind of sums up a relationship journey. You go from interested (prettiest in the room) to inseparable (more than my dreams). Hands down was actually a song that I wrote by myself. I think sometimes writing solo can be productive if you are really willing to spend time and revisit a song over months with fresh eyes – but, as always everything changes when you get into that production room and the real magic is sprinkled on it. Ideas from other musicians and our awesome producer Mike Ofca really shape and change the feel and dynamic of a song.
Speaking of songwriting, who are your go to co-writers?
Songwriting-wise I love the community we have here in Pittsburgh. There are a ton of talented people in lots of musical genres. One of my favorite co-writers is Mike Cali. Mike has more of a pop singer songwriter style. In the vein of a Ed Sheeran, Amos Lee, John Mayer kind of mash up. That is the cool thing with co-writes, they allow everyone to really bring their strengths to the table. So when I write with Mike, he is a hook/ melody master, and I focus on the lyrical aspect of music. This definitely shines on “She Don’t know.” Some of my other favorite writers are my brother Tim who’s always cooking up some great lyrical phrase like “Play it by Beer”, the Hobbs Sisters, Chris Higbee (Tongue Tied, Something Bout a Backroad – Ready or Not EP). Just meeting new people and using our experiences to create something special is really what it’s all about.
I know your EP “Right Here” was self released. Give us some insight on the struggles and fulfillment that come with releasing your own EP. What advice do you have for an artist who is thinking about doing the same thing.
Releasing a project on your own in any capacity is definitely a challenge. But it is also a unique opportunity to call the shots and share something that is truly your work with the people. I think right now this is becoming a norm in music. Lots of artists are spending a great deal of time molding their own “Brand” and then taking it to the larger record labels. The independent route is sort of a proof of concept. For a business executive it is hard to get a fortune 500 job without a solid resume and it’s the same in music. It needs to be undeniable before someone will give you that top 40 break. In all lines of work, especially in music, I think we find ourselves wearing more and more hats. So in music it is about building an experience and a personal connection with the people who support you and the people you want to support you. I would say if you want to pursue an independent music project, believe you can do it and surround yourself with talented people who can make you and your music better. I’ve found that through others sharing their expertise it only makes the music better. Surround yourself with excellence and people might think you are too.
When can we expect the next single to be released? I know you know which one I am hoping for next!
The next single is definitely “Fill It Up!” We are going to release it in late March and hit the ground hard in April. It is definitely one of my favorites and a great summer party song. From a radio perspective it has been pretty special to see the support for the first single. We’ve been very fortunate to have several radio stations pick it up across the country. As an independent artist I will always be grateful when a station takes a chance and uses their airtime on one of the little guys like me. Hopefully we can keep that momentum rolling with the next one and beyond!
I know in your live set there are few covers that you guys really kill. What type of things are you looking for when picking out a song to fill out your set?
Covers can be a funny thing. They’re sort of a nod to successful songs and artists we love, and at same time something you can make sound completely your own. We do a couple in our longer sets that really let the band shine, like “Turn the Page” and “Moonshine in the Trunk.” I’m blessed to be surrounded by incredibly talented musicians that can really do the original song justice. On the other hand I’ve always found a fun challenge in coming up with something unique that will get the crowd excited. We do some fun mashups of not so “country” tunes like Kryptonite with Johnny Cash and a little rap medley. I think people enjoying being kept on their toes and surprised with some songs they know in a different way.
Where can folks see you coming up soon? Are there any particular shows that you are really looking forward to and why?
This December we’re doing some fun radio shows out at Jergels and on air. Then in January we’re kicking off the new year at one of our favorite places Tequila Cowboy on January 4,5,6. After that, I’ll be playing my last show before our baby is born February 2nd at Club Cafe where I’ll be sharing some tunes for the next record in a more intimate acoustic setting. Then we’re taking a couple of months to get ready to hit the ground running with our single “Fill It Up” in April. I’m already excited for that!
Frank, I know we often talk about musical trends and artists we really enjoy. Can you name two artists that you do not think get the press or credit they deserve?
For sure, those are some of my favorite conversations! Right now I think there’s a few artists who have been around for a long time that should be at the top of the charts every season. Maggie Rose, to me, is someone who is just phenomenally talented. She has such a great voice and is a kick ass live performer. I could listen to her all day, and I would enjoy seeing her get some of the recognition on a national scale she deserves. Then from an “I can’t believe he doesn’t get more love” perspective will always be Josh Thompson. No matter what Josh Thompson does or writes it always feels like gold. I’ve looked up to him as a songwriter for as long as I’ve been doing this. Those two are favorites that I wish had a little more appreciation.
If you were carving the Mount Rushmore of Country Music who would you be carving into that mountain? How have these artists affected your music or the industry in general?
Oh man. This is tough. It would be really easy to do the traditional favorites here but I’m going to pick guys who’ve influenced me. So I would say: Eric Church, Dierks Bentley, Gary Allan, and Brad Paisley. All guys who are great writers and have perfected their brand and live shows, in Church, Dierks, Paisley, in their own ways. And then you have Gary Allan who is just the expression of pain in vocal form. I’m not sure anyone captures the raw emotion he has singing and performing a song. Those are the guys that I listen to all the time.
A big thanks to Frank for taking the timeto for the interview We are looking forward to good things to come and his next single “Fill it Up”. Check out the Lyric video for Hands Down below as well as how you can follow Frank on socials.