Written by Erin Mathis
SayWeCanFly (real name Braden Barrie) is a one-man acoustic act all the way from Ontario, Canada. Like many young musicians, he first rose to popularity through his YouTube channel, which currently has over 130,000 subscribers.
His honesty, down-to-earth personality, and beautiful vocals have gained him a loyal fan base, and now, he is about to put out an album with the California based record label, Epitaph Records. He is currently on his biggest tour to date, Vans Warped Tour, and found time in his busy schedule to sit down and talk about his experience so far on Warped, his YouTube channel, and of course his excitement about the new album.
Is this your first Warped Tour?
It is. I played the Toronto date, but that’s it.
And how has it been so far?
It’s been amazing. It’s been pretty tiring, but I mean it’s been the best experience and the craziest summer of my life. Just being around so many people that are working on music is really motivating. Everyone’s been really nice and down to earth and it’s cool to just connect with so many people. And everyone that comes to see the shows are incredibly supportive and the reason that Warped Tour can happen. So yeah, it’s been great.
Awesome. So YouTube is kind of your home. When you first started back in 2009, did you ever expect that you’d gain so much popularity? What were your original goals with the channel?
I started writing songs before I even had the internet. It was always something that got me through a lot of stuff, like when my parents divorced, that was really probably when I started. And then when I discovered the internet, my thoughts were really just that I wanted to post to have more of an excuse to work on music. I didn’t care if anyone watched it or not. I didn’t think anybody ever would. Just to think back to those days, and think how even when like five or ten people would watch, just knowing that there were people who understood what I was writing about really just meant a lot, and still does.
And those early subscribers that you made connections with, are still here?
Yeah. A lot kids will come up and be like, “Hey, I’ve been listening since 2009,” and I’m like oh man, that’s crazy. It’s really cool.
And can you talk about just how supportive your fan base is?
Those kids are incredible. And the only reason why I’m on Warped Tour is because enough of them voted for it. They make these opportunities for me just based on how much they care. And I make sure to go on social media as much as I can. I always want people to remember that they’re just as much a part of it. The love that I receive from them, I don’t find anywhere else.
I feel like you’re really outgrowing your space. You were the first performer that I went to today, and the acoustic tent you were in was overflowing. I couldn’t even see you.
Yeah it’s really cool. Like I said, I didn’t know how it was gonna go this summer because it was my first time. But to be at the point where there’s not enough room in the tent is an honor, it’s so cool.
And let’s talk about a certain record label that you’re teaming up with for an upcoming album.
I’m really stoked about it. I’m going to be working with Epitaph. It’s cool because I feel like doing this independently for so long, I’ve learned so much about the business, because I had to. And I held off on working with labels, I did have offers that I turned down. But it was cool because Epitaph has always been a label that I’ve always really liked, I really like the way that they run their ship. So being able to work with them and being able to get the deal that I wanted to get, has been amazing. So I’m excited to do it because I’ve never worked with a label, but I waited until I felt like it was the right thing to do.
So where are you as far as recording goes?
It’s actually already recorded.
Oh wow, where did you go to record it?
I actually recorded it in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.
Can we talk about your early influences and then also, who you’re really into right now?
Early influences were Secondhand Serenade. He was really the first acoustic artist that I got into. And also Mayday Parade and My Chemical Romance. Just the emo, sad stuff. And then now, I listen to a lot of classical music, and like soundtrack stuff, like the Lord of the Rings soundtrack. I like to listen to that kind of stuff because I like to incorporate it into my music, like violins and things.
So is this the biggest tour you’ve been on, and what are the best and worst parts about touring?
This is definitely the biggest tour. I don’t know if there even is a bigger tour than this one. And the best part, for me, is that I grew up in the middle of nowhere, so just being able to experience the world and meet people is so amazing. Just new experiences everyday. And then the worst part is probably that it does get exhausting if you’re not carefully. Mentally and physically. There’s always days that you just don’t want to do it, but I hate having those days. For me, I don’t want to project that on anyone. I don’t want anyone to think that I don’t want to be there.
Are there any music videos in the works?
Yes, I’m putting out a new video for my song “The Distance That Took You Away”. It’s an acoustic track from my last album. It’s just like a cute little simple video but I’m really excited about it.