Local Singer-Songwriters Receive 2017 GRAMMYs Nod
The Brent Maez story reads like the lyrics to a classic country song. The catchy tunes on their 2015 extended play (EP) record, Brent Maez, chronicle the fun, love and musical dreams coming true for Brent and Erica Maez, married singer-songwriters of Mason.
Erica Maez, a West Chester native, Lakota High School graduate and former Lakota School District teacher, grew up listening to country music.
“I’ve lived here my whole life,” Erica says. “I always listened to country growing up—that old, twangy style—Clint Black, Alan Jackson, Bryan White, Tim McGraw, George Strait, guys like that. Until high school, I don’t think I knew that anything but country existed.”
Teenaged Brent Maez didn’t even know country music. He started playing shows in his hometown Chicago as a solo artist with his guitar at 16. During college, Brent made musical appearances at private parties, fraternities and benefits.
“When I grew up, I didn’t even know there was such a thing called ‘country.’ I was completely oblivious to it,” Brent says. “For me, it all started with James Taylor, Jim Croce, Cat Stevens, Chicago, the Eagles and Christian rock—a lot of Christian artists…you name it, I love them all.”
Fate and a mutual friend brought the two together in 2011 on the set of a local television show, Cincinnality. It was not only the beginning of a beautiful love story, but also combined the skills of the two to form a song-writing duo. Brent enjoys writing the music and together, they collaborate on lyrics. They tweak their tunes to toe-tapping, memorable melodies.
“I think we both bring something very important to the table that collectively makes us who we are,” Erica explains.
This year, two songs from Brent Maez were on the illustrious GRAMMYs ballot for three awards, just one step from the top honor as finalists. Rocking “Run to You” was on the ballot for the categories of Best Country Song and Best Country Solo Performance. The EP’s sweet closing song, “I Found You,” was recognized in the Best American Roots Performance category. The duo was listed alongside country music superstars like Dolly Parton, Blake Shelton and Carrie Underwood, to name a few.
“It’s kind of like the little person’s GRAMMY to even be on the short list. It’s pretty cool to be on that list. I’m in a good group of losers!” Brent jokes. “I was elated to be on the list for three categories.”
In the ever-evolving genre of country music, “Brent Maez” does not tell the typical sad story of broken hearts and lost loves. Instead, the Nashville produced EP celebrates a life of adventure and romance. The songs are a reflection of Brent and Erica’s happiness—personal and relatable.
Self-described as fun, alternative country rock, the four Brent Maez tunes hook the listener with catchy rhythms and meaningful lyrics.
“TV Show,” the top downloaded and streamed song of the EP, was written on the couples’ honeymoon, inspired by the nearby filming of the popular television reality show, The Bachelor. It light-heartedly highlights “a day in the sun and a night of rum.”
“We were running around having ridiculous amounts of fun on our honeymoon, and we thought, ‘Our lives could be a TV show!’” Brent explains.
While they enjoy the red carpet life, the Mason performers are committed to their community, playing at benefits and fundraisers like The Community Foundation of West Chester/Liberty’s Shamrock Shuffle and The Key Event, as well as private parties. They are crowd-pleasers, playing covers of popular party favorites and writing witty on-the-spot songs about the happenings of the moment.
“We like to do things that impact the community. Personally, we are very involved with local charities that benefit families in need, such as the Angel Fund,” Erica says.
“We like to try to use our music to help people or bring awareness to things, if we can,” Brent adds.
There’s more music to come from our talented neighbors Brent and Erica Maez—the red carpet is calling.