Brianna Lea Pruett
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Brianna Lea Pruett

Oakland, California, United States | INDIE

Oakland, California, United States | INDIE
Band Americana Blues


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"Brianna Lea Pruett: The Best of What's Next"

Hometown: Gold Country, Calif.
Albums: Gypsy Bells
For Fans Of: Gillian Welch, Emmylou Harris, John Steinbeck

Quite frankly, Brianna Lea Pruett has lived more than most of us. Not in duration of time. No, she’s a spritely 30 years old. Pruett has long dropped out of high school, moved to the Big City and back, celebrated marriage (and its dissolution), endured fame-by-association and established herself as an all-around, multidisciplinary, self-sustaining artist. She has an IMDB page, poetry in the process of submission for journals, paintings for sale and a debut album that just dropped on Canyon Records. But lest one infer that Gypsy Bells is Pruett’s first record, quell those assumptions. It’s just her first with a record contract.

The budding narrative surrounding Pruett begins with her roots. Her Native American Cherokee, Choctaw and Chickasaw heritage proves compelling fodder for creating a media persona that’s built upon her musical and lyrical tendencies. But in conversation, the self-described blond-haired, blue-eyed Pruett speaks less of these easily ascertainable facts and more about her fascination with the larger life questions: “How did I get here? “What are those people’s stories that put me here?”

Tracing her history for context, she begins, “My father was born in San Joaquin County and my dad’s family is mixed Native and European settlers immigrants and they moved from Oklahoma and Arkansas post-relocation out to California in the early 1900s when it was popular to have a farm and a ranch and also pursue another profession. My mom’s family is mixed European, like Mormon immigrants, and my parents met because both sides of my family had done that, come out to California seeking the farm life that was out here.”

She continues, “If you were really living a good life here in California in the early part of [the century], you were owning land, raising a family and having a profession. Both sides of my family did that. I’m really influenced by that and influenced by my family’s interaction with different histories and historical figures.”

Pruett, while cautious, is a force of unflappable self-assuredness. She takes pride in her heritage and her multi-sensory creative outpouring and how they intertwine. “I don’t label myself as Native American,” she says. “My official ethnicity is that, but I can actually choose. And that’s because of how I look.

“I don’t bead and feather myself….I don’t fringe myself. I don’t face-paint myself. I’m an urban girl. My family is from farming family, but I really grew up urban, so I try to be accurate about where I’m from. I think that’s something that is positive.”

And although Gypsy Bells was just released on Canyon Records, a traditionally Native American label, Pruett’s sound aligns much more with that of an indie singer-songwriter. Her suave alto wavers over acoustics guitars that are sometimes punctuated by twangy electric fills like in “Seeds of Love,” arpeggiated piano intros in “Under Your Wing” and flute solos in “Red Jacket.” And in terms of storytelling, Gypsy Bells rings with historical fiction rooted in Westward Expansion and the Gold Rush, as exemplified in the Grapes of Wrath-feeling “New Life.”

““I’m just so surprised, delighted and excited by my relationship with Canyon,” she says. Gypsy Bells is the first vinyl record they’ve released in 30 years and Pruett is their first indie artist. “I choose to represent myself as a human and an artist first and attend to my art first,” she says. “But Canyon is a Native American label and they are really innovative by putting something out with me, being a business partner with me, who is so evasive of labels.”

Next month sees Pruett’s album release party with The Shants at San Francisco’s Amnesia. In the New Year, she’ll begin a six-week U.S. tour in support of Gypsy Bells. But with so many projects in motion, Pruett has numerous ideas of what she wants to focus on next. It could be another album, for which she already has a number of demos and a songbook of more than 300 tracks from which to draw. Or, it could be shooting one of her three feature-length movie scripts that she has written. She might work on submitting her collection of short films to film festivals, continue sending poems to publications, or manage some combination thereof.

“I’m doing a lot of things,” she admits, standing her ground. “I don’t feel overwhelmed by it, but sometimes other people go, ‘Oh my god, how can you be doing so many things?’ Or sometimes they’ll be like, ‘Oh, you’re doing too many things.’

“But I’m like, ‘Is anything really suffering? No, it’s really not. Well then I’m fine.”

For now, Pruett is riding out Gypsy Bells’ adventures wherever they may take her. “I’ve been able to do all my things that I love pretty easily,” she maintains. “I got behind myself and pushed.” - PASTE Magazine

"Making Waves in California"

Brianna Lea Pruett is an amazing new musical artist making waves in California with her truly unique and emotional sound. -

"Making Waves in California"

Brianna Lea Pruett is an amazing new musical artist making waves in California with her truly unique and emotional sound. -


Natural Fact (2003, self-release, 2009, re-issue Tiger Friends Collective) Full-length

Winter Apple (2004, self-release, 2009, re-issue Tiger Friends Collective) Full-length

The Stars, the Moon, the Owl, the Cougar, and You (2010, Tiger Friends Collective) Full-length
4 out of 5 stars, IMPOSE Magazine

Keeping You In Mind (2012, Tiger Friends Collective) EP

Gypsy Bells (2013, Canyon Records) Full-length
full stream at PASTE Magazine, PASTE Best Of What's Next



Folk singer-songwriter from Gold Country, California, Brianna Lea Pruett’s musical expression reflects a confluence of experience and influence. Born in the mountains of Northern California, she plays indie-minded folk and blues suffused by the music of her Appalachian roots and west coast heritage.

She started writing seriously as a teenager, performing jazz standards with a band and live spoken word around the San Francisco City Lights crowd, distributing her self-published poetry internationally. She has worked with diverse artists in many genres, and carries that personal tradition forward.

Exposing herself to a wide selection of American pop music and classical, Brianna intertwined these various influences with folk songs from dust-bowl era Oklahoma, passed down through generations of her family's migrant workers, sharecroppers, coal miners and porch singers.

Pruett has played regularly up and down the west coast and toured internationally, having shared stages with Jonah Matranga, Jacob Golden, Sean Hayashi, Mark Kozelek, Two Sheds, Nick Jaina, Karl Blau, Lady Lazarus, and others.
Love, family, home, and heritage consistently show up in the music.

Pruett's most recent release, Gypsy Bells, (Canyon Records, October 1, 2013) has garnered much attention at PASTE magazine and attentive positive reviews from press and public, with references from Emmylous Harris and Joni Mitchell to Steinbeck.