One of the best parts of writing these articles is getting to discover new artists and rack their brains, which is exactly what we got to do here with Brett Schieber! We chatted all about his love of Duran Duran, fatherhood, and his new track ‘Learn The Hard Way.’ We hope you love this chat as much as we do, let’s get right into it!
Stream ‘Learn The Hard Way’ by Brett Schieber here!
We obviously want to talk all things ‘Learn The Hard Way.’ What was it like working with Shawn O’Donnell and Bricey on the project
For ‘Learn the Hard Way,’ I reached out to Shawn O’Donnell to sing it and Bricey to do the rap. They’re both very talented, obviously, and I was thankful that they wanted to be on it, so working with them was a breeze.
If someone was being introduced to your music for the first time what song do you think would make the best jumping-off point?
Hmm…I do a few different projects, each with different overall sounds, so it’s difficult for me to say. To introduce people to the Rock and Soul project that I’m currently focused on, I suppose I would play this song ‘Learn the Hard Way’ first.
With ‘Learn The Hard Way,’ where did the idea for the track come from? How long was the entire creative process?
I did the track, sent it to Shawn, and shared my idea for the hook and concept for the song. You know, most writers have little bits of paper with scratch ideas on it, or brief notes in their phones. I pulled out of one of those ideas and, fortunately, Shawn liked it. He then wrote verse lyrics, recorded his vocals, and sent it to me. Then, I felt the song would be even better with Bricey rapping on it, so I sent it to him and asked him to be a part of it. I’m lucky that these talented guys wanted to work with me. Anyway, I then mixed it all down and sent it to my buddy, Calvin West, to master. It’s hard to say how long that took because of multiple mixes I did, etc, but maybe a few weeks?
You describe your sound as “Rock and Soul” what captivates you about those genres and drew you to create within them?
I don’t know where the term is derived, but I associate it with Hall & Oates. I’m originally from Philly, so their music is part of my DNA. Sadly for me, my voice doesn’t have that type of sound, which is frustrating. So I decided that in order to do this right, I wanted to get the most talented vocalists I could on the songs. But to answer your question, what is “rock and soul”, I’d say it’s a style influenced by all styles of music, most specifically rock and soul, but I like to think it’s “everything”, all genres. In fact, music shouldn’t even be divided by genres and all music, if it comes from the writer and performer’s soul, is soul music.
We know you’re a father, how do you think that aspect of your life bleeds into the music you create?
Thank you and yes, I have three incredible daughters that I am so proud of. I don’t know how that affects my music, honestly. Maybe it impacts my lyrics more? I’m not sure. However, one of the projects I do is called Mark D. Pencil and Friends and which is educational music and books for kids, so they definitely have a big influence on that.
Let’s talk about Mark D. Pencil and Friends! When, and how did you make the decision to create music under two separate names? Why did you feel it was important to separate both art forms?
Well, Mark D. Pencil is so different than my other music. It has a different objective and it’s not personal, meaning that I write it specifically for kids to learn. My “personal music” (the music I sing on), my Mark D. Pencil music, my “Rock & Soul” music with other singers, and I have another ongoing project called Arcanum where Tree is the singer. That music is more artsy and experimental. Since I’m not singing on the other projects and since they’re so different in style and objective, it seemed obvious to me to put them under a different name. In fact, I’d prefer to do the “Rock & Soul” project under a band name too. Maybe, if any company becomes interested in distributing the music, I’ll gather a few singers and ask them to make this a “group project” and use a different name. One can dream!
When you look back at 2022, what’s a career moment that really sticks out in your mind as a highlight?
My daughter, Abigail, was born in ’22, so that’s the biggest highlight. The musical highlight, however, is simply working with many incredibly talented singers. It really felt good to know that others with such talent liked and believed in my music enough to jump on it with me. It’s fun and it gave me more confidence.
Duran Duran is your favorite band! So we have to ask, is there a song of theirs that has specifically been impactful to you?
Ha ha, yes, they are! I actually have many favorite bands, but I chose them first, I suppose, and I truly love their music. It’s impossible to say how much their music has affected my life, influenced, and inspired me. They have too many great songs to choose from, but if I had to pick one, I’d have to go with ‘Ordinary World.’ I could hear that song every day for the rest of my life and never tire of it. It’s so emotional, beautiful, and powerful. When asked, I always say that ‘Ordinary World’ and ‘Tuna in the Brine’ by Silverchair are my favorites of all time. However, then I’m leaving out The Beatles and everyone else that I love so much, but….to keep things simple, I usually say those two songs.
What is one career goal you have for this new year of 2023?
I’m just hoping to get this music heard. It’s so amazingly difficult to get anyone at all to listen, so thank you very much for doing so and for sharing my music with your readers! I’m completely independent, so I’d love to find a company that believes in this music too, so that’s another goal for this year. Again, a guy can dream!
What’s next for you? What can our readers look forward to?
I’ll definitely be self-releasing more Rock & Soul songs and more Arcanum music. I’m not sure about my solo music as Brett Schieber (with me singing) or Mark D. Pencil and Friends yet. We’ll see. If anyone is interested in keeping up with all my releases, I hope they’ll follow me on social media.
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