REVIEW: Danielle Bradbery embodies the voice of modern country music

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Danielle Bradbery's most recent album is "I Don't Believe We've Met." Image courtesy of daniellebradbery.com

Danielle Bradbery is the personification of the future country music has been leaning towards for a while, blending a classic country voice and instrumentation with pop and R&B influences.

If you haven’t heard of Danielle Bradbery, she’s a singer who gained popularity as the winner of season four of “The Voice,” and at the time, she was youngest contestant ever to win the competition. Since her win, Bradbery has released two albums and been nominated for multiple awards.

In her performance in the K-State Union Grand Ballroom on Tuesday, Bradbery paid homage to the Kansas State by taking the stage in a cropped black K-State Wildcats shirt on top of shimmery plaid pants.

With thunderous drums and a booming bass guitar, Bradbery’s concert had a significantly more country-rock vibe than the distinctly lighter country pop/R&B crossover sound of her most recent album, “I Don’t Believe We’ve Met,” which features many songs that walk the line between being country and pop.

Bradbery did not disappoint with her repertoire, enthusing the audience with her most recent songs such as “Sway” and “Goodbye Summer.” She also covered “Last Name,” Carrie Underwood’s hit country anthem. Between songs, Bradbery cited Underwood as one of her favorite artists, and a huge inspiration as a musician.

Indeed, Bradbery seems to be a vision of young Underwood, with bright blond hair and a sincere laugh. They both even got off to a similar start in their careers, both achieving success on televised vocal competitions.

Though she absolutely kills performing Underwood’s songs, her own music definitely has its own distinct sound, mitigating the twang of country and the synthetics of pop.

Belting song after song with scarcely a break, Bradbery undoubtedly succeeded in impressing her talent and enthusiasm upon the audience, however I think she fell short of establishing her individual personality as an artist. Her songs were very heartfelt and enjoyable, but as far as individuality goes, one was mostly left with the impression of the typical country ingénue.

The only complaint to be had about the show itself is that the bass guitar and drums were so loud that they nearly drowned her out at times. The massive sound system was effective at giving the sense of being at a much larger concert, however served to steal the show from her voice in moments.

Bradbery concluded the concert with her heartfelt single, “Worth It,” a song she said means a lot to her.

“I was a part of writing this song, the message was very personal to me and I hope it reaches out to you guys,” Bradbery said.

While not likely to topple reigning country legends from their thrones yet, Danielle Bradbery is a rising star worth watching, and undoubtedly entertaining to see perform. She is everything modern country wants to be: young, versatile, and popular, if a little conventional.

If she wants to stand out from other aspiring country artists, her best bet is finding a way to differentiate herself from her predecessors by connecting with the audience and establishing herself as an individual in her performances.

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My name is Rebecca Vrbas. I’m the culture editor at the Collegian and a junior in journalism and mass communications. My hobbies include obsessing over an ever-expanding pool of musicals and cats (not the musical). I love writing because of the infinite intricacy of language, as well as its power to cultivate a sense of community through sharing experiences.