Breann Young

Written by Shelbye Porter Almeida.

In her wildest dreams

On any night of the week, you can stroll the streets of Nashville, Tennessee and hear the songs of the musicians floating from the cafes and bars. Strumming guitars and singing love songs, hoping to have their songs heard by someone who will discover their talent and open doors to share it with the world. One of those singer songwriters that made it all the way to Tennessee is Panola County’s own Breann Young.

Breann grew up in the small community of Gary, Texas. She is the pride and joy of April Young, a school teacher and coach at Gary.  Many remember the simple songs she sang in the Sonshine Singer’s Choir at Eastside Baptist Church. Like most little ones she began singing for Jesus in the choir that was directed by her aunt, Connie Burns, known to all as Miss Connie. Soon people started asking Breann to sing specials in church. Everyone was blessed by her gift of song from God.

Breann not only sang at church, but her love of music and talent was often heard at social gatherings throughout the county. At the age of three, Breann’s mother took her to her first concert at Panola College to see family friend and locally loved, Linda Davis perform. Breann was in awe of Davis and soon knew in her heart that singing and writing music would be a big part of her life.

Fast forward five years to the age of eight. Breann started performing locally with the resident band “Pure Country” at the Esquire Theatre located off the square in Carthage. The first time she was on the big stage, butterflies were adrift in her stomach, but she soon became comfortable with the fluttering and sang her heart out with the Patsy Cline classic, “Walking After Midnight.”

Singing was a big part of her life, but her talent found its soul when she wrote her first song, “Turn Around.” Composed during her teenage years, the song was about knowing you didn’t feel the same about someone who had feelings for you.

Performing at the Country Music Hayride in the Esquire Theatre became a constant until she went into high school. She continued to sing occasionally with the band, but being an active teenager in school sports her music went on hiatus for a short time. Her talent in sports mirrored her music talent and she thrived as a Lady Bobcat basketball player. Graduation from high school was coming nigh and Breann had some decisions to make. As if fate had stepped in, she was offered a choir scholarship to Panola College to be part of the exclusive choral group, the Panola Pipers. 

Being part of the Pipers was exciting because it broadened her experiences in music with stage presence, harmony singing and learning choreography. The silver lining of college also had a tarnishing effect on Breann. Her private singing instructor discouraged her from being a part of the weekend Country Music Hayride group and wanted her to focus on a more traditional approach to her voice lessons. Breann struggled with what was expected of her at college and what she knew she wanted to do in her heart. 

By this time Breann had written many songs and poems and had kept them safe in a shoebox in her room. One night as she was going through her shoebox treasures, her mother came in her room to talk. Knowing her daughter well, she knew something was bothering Breann. The truth, along with a few tears, spilled from the lips and eyes of her daughter, and the joint decision was made that Breann would not be going back to college in the fall.

Fate stepped in again and brought Linda Davis back to Carthage where she had dinner with Breann and her mother at everyone’s favorite Daddy Sam’s Barbeque restaurant. Table talk led to a more serious discussion about Breann and her recent experiences. Breann had always admired Davis since she first heard her, so there was no question that she would appreciate any future changing advice.  It was in the Daddy Sam’s parking lot that Breann shared a very personal song she had written with Linda called “Maw’s Song”. The song was penned with love about Breann’s grandmother, Janey Young, who struggled with Alzheimer’s disease, and the hope that her grandmother’s dreams knew her and held her close. The song not only touched Linda’s heart, but she boldly told Breann’s mother, “Let her go.”

That short statement in 2009 sent Breann into a whirlwind of adventures. She took the $500 Maw had given her earlier and bought a guitar. This challenged Breann to learn to play the guitar, which only took two months because of her determination and steadfastness to her dream.  Now the songs she had penned came to life through chords she strummed with her own hands.

In May 2010, Breann moved to Nashville. The escapade was fun for the whole Young family; aunts, uncles, and cousins, because everyone chipped in to help her move, but soon the family was gone and Breann was left alone--excited, but still alone. She was by herself, but thankfully Linda Davis lived in Nashville and was there to support her.  Breann was able to find a fulltime job at a daycare center so she could perform at local establishments in the evening.

At first, Breann took almost anything available to perform, only once a week at first. During this time she was not satisfied with some of the songs she wrote. She knew that she could do better and understood this was a learning curve and she needed some serious inspiration.  As fate would have it, Breann met a kindred spirit, Cheryl White, while mingling at one of Linda Davis’ house parties. White is a member of the long established Bluegrass White family. White invited her to come back to the Opry and introduced Breann to other famous singers such as Loretta Lynn, Charlie Pride and Pam Tillis. Cheryl also introduced her to Jan Howard who was a singer songwriter and Grand Ole Opry legendary artist.

Cheryl White told Breann to read the book about Jan Howard’s life. Breann, who was never an avid reader, became intrigued with Howard after she read the book. When she finally met the legend, Breann realized that Jan Howard had the same spirit that she had known in her grandmother. They were both kind and both genuinely interested in Breann’s success.

Other doors opened for Breann, she was able to participate in a benefit concert featuring country music artists Lorrie Morgan, TG Sheppard and Kelly Lang. Through this opportunity, Breann was able to coordinate with Lorrie Morgan’s assistant, Jacy Dawn, and was able to perform in her Christmas show at the Opry Hotel. Breann was also able to co-write the song “Sober” with Kelly Lang that TG Sheppard has recently recorded as a duet with Leslie Mather.

Currently, Breann is still working 40 hours per week at the day care, performing a minimum of three times per week in Nashville’s hottest venues, continues to write her songs that she is proud of, and is co-writing with Big Tent Publishing on Music Row in Nashville. Never in her wildest dreams did Breann ever imagine she would be living in Nashville, meeting the people she most admired, and singing to audiences the songs she has written.

When asked what her life would look like in ten years, she responded, “It’s not about the fame. I want to write songs that people will remember in twenty years. I hope to support myself through my music. If I can perform to big crowds, that’s great. If I’m getting mailbox money, that’s fine, too.” She concluded by saying, “I think Patsy Cline said it best, “I don’t want to get rich, I just want to live good.”

You can follow Breann Young or Breann Young and the Restless on Facebook and Instagram

Photo credit: Terra Turner with Heart of Mine Design