By Ron Wynn
NASHVILLE, TN — Nashville vocalist Brauninger McDaniel’s distinctive mix of jazz, blues, and soul influences has already won her many fans throughout the Middle Tennessee area, but now she’s added a new title to her resume – award-winning vocalist. McDaniel recently won the International Singer-Songwriter Association’s (ISSA) 2020 Gold Female Vocalist of the Year award. This follows her triumph last year as their Female Songwriter of the Year.
“It’s quite an honor and very rewarding,” McDaniel told the Tribune. “It’s a realization that the hard work is playing off.” McDaniel’s vocal talents come quite naturally. Her uncle Erman is a famous fiddler in New Orleans. Her nephew Wes Morgan is a well known gospel vocalist, and her brother is also a talented performer, while her mother and father are also ardent music fans. But McDaniel, who learned to play instruments and also composes by ear, got her start in church, both singing and playing keyboards.
She spent her early career in Louisiana, but has been a Nashville resident for several years. McDaniel’s first marriage ended in 2011, but she met and married Tony McDaniel in 2012. Though not a professional musician (he’s manager of Washtopia in Hermitage) he’s been a passionate supporter and McDaniel credits him with helping her maneuver through Music City’s tricky creative landscape.
Her style and approach are varied and energetic, an intriguing mix of traditional and contemporary influences. She credits a wide array of artists as integral to her sound, notably Ella Fitzgerald, Etta James, Carole King, Lionel Richie and B.B. King. But being in Nashville has brought out a newly found love of country as well, and McDaniel cites Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton as central figures as well, along with Sheryl Crow and Bonnie Raitt.
Her cover of King’s early ‘70s classic “It’s Too Late” is her most recent single. She has also signed with the 50/50 Global Muzic label, in partnership with BMG Publishing and Sony Orchard Music. However the biggest news regarding the single was her collaboration with B. Taylor, a well-known and highly regarded artist, producer and songwriter who has worked with top acts in R&B and hip-hop. The results are a satisfying, well done update of a classic.
Still, like any mother (she has three grown children) McDaniel wants to make sure they get their plaudits along with her. “Did I tell you that one of my sons Christian Shoemaker plays guitar and plays sometimes with me,” McDaniel made sure to inform the Tribune. “Also my nephew Joey Morgan is on bass and Chris Schaffner plays saxophone.”
No matter how many awards Brauninger McDaniel wins, she wants to be sure her family is also recognized.