Artist Profile: Briston Maroney

Certain songs and artists can deliver a one-of-a-kind nostalgia that captivates the soul. Artist Briston Maroney delivers this encompassing feeling to his listeners time and time again. 

Briston Maroney’s Knoxville, Tennessee upbringing immediately exposed him to the incredible, yet intimidating, world of music. The young and determined fifteen-year-old Briston first made a name for himself auditioning for American Idol and advancing to be one of thirty semi-finalists. Merely two years later, his first EP, Reason to Shake, was independently released, followed by his second EP, Big Shot. Briston then joined Canvasback Music and Atlantic Records, where he released the EPs Carnival and Indiana in 2018 and 2019. These two EPs are composed of two of his most popular songs “Freakin’ Out on the Interstate” and “Caroline.” 

Incredibly raw and unfiltered, Briston shares on his Instagram that track “Freakin Out on the Interstate” is intended to be “a lifeline for anyone who fears they are alone.” The original release’s slow strums and upbeat licks produce a classic rock and roll vibe. His recently released live acoustic version, however, dramatically changes the tone of the song. Maroney draws listeners’ attention to his powerful lyrics through muted strumming alongside a moving cello performance, changing the vibe of the song from rock to folk. For Briston, who has cited inspiration from folk artists Bob Dylan and Neil Young, this new sound should not come as a shock. 

Briston plays the acoustic melodies of songs like “Caroline” and “Rose” on his Gibson guitar, which, beginning with his great-grandfather, has been handed down over generations. This familial connection gives his music a deeper personal influence and further intensifies his passion. Not only do his guitar skills and lyric-writing abilities contribute to his one-of-a-kind sound, but the vulnerability and emotion in Briston’s voice take his music to an entirely new level. To his audiences, Maroney emphasizes that his heart drives his dream of being a musician, and this is clear when listening to his songs. Full of liveliness and grit, “Caroline” provides listeners with the confidence and ambition to go after their dreams. Speaking to COS Magazine in 2019, Briston explained,”‘Caroline’ is my letter to the kid just like me who needs a little motivation to get through the day, coming from a pretty imperfect influence like myself.” 

Briston demonstrates his heart and purpose both in his writing and also in his fanbase and social platforms. At the young age of twenty-one, Briston Maroney understands and relates to his fans on a deeper level than the average musician. Briston recounts his experiences with love to emphasize its importance above other things in hopes that he can influence his fans to feel the same. His use of his platform in this way explains the love his fans feel for not only his music but also the person he is.

Beyond his musical ambition and sensitivity towards his audience, Briston Maroney’s raw talent is evident when listening to his songs. His music instills an inexplicable desire to follow unfulfilled dreams and trust the impulses of the heart. 

Written by: Clare Sanderson