Mary Bragg Explains Why You Don't Need to Be 'Fixed': Premiere

Laura E. Partain
Mary Bragg

Over the course of her first four albums, Mary Bragg has been comfortable as a performing songwriter and working with "some incredible producers." But on her upcoming Violets As Camouflage -- whose track "Fixed" is premiering exclusively below -- Bragg takes the reins herself

"I felt like producing it and engineering it myself was sort of this creative calling that I needed to answer," Bragg tells Billboard about Violets, which comes out March 1. "I see myself as a singer and songwriter first, and the making of albums is an extension of that. It's kind of fun to make your own decisions sometimes and work together with your players. I do like working with other people and will continue to do that down the line, but this was just a special opportunity to do that right here at home," primarily in her own Print Shop Baby Studios in Nashville.

To make Violets, Bragg recruited "players who I've trusted for a long time and are such expert players." It also made a positive difference to be recording in everybody's home base rather than in another city. "If we got a couple of incredible takes and I felt like maybe there was one more, or two more, we could do that because we had the luxury of time on our side," Bragg explains. "It's nice to not be under the constraints of a studio schedule or producer's or engineer's schedule. I love working in the studio, but this was pretty special to be a little more relaxed." Bragg adds that was particularly true when it came to recording her vocals.

"I got to sing alone, with no one watching me or listening," she says. "I love performing, but when I'm recording there's so much going on in the moment in my head, so it was really special to be able to stand right there in the room, all by myself, and just sing my heart out without any kind of external reluctance or editing, without anyone telling you they think you've got it but knowing intrinsically when you have it, yourself."

Violets' 14 tracks are among the most intensely personal Bragg has ever written, something she says she's become "more comfortable" with over time. "Fixed," however, is a more external song, co-written with Ali Sperry, though it certainly resonates with Bragg as well.

"It started as a message of, 'There's nothing wrong with you. You don't need to be fixed. You're so perfect; Please can't you see that?' kind of thing," she explains. "It's certainly how I grew up feeling. It's a message that I hope lots of young girls, and boys, will hear and actually consider as a possibility that, 'Oh, I don't have to be like what I'm seeing on my phone or on TV. I'm alright just the way I am.'"

Bragg will preview some of Violets' songs on Dec. 5 at the Bluebird Cafe in Nashville, while a full-scale touring begins during February, with dates booked into the summer. That means she has to cool her heels a bit as she waits for the album to come out -- but she says "that's fine. I've ridden the release wave before, so I'm fine to wait it out."

Violets As Camouflage Track List

1.    I Thought You Were Somebody Else

2.    A Little Less

3.    Faint of Heart

4.    Fixed

5.    Fight

6.    Fool

7.    Trouble Me Anytime

8.    You Rescue Me

9.    The Right Track

10.   This Feeling

11.   Runaway Town

12.   Sad Stories

13.   The Highest Tower

14.   More Than You Do