Brandon W. Manter picked up a guitar to learn how to play when he was just 10 years old.
Nine years later, after developing his talent by playing gigs around the Cape and southeastern Massachusetts, the 19-year-old is headed to Nashville, where he hopes to kick his professional music career into high gear.
Mr. Manter will be going to the Volunteer State and Music City next month to record some of his music with Dean Miller Entertainment. Dean Miller is the son of country-pop music icon Roger Miller, of “King of the Road” fame.
“Dean had just messaged me on Instagram one day, out of nowhere,” Mr. Manter said. “I didn’t think it was real at first.”
Sure enough, though, it turned out to be Mr. Miller. Apparently, the music producer had seen Mr. Manter’s Instagram page and listened to some of his songs. The two started exchanging emails, and Mr. Miller said he was looking to work with new talents who are getting started in their music careers, Mr. Manter said.
“He was interested in recording some songs,” Mr. Manter said. “I sent him a couple of demos, he said he liked the songs and he wanted to talk to me more, see what direction they would go in.”
Among the country music stars that Mr. Miller has worked with are Dolly Parton, Willie Nelson, Trace Adkins, Trisha Yearwood and George Jones.
Mr. Manter said that he has not settled on an exact date yet when he plans to make the move to Nashville. He and Mr. Miller will likely be deciding on that during a Skype session this week, he said.
“We’re going to talk about the songs,” he said, “and after we figure out what they want to sound like, and what people he has to hire to make that happen, we’re going to go down there and book some time.”
Turns out that Dean Miller's reaching out happened at a serendipitous time. Mr. Manter said that he and his mother, Lydia J. Manter, were planning on moving to Nashville in the near future anyway.
“Our goal was to go to Nashville and try to make this exact thing that’s happened, happen,” he said. “Nashville kind of found me first.”
A lifelong resident of Bourne, Mr. Manter graduated from Bourne High School in 2018 and immediately embarked on his music career, playing anywhere and everywhere he could find.
One of the first places he played in was the Buzzards Bay Tavern, and one of his favorite venues is Stomping Grounds. He has been a staple of the annual Homeless for the Holidays musical offerings, and performed at the Sagamore Inn.
He has also played at a couple of dozen places in Plymouth, he said. While he has a lot of performance experience to his credit, he admitted that he is still trying to find his "sound.”
“The direction I’m going in with at least the next couple of songs is kind of a pop-country type sound,” he said, “kind of like a crossover sort of thing, like Dani Shay and Justin Bieber kind of sounds, a 10,000 Hours song.”
When he began playing guitar, he said, his early influence was classic rock & roll, and guitar gods like Jimi Hendrix and Eric Clapton. Eventually, he moved into acoustic guitar and his influences shifted to newer pop artists, such as Ed Sheeran, Maroon 5 and Hunter Hayes.
“I could name a million,” he said. “It’s a little bit of everything. I’ve taken bits of pieces from each one.”
Mr. Manter said that he can play pretty much anything with strings, and that includes bass guitar and the ukulele. He has also played trumpet in a funk band, and guitar for a rockabilly band. He auditioned once for “American Idol” when the show had tryouts in Boston, but was not accepted, he said.
As for how he would define success for himself, Mr. Manter was very pragmatic in his approach. Being famous, he said, is not the ultimate measure.
“Being able to make a living doing what I want to do,” he said. “You can be successful without being famous.”