Welcome to The Drop, Refinery29's home for exclusive music video premieres. We want to shine the spotlight on women artists whose music inspires, excites, and (literally) moves us. This is where we'll champion their voices.
One of Danielle Bradbery's hallmarks, as a contestant on The Voice in 2013 and as an emerging country star, is her unshakeable tenor. Bradbery, 22, has a remarkably steady hand. Her voice slices through arrangements like a knife through a ripe avocado, and she is perfectly, enviably composed. She's releasing some of that composure, though, especially as she rounds the corner into her twenties.
It's fitting, then, that she shifted her song "Hello Summer," — a track on her 2017 sophomore album I Don't Believe We've Met — from a celebration of summer love to a doleful duet featuring country star Thomas Rhett. "Hello Summer," which Rhett wrote, rings of composed Bradbery: It's as if Bradbery sat down and gave a quick recount of her last summer fling. "Goodbye Summer" is a bit more plaintive. The opening notes feature a twangy guitar that slides from note to note, lingering on the chord before it. Plus, Rhett's on the song, playing the other half of Bradbery's story.
"It oddly made more sense," Bradbery tells Refinery29 over the phone of the decision to change the song. "Just the storyline."
The new version focused on the "goodbye" part of the song, adding an emphasis on the lyric "hello to my broken heart." By the end of the track, Bradbery and Rhett are both wailing "hello" to their respective broken hearts.
Bradbery also chose to release the single in September, just as summer actually was receding. She's releasing the video today — exclusively with Refinery29 — just as winter steadies its grasp, which, oddly enough, still makes sense in terms of timing. Winter is here; the broken heart can officially make itself at home. (Maybe it can heal in January?) For the video, Rhett and Bradbery narrate a Sparksian tale: Boy meets girl, who is working at a local beach bed and breakfast. Boy and girl grab drinks and swiftly fall in summer-ish love. Then, boy has to leave, giving girl the old heave-ho. The music video has a small twist that shouldn't be spoiled — just know that Nicholas Sparks would be jealous.
This is all part of a larger shift for Bradbery, who is still emerging from post-Voice fame. The youngest contestant to win The Voice in the U.S. before last season's winner Brynn Cartelli, Bradbery is still very much in the beginning stages of her career. In fact, that's why she decided to reintroduce herself to her fans all over again in I Don't Believe We've Met. (Her first album was titled Danielle Bradbery.)
"My second album, I had a bit of a time off where I wasn't releasing anything but in that time I was songwriting a lot," Bradbery explains, adding, "I jumped into songwriting pretty heavily."
The songs on it are more confessional, from the self-explanatory "Red Wine + White Couch" to the breakup anthem "Messy."
"I got to figure out who I was as an artist and as a songwriter," Bradbery says. "That kind of helped me open up a little more and find a more honest route. The difference — it was definitely more mature. I grew up a little bit."
The difference is speaking to her fans, who are enamored in particular with her single "Worth It." The song is an Aguilera-style anthem about knowing one's worth; Bradbery's fans have arrived in droves to thank Bradbery for it. ("This song made me leave. Thank you Danielle," one YouTube commenter writes.)
"I did get a lot of feedback from girls and my fans that I would meet at these shows," Bradbery recalls. "They were almost in tears on they how actually found the courage to break up with this person because they were scared to."
After thinking for a minute, Bradbery adds, "Getting a number one is a goal of all of us artists, and it's definitely a goal of mine. But another goal is to really leave an impact like that. Hearing that is a reward itself for me. Knowing that I have made somebody even a little bit stronger."
Which, by the way, is something Bradbery herself needs. She's only 22, and this business is still brand-new for her. In a lot of ways, the brute competition is still abrasive. "There [are] times where you're like, Oh my god, am I enough? Or am I ever gonna have a number one? There are so many things you question," she says. "It was like, oh, you have to fight. And you have to really stick being yourself and don't let people walk all over you."
In other words, she could take a cue from her own music — know your worth, and know when summer's coming to a close. Career-wise, maybe, Bradbery is saying goodbye to summer and hello to more of the so-called broken things: stained couches, messy relationships, and a bit less control.
Watch the video for "Goodbye Summer," below.