Bryan Bielanski is a rare case: Not only do his songs feature unconventional lyrics and subject matters; he is extremely dedicated to touring, playing a show a day—sometimes two—all over the world, nonstop.
Bielanski’s solo albums are three parts in a series named Bryan’s Super Happy Fun Time! The songs feature catchy choruses talking about an “Elf Girlfriend,” and video game references galore on “I’m Your Super Mario”; there’s also a song dedicated to the place where Bielanski uses the internet when he’s touring: “Rock the Library USA.”
He’s heading to the Pignic Pub and Patio in Reno on Thursday, May 4.
During a recent phone interview with Bielanski, he explained how music captivated him.
“I grew up in a family where music was very important,” Bielanski said. “Some of my earliest memories in life are my parents listening to their rock records. I grew up with rock ’n’ roll around me all the time, and then when I was a teenager, I discovered alternative rock, and between the influence of my parents’ music and alternative rock, I decided that’s what I wanted to do in my life.”
Thankfully, Bielanski had the extroverted traits needed to start a music career.
“I’ve always been kind of an outgoing person, but before I decided I wanted to be a musician, I was wanting to be a standup comedian,” Bielanski said. “I knew I wanted to be onstage in front of people in one way or the other. When the music bug bit me, I just decided that’s what I wanted to do in my life. Luckily, I never had any real issues with stage fright or anything, so it was definitely something that came naturally to me.”
You’d have to go pretty far to hear another singer/songwriter write songs like Bielanski, as many of his pop-culture references stray far from what you’d hear on the Top 40.
“(The music) kind of stemmed from the fact that now that I’m a traveling musician; it pretty much encompasses my life,” said Bielanski. “I tend to write about my prior hobbies that I don’t really have time to do anymore. Instead of watching movies and playing video games, I’m writing songs about them to kind of quench that need for that stuff. I write a lot of songs about traveling, because, since it’s what I’m always doing, it’s kind of natural to write songs about that stuff.”
I asked how Bielanski wound up with his intense touring schedule.
“At first, I was just playing around Charlotte, N.C., and then branched out and started doing regional stuff in Virginia, Tennessee, South Carolina and Georgia,” Bielanski said. “Before you know it, I was going up and down the East Coast, and then going coast to coast and into other countries. It’s a lot of hard work, putting in 100% and always trying to give it your all. I try to reach out to as many media outlets as I can to promote every show and just try to make every single show a success.”
Being a touring musician is a tough lifestyle choice, but Bielanski said that despite some rough parts, he loves what he’s doing.
“I do sleep in my vehicle most of the time,” Bielanski said. “My day consists of rest areas. I’ve got my Planet Fitness membership, so I like to go and get some exercise to keep my brain sharp, and then I usually hit the library and send my emails, and then I go to my show and perform. There are a lot of logistics that have to be worked out and everything, but I love it. This kind of lifestyle isn’t for everybody, but luckily for me, it’s something that I can handle, and I just love doing it. I think I’m going to continue to do it until I’m no longer physically able to.”
Bielanski said he absolutely adores being able to see the world.
“I just like to travel and play music, and the feeling of meeting people in different cities and seeing the same people over and over and the cities that I return to, that’s, in and of itself, to me, the goal,” said Bielanski. “I might like to have a little bit bigger audiences and things like that, and maybe hire a few more people to handle some of the business side of things. … I want to keep continuing to travel and tour, play the same cities and play new cities, and keep reaching new people with Brian’s Super Happy Fun Time message—trying to remember that life is a good thing, and music brings people together. I’m just really, really happy to be doing what I’m doing.”
While Bielanski remarked that “every single show is good in its own way,” he did share one big highlight.
“Getting to do the Thanksgiving Day parade in Charlotte a couple years ago was pretty neat, because there were 125,000 people in attendance that day, so that was pretty cool to be able to perform for that many people,” he said. “As long as I reach anyone at any show with my music, and they’re touched by the music, to me, it makes all the hard work that goes into it totally worth it.”
To keep things interesting, Bielanski likes to switch things up and throw some improvisation into his music. So even if you’ve seen the musical-traveler before, you may be in for some different renditions.
“The music definitely is different live, because on the albums, I’m playing all the instruments,” Bielanski said. “It sounds like a full band when it’s actually me layering on all the tracks. When I perform live, I just play acoustic guitar and sing only, so (the songs) are definitely a little bit different or stripped down from what they sound like on the albums. From time to time, I do like to experiment with the songs live. There definitely is a little bit of improvisation, and I like to feed off the crowd and the energy of the crowd.”
Bryan Bielanski will perform at 8:30 p.m., Thursday, May 4, at Pignic Pub and Patio, 235 Flint St., in Reno. Admission is free. For more information, call 775-376-1948, or visit pignicpubandpatio.com