Brianna Lea Pruett, born on January 18, 1983 and died September 2, 2015, she was an American singer, songwriter, musician, painter, poet, and filmmaker.
Brianna Lea Pruett was born in Sacramento, California. Her family lived at a Northern California Shingle Springs ranch they had built with extended family members in the 1970s.
She attended public schools in Sacramento after the family moved to the city in 1989, and through many moves following her parents’ divorce and remarriages.
Pruett’s official ancestry is Native American and she is a second generation Californian.
Both maternal grandparents descended from European Mormon settlers and both sides of her father’s family include Cherokee, Choctaw, and Chickasaw relatives, as well as European immigrants.
Pruett’s interest in her family lineage is well documented through her creative output and helped connect her with the Native American record label Canyon Records.
Exposed to music, art, and film of all genres from a young age, Pruett was encouraged in artistic endeavors.
Her parents’ vinyl collection – encompassing everything from classical and choir music to folk and rock legends like Leonard Cohen, Janis Joplin, and Jimi Hendrix-served as Pruett’s first music history education.
Other noted influences included Tom Waits, Roberta Flack, and Doc Watson. When she was a teenager, she often sang in clubs, cafes, on street corners, and art galleries in Northern California, performing a cappella, with acoustic guitar, and occasionally with a band.
Pruett has self-released two albums, 2003’s Natural Fact and 2004’s Winter Apple, both of which were recorded in Portland, Oregon.
She later re-released them through Tiger Friends Collective, the same company that released 2011’s The Stars, The Moon, The Owl, The Cougar, and You and 2012’s Keeping You In Mind.
Pruett’s 2013 debut on Canyon Records, Gypsy Bells, gained generally favorable reviews and media attention.
Her style is often associated with folk music falling in a singer-songwriter category.
However, Pruett lists diverse musical influences like Emmylou Harris, Carole King, Iron & Wine, Pavement, Woody Guthrie, and Charles Mingus and has been compared to a mix of “Angel Olson + Damien Jurado” and Cat Power.
Pruett began painting as a career at age 16 while living with a professional artist.
Currently, she works primarily in oil painting. Her work has been exhibited in galleries throughout New York and California and can be viewed on her website.
She is a member of the California Art Club.
Pruett’s poetry has appeared in publications including Rabbit and Rose and Turtle Island To Abya Yala: A Love Anthology of Art and Poetry by Native American and Latina Women.
Selections can also be read in the upcoming edition of Blue Moon Literary & Art Review.