Brittany Opperman, 23, talks about the songwriting process and how some of her life experiences have influenced her music.
Brittany Opperman, 23, talks about the songwriting process and how some of her life experiences have influenced her music. (THE EVENING SUN CLARE BECKER)

Country singer Brittany Opperman spent three hours signing autographs after she opened for Casey James at the York Fair in 2012.

The faces of the teenagers and young girls blurred together in her memory. Still, Opperman said she will always remember the man who approached her and asked how it felt to be “almost famous.”

Opperman replied that she didn't know. She had to waitress the next day at The Pike Restaurant in Gettysburg.

“My life is a cliche,” said the 23-year-old, adding that she still serves at the restaurant when she isn't on stage or recording music.

Born and raised in Gettysburg, Opperman has been making a name for herself in the local country music world since she released a self-titled EP in the spring of 2012. She has opened for singers like Bucky Covington and John Michael Montgomery. Opperman also performed for thousands alongside Montgomery Gentry on July 13 at the 150th Gettysburg Country Music Tribute “Thunder in the Sky.”

Despite her success with country music, the genre was a hard sell for her. She remembered hating it when she was younger.

That was until she heard Martina McBride's song “This One's for the Girls.”

Whether it was the touching lyrics or the gentle harmonies that hooked her, she couldn't remember. After a few weeks of playing the song on repeat, Opperman's mother bought her headphones.

Gettysburg native Brittany Opperman, 23, sings at Racetrack Studios in Gettysburg. Opperman said she hated country music when she was younger.
Gettysburg native Brittany Opperman, 23, sings at Racetrack Studios in Gettysburg. Opperman said she hated country music when she was younger. (THE EVENING SUN CLARE BECKER)

After she found herself questioning her music production major at Malone University in Ohio, Opperman toyed with the idea of singing professionally.

Her father decided to take her on a trip to Nashville, hoping the experience would give her some guidance.

“A few days later, I told my dad that I didn't want to go back to school,” Opperman said. “I wasn't an engineer and I knew that music production wasn't what I wanted to do.”

Her mother Renee Dean was supportive of the decision.

“She's young, not tied down, doesn't have family obligations,” Dean said. “She wasn't a bad student, it just wasn't what she wanted to do.”

Still, distractions deterred her career efforts at first. Opperman's relationship with her longtime high school sweetheart was on the rocks.

“I got caught up in wanting to get married,” Opperman said. “I lost a little bit of confidence and drive to do what I wanted to do.”

After Opperman and her boyfriend parted ways, she wouldn't allow any music to be played in the house for weeks.

“It was like a void in the house,” Dean said, laughing.

But the breakup lent inspiration to Opperman's songwriting process. She listened to her father's advice to write from the heart and go back later to improve with her head. And it worked.

“A girl came up to me after a coffee shop performance and asked who sang the slow song because she couldn't find it on iTunes,” Opperman said. “So I told her that actually that song was mine.”

 

She hopes to bring her career to Nashville in the future, but for now, fans can find Opperman at The Pike Restaurant or at one of her local shows. She hopes one day she'll fulfill her dream of being on the radio. After all, she said she doesn't want to be a waitress forever.

lreed@eveningsun.com; 717-637-3736, ext. 163; Twitter: @lillianereed

If you go

What: Brittany Opperman performance

Where: A Taste of Apple Country's First Wine and Music Fest at 3074 Table Rock Road in Biglerville, Pa.

When: Sunday, July 21 at 2 p.m.

From 2012, Meet the artist: Brittany Opperman