An Interview with BRANDYN BURNETTE About His Debut EP, “Made of Dreams”, His Biggest Inspirations and More!
Posted On 08 Feb 2016
Tag: All Access, All Access Music Group, Artist Interview, Banks, Brandyn Burnette, CAPITOL Records, Chris Martin, ColdPlay, Disney, Don't Say Goodnight, Down, Florida, Fox, Hot Chelle Rae, I Wanna Be Free, Jake Miller, John Mayer, Jon Bellion, Jordan Fisher, Know My Name, Local Natives, Lucky Man, Made of Dreams, Memories, MKTO, Molly Moore, Nevelle Viracocha, Nothing at All, NYU, O'Bryan, Radiohead, Ric Aliberte, Sam Cooke, Shadow of the Sun, St. Louis, Thanks for Nothing, The Gigolo, Warner Bros. Records
At the age when most are trying to figure out what to be when they grow up, Brandyn Burnette is quickly becoming a musical force to be reckoned with. The young singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist has already put a formidable stamp on the industry with his uniquely infectious blend of pop and soul.
Burnette has officially released his much-anticipated debut EP, Made of Dreams, which features the buzz singles “Nothing at All,” “Down” and “I Wanna Be Free.” “I Wanna Be Free” is highlighted by an electrifying collaboration with rising rap star Nevelle Viracocha.
Born in Boca Raton, Florida, Brandyn Burnette is a third generation wordsmith who has music in his DNA. His father is Capitol Records R&B artist, O’Bryan, who appeared on the Billboard charts in the 1980s with hits like “The Gigolo.” Enthralled by his father’s music and influences, Burnette learned to play the piano at age 7, and began writing songs that bridged soul and pop at just 13. By the time he arrived in New York City to attend NYU on a full musical scholarship, Burnette had already penned a catalog of some 80 original tunes.
While in New York, Burnette began playing gigs wherever he could, garnering both attention and acclaim for his sharp songwriting and memorable vocals. With the help of an audio engineering student, Burnette recorded a demo in his dorm room, which found its way to veteran manager, Ric Aliberte. In 2011, Burnette signed a recording contract with Warner Bros. Records and eventually released the hit single, “Thanks for Nothing.” Additionally, Burnette co-wrote “Don’t Say Goodnight” by Nashville trio Hot Chelle Rae, and collaborated with MKTO on their debut album. Most recently, he has co-written the last two hits for Warner Bros. artist, Jake Miller, as well as “Lucky Man,” the debut single for Disney sensation, Jordan Fisher.
“My whole life has been adapting to new situations,” shares Burnette. “Each chapter has helped me reach the next level of my emotional and artistic development. I would take the qualities and experiences I loved about a certain place or time with me, leave others behind that didn’t fit, and start over as a newer, better version of myself, finding my own lane among those influences.”
Learn more about Brandyn in the following All Access interview:
It’s been really exciting so far. One of my song’s aired on national TV which was pretty cool, I did an interview for Fox in St. Louis (where I’m from) & I’ve started getting ready for my first tour.
Growing up, did you always want to be a musician? Was there ever a time when you thought about doing something else?
Growing up, my first choice was not music. I actually read something I wrote when I was about 10 that said I wanted to be a famous basketball or football player. I laugh out loud at the because I could not have ended up the complete opposite of that. Although I do love to play ball, I am definitely no Michael Jordan haha. I also got really into Soccer around my later teens. Eventually music, the arts & performing swooped in changing everything.
You started writing songs at a very early age. What exactly were those early songs about? Have you worked on any of them since you wrote them?
My early songs were written as forms of coping mechanisms. My first song, entitled “Memories” was about my sister going to college. Everybody got her a going away gift & I couldn’t think of what to get her so I wrote her a song. She was my best friend as a child I was 13 & thought was being taken from me, so I did the only thing I thought I could do which was write about it. I also recently found a lyric that I started when I was 16 that has the same title of a song I started recently. So I put this old verse & chorus to these new lyrics & melodies I had & they fit so perfectly. So technically I collaborated with my younger self.
When it comes to the writing process, how do you work?
My process varies. Usually, I start out with an instrument. Either piano or guitar. Mostly guitar these days because its more portable, but at my home studio I start my ideas on a keyboard. I love to play actually chords & sing. So many times, the first instinct when you hear a piece of music is special. It may need some refining. But it’s usually very special. So I like to follow that internal compass & mess around with subconscious thoughts until a word or phrase or line pops out to me. I don’t always do it that way. Sometimes I have a stanza I wrote or some thoughts in my head. Some times it could take weeks or months to get a song right. That’s the case that happened with the song I mentioned to you earlier. I’m 25 & I started a song & struggled to finish it until stumbling upon a lyric of the same title that I wrote when I was 16. My girlfriend Molly Moore, who is also a songwriter, helped me refine the chorus from 16 to make it apply to my life now. Sometimes songs can take generations to find the right vessel to come out. That’s the crazy, cosmic & almost magical healing power of music.
What’s been a favorite songwriting project that you’ve worked on so far?
Probably Molly Moore’s project. I get to work as a producer & a creative partner. We’re also living together & in a relationship so it’s pretty intense to be so close to her artistry. It’s not always pretty & I have to face some things as an artist myself. But that’s what’s cool about being close to someone, we’re honest. And I think the world is getting that honesty through the music. Especially through hers. Shadow of the Sun, which is her EP title, was about her attempt stepping out from the darkness into the light & coming to terms with her issues, my issues, our issues on a musical canvas that I had the honor of creating. It change your perspective as a writer. It’s more of a co pilot if anything.
Who would you love to work with in the future?
I’d love to work with more talented producer/writer/artists. I’m also really hoping to work with Banks one day, as well as Chris Martin from Coldplay, John Mayer, Jon Bellion again & whoever I don’t know about that’s doing great things with their art for the world!
Who are some of your all-time favorite musicians?
I think I answered that above. Coldplay, John Mayer, Jon Bellion, Local Natives, Sam Cooke, Radiohead to name just a few…
How has having a father so noted in the music industry influenced you as an artist? Has he shared plenty of wisdom with you about it all?
My father has been so informative about the inside of the music industry. I’ve learned a lot through his stories. Mainly how to watch out for my business & actually grow it. He’s also always given me one note- keep writing songs. Changed my life.
What can you tell us about the inspiration behind your debut EP, “Made Of Deams”? Where did the inspiration for it come from?
Made of Dreams was a combination of highs & lows I experienced form the end of 2014 to the end of 2015. I wrote it about the self exploration I went through once deciding to go independent & release music for the first time, finally free of any opinion. I wrote it about a collection of conversations with self, others, dreams, thoughts, nightmares & daily hymns to remind me of where I was when I made it. I also wrote the record in hopes to connect with people who have had a similar up & down journey in the pursuit of happiness & their dreams.
At the end of the day, what do you hope is the message of your music? What do you hope listeners take away from your songs?
I hope my music heals people just as it’s healed me. I hope listeners walk away feeling empowered & understood. I hope they feel like they aren’t alone. Even if there’s crazy things going on their life, somebody else is there going through it with them. I think it’s an important mission as an artist to have a message you truly believe & stand for. Mine is that music has the power to create a ripple effect & save lives. I want my brand of progressive soul to strike a chord in each person to embrace their issues & move past the fear into positivity.