Artist name: Brandon From Addison
Based in: Michigan
Genre: Alternative Hip Hop, R&B, soul
Influences: Maroon 5, Kanye West, Vincent van Gogh, Quentin Tarantino, Warren Buffet
Must-hear songs: Paranoia (prod. Wonder)
Brandon from Addison & Fairfax road. How did growing up there shape you as a person?
Addison means so much to me, to even put it into words is difficult. I grew up there, in a little city called Southfield just outside of Detroit. The most important thing I learned from my neighborhood was that it is ok to be yourself. You’re in a weird spot because you have the luxuries of a suburban upbringing with you but also have access to a lot of the things that go on in the inner city. I chose to embrace the fact that my upbringing wasn’t very violent or ridden with uncertainty. I was lucky enough not to have to put my life and freedom at risk to make money and survive. I was given a solid foundation based on love and hard work and always told I could be what I wanted by my family and the people around me. I love where I come from and I carry that with me every day.
You told me that you’ve been working for a decade to get your sound where you want it to be. How did your music evolve over the years?
I’d been told by my father since I started back in 09′ that I had something special but it wasn’t until recently that I became comfortable with that. I just wanted to give the best version of myself to my listeners and nothing short of that. It took almost a decade to get it right but now the work is paying off thankfully. I started out mainly focusing on singing and creating melodies but drifted into more traditional rapping for a long period of time. But I never really wanted to be a rapper or classified as a singer, so nowadays I found a way to incorporate both. I wanted to be a mix of Adam Levine & Nas all at once. I don’t see myself as either just an artist simply. I make what I think sounds good to me, music I can be happy with first.
What was the moment you realized; “Yes, I’m happy with the outcome”. What would it take for you to be satisfied music-wise?
Yea the people that know me never fail to let me know that I’m way too self-critical lol. Around spring last year though I witnessed myself stretch and really cross over into new territory artistically. I was able to pull off the things I thought in my head and then articulate them vocally in the exact way I imagined them. I wrote “Pink Starburst” from my debut EP “Crude Nervana” around December and the response from people in my circle and even their friends was overwhelming. They loved it and really let me know I was ready so I shaped the rest of my project and got rolling in March.
You have a beautiful five-year-old girl. What do you enjoy most about being a dad? Is she musical?
I joined the Air Force back in 2012, it was never something I wanted or planned to do but I knew it would ensure my daughter was always taken care of and that was enough to get me to enlist. Speaking honestly my experience hasn’t been the most positive but I’ve met a lot of good friends here that I’ll have relationships with for the rest of my life and I’m blessed to have that. I’m just really free spirited and I was always taught that I controlled my own destiny. So to be limited and controlled gets tough at times, but I believe God put me in this situation for a reason. That reason was to provide stability for myself and my daughter while I worked on my craft until it could begin producing an income. I’m grateful for the experience and even if I could go back and rewrite my story I wouldn’t change this piece, I’ve grown so much during my time served.
Thank you for that, it’s funny I think about my childhood and some of the decisions my parents made to benefit me and it blows me away now. I’m just grateful, you can never really prepare for parenthood no matter how many books you read or advice you attempt to put into play. So I silently thank my folks every day because parenthood is definitely tricky I’m learning lol. What I enjoy most about being a dad is being able to grow with my daughter and constantly improve myself to be better for her. She pushes me to want to be the best version I can be, she saved my life. She enjoys music, she likes to sit me down and watch her sing and play her guitar or her piano. My parents supported whatever I wanted to do as long as it was positive and I’m going to do the same with her. I had the confidence to pursue my dream because from the jump my parents told me I could be anything in this world. It’s important to pass that down to our young ones.
You often tag 6LACK, Drake, Frank Ocean and Khalid on your Instagram. How do these artists inspire you?
I think talent is one thing, a very good thing. But implementation and garnering a following is necessary to express yourself and use that talent. Those guys are just a few examples of people I believe do those things very well and I respect them for it. I believe my sound fits within that group of guys and I just want to put my music in places where people are who may enjoy my work too. Steel sharpens steel so I do a lot of observation and try to find methods I can pull that’ll help me out in the long run. If you want to reach a certain destination just follow those who have done it before you.
I love the visuals and effects for both Pink Starburst and Still Up. How did you come up with the creative concept for the videos? Who shoots them?
I’m really glad you enjoyed them! Visually when I look for inspiration I always look to some of my favorite filmmakers like Tarantino for example. When you see one of his pictures without even being told, you know created it and that’s what I want as well. Establishing a very distinct visual language is important to me, pushing the envelope and trying things whether they work or not. The key is to always seek to push the genre forward and hopefully inspire others. My setup for filming is quite simple actually and done 100% on iPhone. I’ve got access to all kinds of filming equipment but my father introduced the idea of filming on iPhone a few years back so I made it a project to learn it and do it well. It was a challenge and there were some kinks to work out but nowadays it’s the only way I shoot.
If you could pick any stage to perform on, which one would it be and what would that performance feel like?
That’s an easy one lol, the Royal Oak Music Theater in Michigan for sure. I went to see Royce da 5’9 and Slaughterhouse there back in 2011 and the energy in that place was crazy. I call the Metro Detroit area home so to perform in the place that made me, for the people that helped shape me would be incredible.
Summer ’17 is going to be very exciting with new music releases every month! What accomplishments do you hope to look back on at the end of this year?
The benefit of working for so long is having so much material to share with the world when it’s time. So yes every month during the summer and perhaps well into the fall I will be releasing new audio/visuals. People have really been taking to it and enjoying what I do, it’s humbling because I remember days creating music that I loved but had no one to share it with. I still have a long way to go but I’m proud to say that I do have a very loyal core group of people who are really excited about what I’m doing. At the end of the year I’m just hoping to have expanded the amount of people I’m able to touch and add to my family of listeners, they are the building blocks. At the end of the day the biggest reward I receive from all of this is making people happy and creating the sounds that they enjoy.