Getting to know Brando: DA chats with one of music's most inimitable new vocalists [Q&A]
Since its release in 2017, Loud Luxury‘s “Body” has blared through countless speakers and become a fixture of an equally innumerable number of playlists. An evergreen pop-electronic anthem, “Body” rapidly circulated, and at the center of its broad commercial acclaim was a fledgling vocalist who looked on, watching the single that he voiced as it raced to the top of the charts and scored the 2019 Juno Award for Dance Recording of the Year: Brando.
“Body,” however, was just the beginning for the bright-eyed Brando, who articulates his artistic objective as the creation of “a new sound that bridges the gap between R&B, pop, and dance music.” This fluid amalgamation of stylistic interests keeps Brando from being put in a box as the singer-songwriter thinks outside of the box.
Brando can be expected to innovatively engage these genres in his solo releases to come, just as he’s done on the singles on which he’s been a vibrant force to date. A defining addition to Don Diablo‘s latest, “Congratulations,” Brando has also lent his recognizable vocal to CAZZETTE‘s “In Time,” and his own original production, 2019’s “Drop Top.”
A hungry vocalist in an industry rife with opportunity, Brando has already stocked his immediate pipeline with unreleased collaborations with fellow electronic entities, Matoma and BRKLYN, and he’s not slowing down anytime soon. Dancing Astronaut caught up with Brando to learn more about the uncompromising artist’s approach to music ahead of his “first solo electronic release” in January Armada Music.
Listeners will recognize your vocal from Loud Luxury’s “Body,” and now you find yourself on another electronic record, Don Diablo’s “Congratulations.” How did everything on the lyrical end come together on this cut?
I was actually invited out to Don Diablo’s writing camp a few months back and had session with Don and another writer, Michelle Buzz. Don really wanted to hone in on a somewhat uplifting message, so after a couple months of back and forth after that first initial session, we were able to craft the song in such a way that really fit with Don’s vision.
In your experience to date, have you find that working as a vocalist in the electronic genre differs from the way that it does for other genres, such as R&B, another style that you’ve worked within?
Yeah, I’d say it is quite different from working in R&B in a number of ways. I’d say the turn-around-time from when a song is made in the studio and when it’s released tends to be a lot quicker in electronic music, so I can get a lot more music out there in a shorter span of time features and my own releases.
The venues you play at as a electronic artist and vocalist are quite different from R&B as well, with most venues being clubs or dance festivals versus a theater. I think [this] brings an interesting dynamic to live performances.
Every singer-songwriter’s approach to songwriting differs. Where do you draw your inspiration from when you’re penning a song, and what do you specifically want your music to embody?
I’m a very melodically driven type of songwriter. I start almost every song I make by creating all of the top line melodies first, generally starting with the hook. Once that’s finished, I go back and write the lyrics to match the overall feeling of the song.
[My] inspiration for songs really comes from so many different things that it’s hard to pin down something specific, but usually I draw on my own past relationships and experiences to write. Personally, I want my music to convey a sense of realism and be relatable to my fans and casual listeners. I tend to write in a more tongue-in-cheek style naturally, so my songs usually have a relatable feeling to them inherently.
Has your approach to songwriting and/or your vision for the music that you’d like to create changed at all since you entered the industry and quickly gained prominence?
Yes, quite drastically I’d say. During high school and college I was in a R&B/pop band and was really committed to that kind of style of music and way of thinking. Then, one of the original songs I made in that band was turned into “Body” a few years back, so ever since then I have been entrenched in the electronic music scene and have loved every minute of it.
What is one of the goals that you want to realize, musically?
I would love to put out a few EPs [in 2020]. Putting out singles is really the bread and butter in the music business nowadays, but I’d love to put out a full body of work for my fans to really dig into as well.
What’s next for Brando?
I have my first solo electronic release coming out in January with Armada Music called “Look Into My Eyes.” I just got done shooting the music video for that and I’m really excited for [it to come out]. I also have a number of big features and collaborations already slated for release early next year, so I’m anticipating a very busy year.