I am thrilled to bring you an interview I conducted with Brandon
Evans. And I have to start things off by telling you how nice
and refreshing it was to spend some time with this terrific, talented,
was soft-spoken, thoughtful, and incredibly gracious with his
time and attention as we spoke. There is no sign of insincerity
from himÖ as he would listen to my questions, pause in consideration,
and often cover a tremendous amount of ground with his replies.
And for those that know himÖ those that follow and interact with
himÖ and, in my case, for those that know his familyÖ none of
his personality is a surprise. He is the genuine article. Incredibly
pleasant, and when talking to you, always seemingly happy to be
right where he is and not distracted by anything else.
just so happen to have known his mother, Robin, for many years.
She is about as even-keeled and grounded as they come. An easy
enough image of her can be created by how many people associated
with Brandon and his sister refer to her simply as Momma Evans.
Itís appropriate, and lovingly offered.
talent in this family is spread all around. His mother has sung
and performed. His sister, Briana, participates in cheerleading
and dance competitions across the countryÖ and wins.
thereís BrandonÖ which is where we were headed all alongÖ
I sit to write this, Brandon has more than 25,000 likes for his
music page on Facebook. Head over to Twitter, and youíll find
he just passed 275,000 followers. You donít need to be heavily
involved in either site to know those are pretty impressive numbers.
channel on YouTube has more than 90,000 subscribers. His video
for ďCanít Wait ForeverĒÖ 122,000+ views. HeckÖ his cover of ďWrecking
BallĒ has passed 119,000 views. People are watching -- and people
are enjoying -- what this young man is offering.
June of 2013 he released a new song -- ďDonít run awayĒ -- which
has a video you can check out, or better still, head
over to YouTube and check out all of his material.
(Trust meÖ not only is there a lot of it, there is also almost
always something new to enjoy.)
complete presence on YouTube includes a terrific selection of
covers and some high-quality productions of several songs. As
we noted, he is amazingly active on the social media platforms,
quite often posting comments, thoughts, and suggestions. And he
interacts with his followers at a dizzying pace.
short, not only has he earned this high level of support, he also
works very hard to maintain it.
the afternoon we met, Brandon and his sister sat with me for about
an hour. I would like to thank both of them for their time and
since we first worked on this project, Brandon has been incredibly
busy. Heís been performing live and touring, and started 2015
off with the release of ďSky RiderĒ, a brand new single. In addition
to the links at the end of this page, you can find out more about
his material by checking out:
Rider at iTunes
page for Brandon Evans at iTunes
Rider at Amazon
page for Brandon Evans at Amazon
nowÖ letís get to itÖ Brandon EvansÖ
~ ~ ~
heard that some of your first memories involve being on stage,
singing with your mother.
Yeah, thatís true.
guess that I was probably 3 or 4 at the time I can first recall.
I can almost hear my mother singing ďCircle of LifeĒ as my dad
helped me up and I walked onto the stage while she rehearsed.
developed into a regular thing for me. Mom would be at a rehearsal,
and Iíd be there stealing her microphone.
there ever a moment where a thought -- like ďthis is for meĒ --
was in your head during those days?
donít know if it was back in those first memories, but it wasnít
too long after. The simple truth is, as much as I can remember,
I have always been singing. It could have been on stage back then,
or when I was 6 or 7 and in the car, or, really anyplace.
far as knowing it was something Iíd like to do, that probably
came about when I was maybe 10 or 11. That was when I started
expanding things. Even today I still work on covers and mimicking
vocal styles and efforts from others. But about 8 years ago was
when I recall not just being fascinated by melodies, but also
the writing of music and lyrics, and the process of creating music
and songs and expressing things on my own.
was probably around the same time that I became aware of the idea
of being a performer as a profession. Iím fortunate to have so
much technology available to me, because it made finding out about
record companies and the industry easier. I could also follow
things, in and out of the mainstream, in ways that just werenít
as simple twenty or thirty years ago.
can understand that idea. When I was younger, you might have to
wait three or four or more hours to hear a particular song on
the radio, even if it was one of the most popular songs that week.
And now, you can hop on the internet and find even the rarest
and most obscure songs within one or two search efforts. Is the
internet one of your major sources then?
Absolutely. I find a lot on the internet.
yet, itís funny, because even in just a few short years so much
has changed. If you go back to those days when I was 10, 11 and
12, Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber hadnít really done anything yet.
Myspace was still big.
even as it grows and changes, the internet is still the biggest
thing. Everyone has to be there, posting on it or viewing what
has been posted. All of the biggest artists are on it, using it,
and often are using it in ways no one ever expected it to be used.
the early days for me it was Michael Jackson and Usher. And being
able to not only hear the music, but to see so many great performances
just added a level thatís hard to explain.
that make it difficult? Meaning the internet. So much of writing
music, especially lyrics, can come from a personal place. And
then here you go, sharing it with the world, and in a format where
it can be seen over and over again.
really like writing my own material, so Iíd say yes.
lot of artists donít write their own material. And itís not easy,
especially when you are reaching into very personal areas for
inspiration. Often the most personal thoughts, which can be very
scary and difficult to share, can produce the best results. Plus,
there are thoughts and events and themes you simply donít want
Lovatoís recent stuff comes to mind. I like it. I like it very
much. And yet look at everything she has been through in the past
year or two.
your question, everyone is watching, and sometimes no matter which
direction you go in people want to critique it immediately. These
days, the speed and ease of technology means the response can
be instant and very public.
thing is, and this may be a bit off from what you mean, I love
interacting with people. Itís great. So an added element is that
once out in public, many times you donít know who you are interacting
with. People want to be friends on Facebook, and yet you donít
know for certain who it is that you are responding to.
there you are, potentially in a lightning rod kind of situation.
I want to believe itís really rare, but an example would be the
person you think is your age or older is actually just 10 or 11
and knows enough with computers to click the right boxes and open
an account, and then they want to be your friend. Take that concept
and go to extremes. It can be very scary.
thing is though, honestly, itís very important for me to connect
with people. That means an exchange of trust. I really appreciate
my fans. I want the fans, and even their parents, to feel they
know who theyíre supporting and who theyíre with. I think if I
stay true to myself, working hard and delivering the best efforts
I can, that level of trust will create a great connection between
myself and an audience.
thatís something Iím aware of when it comes to producing my material.
Iíve worked on 90-100 different songs, and to this day weíve only
released 13 tracks.
been the hardest part so far?
think it was probably around 2010 when I started posting some
covers on YouTube. Basically, I had seen others doing it, and
figured if they could, then so could I.
covered a Jason Derulo song. The very next day I was thrilled
to see it had more than 20,000 views.
reality is, Iím still pretty young and learning about what I enjoy
and want to do. Seeing those views, and then having reactions
on YouTube, Twitter, Facebook and so on, it is really great seeing
the support grow. And yet, Iím outside of the party and dance
music. I really appreciate a soulful voice, and the comeback of
cool music. People like Gotye and Justin Timberlake.
on I worked with Kevin Wales. (Editorís note Ė with the song and
video ďCanít Wait ForeverĒ) I will forever be grateful to Kevin
for what he taught me. I am blessed to have worked with him. Lately
I have been with Dave Brown, and we released ďDonít Run AwayĒ
earlier this summer.
guess what Iím saying is, if you want to be successful, itís all
hard and all different. And I want to be involved in the entire
labels, different markets, work on things like sales of albums
and singles. Some people only hear, or only record, two or three
songs and donít even have a full album of material. Itís hard
to get music played on the radio, even when you have a great fan
base already in place.
can only get you so far in the process. You have to constantly
be working on things, moving forward, and, sometimes, be in the
right place at the right time.
in one way of describing it, youíre looking to be more than just
the singer, and you want to think long term about your efforts.
Thatís exactly it.
you enjoy their music or not, Taylor Swift and Lady Gaga are involved
in all aspects of their careers. That trust, that honesty I mentioned
a few minutes ago, thatís what you get from them. Everything done
for their careers, from writing to performing to promoting, involves
their efforts and input. You can say some of it is image and branding,
but it still has their stamp of approval, that honesty behind
it. And you can see how respected their audiences feel, and how
loyal they are in response.
donít see this as a career. Many donít appreciate the long run.
I donít want to just jump in. Iím doing this because I absolutely
love it, and I want it as a long term career.
writing. How does it work for you? Music first or lyrics?
me the melodies come first. I add the lyrics to that.
find that the melody is the deeper feeling of the song. It creates
whether the song is dark, light, happy, and so on.
a process though, like anything. I would guess I usually have
10 or 11 melodies floating around in my head trying to take on
a real form that I want to use.
you play any musical instruments?
approach my voice as my instrument. I am learning how to play
the guitar, and I used to play the violin. I can also play the
piano a bit by ear.
of that said, it is my singing that I focus on. I practice my
singing and take voice lessons. So I do work on my singing all
the time, the same way a guitarist would pick up a guitar and
how many levels of the industry are available, would you be happy
focusing on one aspect more than another? For example, more songwriting
and less performing.
Itís an interesting question, but itís not the way Iím thinking
about my future.
get to do a lot of different things, and often things an artist
canít. A successful mainstream artist can find it very difficult
to change out of an image, and create a new personality or perception.
some people simply donít want to be viewed as role models.
for whatever reason, there are going to be people that are attracted
to certain parts of the business, and they arenít as pleased with
other parts of it.
me though, Iím really blessed to be in the music industry, and
doing what I like. So that focus you mention is wide open, on
a career from working on my own material all the way to performing
it. There might be some things that I like doing more than others,
and even some things Iíll eventually find I donít like. Right
now I view them as part of the work, and part of taking chances
to improve and get better.
honestly, when I get to interact with people, thereís nothing
better than seeing people smile and have them tell you they enjoyed
something you worked hard on.
you ever wonder about how a song will connect with its audience
as youíre working on it?
I mean, itís not something that I use to force a song. I donít
find it determining what lyrics I use and so on.
hear all the time about how people say that a song, because of
the feeling it created or how the words connected, made them feel
better. And Iíve had people say things like that to me. Itís great.
I really do enjoy making people happy.
Iím working on a song though, Iím trying to almost sculpt something.
Iím using music and words to create it, but the general concept
holds true. Iím giving something form, and doing that with my
thoughts on presentation.
means crafting the music and the lyrics, yes?
donít know if I can really explain it, but I really believe that
in a song a note and a word can both have the same effect for
someone listening to it. A person can just as easily not understand
what a musician is trying to create with the music as they can
miss the idea of a phrase or lyric.
good portion of songwriting is expressing yourself, but youíre
also really looking to connect. You want someone to listen to
what you have to say. You want someone to listen to the song.
might change the beat around, or try different instruments. Youíre
the artist. If you want to use a kazoo because it breaks the tension
with a bit of humor, or because you think it makes the absolutely
perfect sound you want in the song, go for it. Do what you need
to do to find that hook.
very active in social media efforts. Do you find the marketing
of your music, of your brand, to be difficult?
say itís different. And at times it is work. But I donít know
if difficult is the right word.
me, the social media efforts fall into a few different categories.
Obviously some of it is marketing. I want people to know what
Iím doing, and to be aware of what Iím working on. Thatís the
business side. But I am equally interested in just talking to
people. I want them to know I appreciate their time and feedback
on my work.
it comes to recording though, marketing is such a different world.
Sometimes the label might not like what youíre working on, or
they prefer to focus the attention on a different song than the
one you think is the best one. Itís tough because sometimes the
business world doesnít relate to the artistic world.
I think sometimes that growth and development becomes a part of
the marketing. Someone like Gaga is already making different music
than what she started out with. Often an artistís first experiences
are designed at pleasing anyone else except the artist. Itís that
attempt to do whatever you need to do in order to make it.
still trying to break out as an artist. And yet, I still want
to be comfortable with who I am. So that marketing, that brand,
itís really important for it to reflect me.
that make you nervous, about what you say or what others want
to do with your career?
Nervous. All of the above?
what I know. Iím willing to work hard. I feel Iím smart and aware
of my strengths, and willing to take critiques and suggestions
about how to improve the things I might not be able to do as well.
a songwriter, the process for me involves putting in a tremendous
amount of work, and also a tremendous amount of emotion. But the
biggest things about all of itÖ the marketing, the performances,
the musicÖ is that 20 years from now I want to still be excited
about what Iím doing today.
writing music, staying in touch with people on Twitter and other
platforms, and doing so many other things for your career. Do
you ever have time for you?
Not really. But Iím young and motivated, and doing what I enjoy,
so Iím definitely not complaining.
adjusted to the pace for the most part, and I do find some down
will sound a bit sappy I suppose, but Iím always focused on making
myself better than who I am today. And I mean that as a performer
and as a person.
really do believe that support builds on a personal level. As
an artist, I need to make a connection that people understand
as ďthis is for youĒ. Itís not just doing covers and posting videos.
Itís not just posting tweets. I really want people to look at
me and say ďI like this kidĒ.
want to be honest with people. I hope theyíll respect that, and
in turn stay with me for a long time.
not sure how to phrase this, but I find that really interesting
since the media, and even people in general in this post-it-all-online
age, have a way of building a person up only to tear them right
not going to even try to defend people that are doing dumb things.
Unfortunately there are people that get money and attention and
fame, and in whatever example you want to look at they donít know
how to handle it.
sometimes the incidents get blown way out of proportion. It isnít
fact-based reporting. Itís jealousy. There are people out there
that only seem to find their happiness when other people fail,
which is sad.
try to push the negative away. Some people give it too much attention.
at someone like Johnny Depp. To me, he always seems nice and approachable.
He tends to keep his personal life private as much as thatís possible.
this business, there has to be a certain amount of understanding
about what youíre getting into. No one gets perfect reviews on
every project. And there is going to be an increased spotlight
on things. I just want to do the best I can, appreciate and respect
those that assist and support me, and as I said, always be a bit
better tomorrow than I am today.
whatís next? How can people keep up with you, your work, new releases,
and everything else?
working on an album, and really hope that soon Iíll be able to
share some announcements.
is a section for my material at YouTube, where people can see
my videos and hear the songs.
and Twitter are also fantastic places to look for me. For Facebook,
I have a page set up as a musician under the name Brandon Evans.
And my Twitter account is @bevansisme. If you Like or Follow those,
youíll not only be able to get all of the latest information,
but I can pretty much guarantee youíll see it as soon as it comes
Iíd like to thank everyone that has been supporting me. Itís great
to hear back from people that enjoy what I am doing, it means
a lot to me and I really appreciate it. It definitely makes me
want to work even harder on new projects.
~ ~ ~
want to thank Brandon for sitting down with me, and for working
on this interview. I sincerely hope youíll take the time to check
out his efforts.
Evans web site
Evans at YouTube
Evans on Facebook
Evans at Twitter
pictures you see in this article have been provided by Brandon
Evans for use with this project and on the In My Backpack web
site for associated promotional purposes. All rights to these
pictures belong to Brandon. They cannot be used for any other
purpose without the permission of Brandon Evans and/or his authorized
material in this article was originally posted at In My Backpack
in April 2014. Unforeseen circumstances created a need to work
on the material after that, so we did some research, reached
out to Brandon, and updated the effort for re-posting in April