'The Boy Who Could Soar!'
Despite being only 14 years-old, Brandon Burrows is going places. The soulful pop crooner recently released his debut disc, 'On The Move.' The title track has received radio spins across the nation and reviewers are beginning to notice the talented teen that possesses the poise and passion of an old soul.
The seventeen-song collection, produced by Amber & Rob Whitlock, is comprised of compositions by iconic singer-songwriters Stevie Wonder, John Lennon, Paul McCartney, Jimi Hendrix, Cat Stevens, Bob Marley, Ray Charles, and Kenny Loggins along with a pair of originals, including one co-penned by Burrows (“Chase Your Dreams”).
Exclusive Magazine had the recent pleasure of speaking with Burrows about his love for music, his musical influences and, of course, penguins!
Your music has roots in jazz, pop, and blues. Who were your musical influences growing up and how many still factor into your music today? [Burrows] "I have always liked the music of all the artists whose songs I have covered on my album. Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Jimi Hendrix, John Lennon, and many others have all contributed to my musical development. However, I like making a song my own by putting a unique spin on it. I would say that Stevie Wonder and Michael Jackson remain my strongest musical influences."
As an up-and-coming artist, how would you describe the sound and style of your recently released debut album 'On The Move'? "I would describe the sounds on my debut album as classic pop-rock songs with R&B and jazz influences added to the mix. The tracks have arrangements that are a little more contemporary than the original, but the songs still keep the original vibe that made them classics."
Your musical talents were discovered at a young age after you were heard singing along to cartoons. Your mother then enrolled you in a children’s theatre group where you were the shining star amongst you peers. Tell us a little about your development as a singer throughout your youth "I always loved to sing and have been singing for as long as I can remember. Being in the youth theatre and taking voice lessons really helped me grow and realize my love for music. I enjoyed singing and acting in musicals. However, as I grew older, I realized that Broadway wasn’t really my style so I ventured more into the pop/R&B genre."
Two years ago, you performed the National Anthem for a sold out San Diego Padres game. How exciting was this experience for you? Are you a big baseball fan? "That was a very exciting time for me. Singing the National Anthem was a big honor. That was the biggest crowd I had ever sung in front of and it was definitely a memorable experience. Baseball is one of my favorite sports and I might play in high school. My favorite team is obviously the Padres since I am from San Diego."
At the young age of just 14 years old, how do you balance your school schedule with your hectic music obligations? "As soon as I get home everyday after school, I grab a snack and start my homework. Usually I finish before my performance or voice lesson. I have had much more free time during the summer so I have been entering contests and singing at open mics whenever possible. But I’m sure my time-management skills will be put to the test once I get into high school, with all of the sports and extracurricular activities that I will have going on."
You co-wrote the song “Chase Your Dreams” on the new album. Tell us a little about your songwriting process; where do you find inspiration and what does this particular song mean to you? "When I wrote that song, I had a little notebook that I carried with me everywhere. I would write down ideas such as verses, choruses, and bridges in the notebook whenever they came into my head. I also had a small tape recorder that I sang into when I came up with a melody. Eventually there were enough ideas in my notebook to piece together a song. “Chase Your Dreams” was a song I wrote about my experiences trying to pursue a career in music. I knew it was going to be hard and would not come easy so that song is a little bit of inspiration for me and anyone who listens to it."
How easy or hard is it to create a new, vibrant, wanted-by-the-public sound that both builds on and surpasses the musical wonderments and accomplishments that preceded it within the industry? "I have always tried to make a song uniquely my own by adding my own personality to it. I feel like I accomplished that on “On The Move” by recording unique versions of the cover tunes that appear on the album. They are different enough to be distinguishable from the original, but still recognizable."
You’re going to be competing in the OC Idol contest at the end of August. What is this competition all about and what do you hope to accomplish by participating? "I am very excited about the OC Idol competition. I already made it past the preliminary audition round in July and I will be competing in the semi-finals in late August. The competition tries to help the winner from each age category create material that they can use to try to break into the industry. By participating, I hope to get some exposure and just try to keep performing and have fun."
Alright, we’ve got to know…how does being a ‘rockstar’ help you on the school dating scene? "Actually nobody except my closest friends knew that I could sing until the very end of the 8th grade year when I entered the school talent show so it really hasn’t affected me yet. I guess I’ll have to wait until 9th grade to find out."
If asked to record one for charity, what ‘80s (and possibly cheesy!) pop/rock song would you love to cover today and why? "I would like to cover “With Or Without You” by U2 because it is one of the best songs of the 1980s and is still popular. In fact, I just heard it on the radio the other day."
Lastly, and throwing you a journalistic curve ball, Exclusive Magazine loves Penguins…do you? "I do like penguins very much. They are my favorite Antarctic animals."
Interview: Erin M. Stranyak
To keep up with Brandon Burrows check out his MySpace Blog page once a week!
So, if you would like to win an AUTOGRAPHED copy of Brandon's new CD, just answer this easy question: To launch the album, Burrows performed with a full band in a packed club - but in which city, in which state was that performance?!
Send us your answers and if you're correct you'll be in the running to win one of these wonderful AUTOGRAPHED CDs by Brandon! Just send us an e:mail here before October 1st with your answer and the subject title CONTEST: SIGNED BRANDON BURROWS CDs to: firstname.lastname@example.org
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