SOME’N UNIQUE MAGAZINE, LLC
BRANDON MC KENZIE
Vocalist ~ Musician
F. Kenneth/S.U.M: First, thanks for granting Some’n Unique an interview, we truly appreciate it. Psychology Major, musician, singer/songwriter… Is there anything you don’t do!? Lol!
Brandon: Lol! I like to keep myself well rounded, so I try to dabble in everything.
F. Kenneth/S.U.M: It’s always good to explore new things as often as possible. So how difficult is it to balance academics, work, and performing?
Brandon: Its actually super hard and I don’t get to perform as much as I’d like. There’s usually about 4 hours of HW a night, plus regular work, and doing the school musical. However, I do my best to upload a weekly video on YouTube so people know I’m still here.
F. Kenneth/S.U.M: That’s quite a schedule. Definitely keep posting videos regularly, social media is a major outlet! You started dabbing in music at very young age… Are your parents musically inclined?
Brandon: My moms always loved singing. She would sing all day when she was home so I guess that’s where I picked up my singing from. She’s always wanted me to be in piano so it was really started with that.
F. Kenneth/S.U.M: Thank you mom! You’ve studied music all your life… Why was “Rent” so pivotal?
Brandon: Growing up you always hear how hard making it in music is. So there was a time where I had pursued music but I strayed from that because I thought it was too hard and unrealistic. . .when I auditioned for RENT I told myself, if I get this lead role, I’ll consider going back to music. . .after each show so many people were awestruck by my performance and kept telling me how amazing I did, and a year later people are still telling me. . .So I guess the fact that I believed in myself and people really loved my performance, gave me hope that I could do this and that this was what I truly loved doing.
F. Kenneth/S.U.M: Wow! You have to believe in yourself and your ability, even if or when no one else does. So, how do you prepare for a performance? Relax? Rehearse endlessly? Meditate?
Brandon: How do I prepare to perform? Well I always get super nervous the day of so, I usually go to my room to practice for a bit and try not to overuse my vocals. Then, I usually remind myself that I’ve been performing for so long but that never works. I guess it’s more of a nervous excitement. My friends are always there to reassure me before my performances so that helps a lot. Quiet time is always the best before a performance.
F. Kenneth/S.U.M: That’s a natural thing. As a writer & entrepreneur, I’ve done a number of interviews including radio, and public speaking engagements, and I still get nervous. Having a support team behind you always helps, as well as a few quiet moments alone.
Tell us how music has changed your life?
Brandon: I’ve always loved creating and helping people. Music helps me express the way I feel. Things I have trouble saying always comes out in the music I write. My favorite thing is when I listen to music that describes everything I’m feeling at a certain moment; it’s like someone understands me lol! It’s like my personal euphoria, I always lose myself in music and I love seeing people lose themselves in the music when I perform—it’s sort of like a therapy. It truly makes me happy and if I can spread the same feeling I get with millions of people, I would be the happiest person on this planet.
F. Kenneth/S.U.M: Your spirit plays a lot into how, and how well an audience, or people in general receives you as well. You seem to have a very positive aura to surrounding you, that obviously touches anyone near you. So what was it like to open for Lee Dewyze?
Brandon: Opening for Lee has to be my 2nd favorite performance. Only because nothing can compare to the first time I ever performed and the excitement. But it was literally out of the blue. I had received an email from the group hosting Lee and they were like, “Hey we think you’re amazing, wanna open for Lee?!”
I mean who would ever say no!? I watched him on American Idol and here I am opening for him. It was my first professional performance they were asking me how I wanted my lighting and my mic situation—I felt like I was already famous. It was also the first time I played an original song for a crowd before so it was pretty amazing! He also signed my guitar and we have a picture up together up on my Instagram.
F. Kenneth/S.U.M: Cool! Sounds like quite an experience. We never know what doors may open for us while in pursuit of our dreams.
With the experience you’ve gained, have you ever considered teaching music?
Brandon: I can’t say I’ve ever thought about teaching music, although, it would be cool. I’ve had people ask me to teach, I just would have no clue how to do it.
F. Kenneth/S.U.M: Might be something to look into, it may steer you into your musical career from an angle you least expected. Okay, now tell us something about yourself that we would have never guessed
Brandon: Well, I use this fun fact a lot lol! I was a cheerleader on an episode of the TV Show the “Good Wife”
F. Kenneth/S.U.M: Ok, wow! Definitely didn’t see that one coming! Lol! In addition to performing, you’re also a songwriter, do you write songs for other vocalists?
Brandon: I’ve never written a song for any other artists, hopefully, one day, I’d get a chance to.
F. Kenneth/S.U.M: All in due time. Has any record labels offered you a contract?
Brandon: No I haven’t had any contact with any record labels but I’m working on it, one day.
F. Kenneth/S.U.M: When the time’s right, it’ll happen. What projects are you currently working on?
Brandon: I actually just finished up my first ever Acoustic EP. It’s on my YouTube channel and it’s called “To The Girl of My Dreams”. It took two years I’d say from when I first started writing it to when I had the idea to do the EP about 6 months ago.
F. Kenneth/S.U.M: Congrats! How did you start performing at bars? Ever have any rowdy crowds?
Brandon: I had my first bar performance in September of 2015. I always Google artists and see how they started and so many of them started in bars so I said hey why not so I did a lot of calling and traveling to bars asking if they had open mics and then when I finally got a list I made dates I would go and perform. I can’t say I’ve ever had a whole rowdy crowd but there are always a few people that go above and beyond to express their love. I think for the most part people get so awestruck because they don’t expect the singing voice that comes out but they’ll always give me big smiles and hugs and tell all my friends how amazing I am if they can’t get to me directly lol. I think my YouTube fans are rowdier simply because they can type on a computer lol!
F. Kenneth/S.U.M: Nevermind the “haters”—just keep doing what you’ve been doing—it’s working! You listed some of your musical inspirations include; Maroon 5, One Republic, Justin Bieber & Usher… How has having a diverse influence, helped you as a musician?
Brandon: I think the diverse background helps a lot with my unique sound. It also gives me a leeway when I write music because I have such a broad range of options of how I’d like to write.
F. Kenneth/S.U.M: I can relate. I’m often asked what type of books do I write, and I tell people I write in multiple styles and genres so I won’t be limited to just one thing. Diversity is a good thing.
Ok, you know I have to ask…When can we expect a Brandon McKenzie album?
Brandon: I would love to say within the next two years I’d have a full length album. So fingers crossed. As for right now, to get a taste of whats to come, check out my Acoustic EP on my YouTube channel: bmackishere.
F. Kenneth/S.U.M: Some’n Unique Magazine would like to thank Brandon McKenzie for sitting down with us for this wonderful interview. Brandon, you’re always welcomed at Some’n Unique Magazine!
S.U.M wishes Brandon much more continued success!