How To Flourish On And Off The Stage With Artist Brandon Stansell
We live in a media frenzy world and as recording artists we are expected to give that world inside view to who we are both on and off stage. Today we examine the impact this has on an artist, coping mechanisms, and some insights for fans to consider when engaging and supporting your favorite artists.
Brandon Stansell is a bold new voice blending his Nashville Country Music roots with his new ‘California Country’ sound. As he is making headway in this genre as a singer and songwriter, Stansell has encountered the challenges of sharing both sides of his world and figured out his way to flourish.
What stage are you in your career and how long have you been publishing music?
Brandon: I’ve reached the stage where I’m actually touring which is a huge step as an independent artist, but I have been performing since I was six! My very first show was on the Grand Ole Opry stage in 1994 — I laugh and tell people that I have spent my entire adult life just trying to get back to that stage where it all started. I didn’t put out music on my own until 2015 mainly because until that point I didn’t think I had anything to write about. Then I got my heart broken and suddenly I had all this material. My first EP served two purposes — it was a cathartic experience that helped me maneuver the complicated feelings of a breakup and it also showed me that songwriting was something I could do.
What was the moment you realized you had to pursue music as a career? How did it feel, was it scary, what steps did you take to get started?
Brandon: It never really felt like a choice — as soon as I could talk, I was singing. The scary part was deciding to finally release my first EP independently — being an independent artist was not what I imagined when I was a kid. I always thought I would just be handed a music career when my time came, but as time passed I realized that wasn’t going to happen and if a career in music is what I wanted then I would have to work for it. So I started writing and releasing my own music and it’s been a full fledge hustle ever since then.
Based on where you are now can you describe what the journey has been like to date? Your first 10 fans, 100 fans, 1000’s of fans?
Brandon: The journey has been long, crazy, and the best time of my life. I don’t know how many fans I have now, but I do know the fans I have met have made the journey and all the effort I have put in well worth it. I never imagined my music could mean so much to a complete stranger. I write from such a personal place that I didn’t know how well it would be received by others. So, when I get emails and messages from fans saying a song of mine helped them through a hard time or made them feel a little less alone, I am beyond humbled.
What we see on social and online, how much of a true you do we see?
Brandon: Like anybody on social media, it’s a mix. Yet, I try to represent myself as honestly as possible. I feel like a down-to-earth kind of person, so I hope that is what people see when they’re scrolling through.
How do you protect yourself from negative people, comments, trolls?
Brandon: I usually comment back with kissy face emojis. When people realize that you don’t care what negative things they have to say about you, I think they tend to feel less inclined to come after you.
What does performing feel like for you? Is it natural or is it something you’ve had to work on?
Brandon: Again, it’s mix. I sing as naturally as I breathe, however performing on stage doesn’t always feel like a natural experience so it’s been a process of learning how to be myself while thousands of people are watching. I think that is the artist’s job, to bare themselves. That’s what I am trying to do.
What are your techniques you us before you get on stage?
Brandon: Whiskey — just kidding! I do a whole bunch of vocal exercises and use my faithful steam machine and occasionally a whiskey.
What’s the inspiration of your music? Do you censor people and situations, if so why?
Brandon: I always say, “you gotta write what you know,” so I tend to write from personal experience. I think it’s important to tell your story as honestly as possible. I don’t think we do ourselves, or anyone else, justice by painting pretty pictures of bad situations.
Tell us about any new or upcoming projects you’re working on that you’re excited about?
Brandon: I am beyond excited to announce two videos for singles coming out showcasing two very different sides of my music and personality. One is called “Hometown” about kids like me coming out in rural America and the other is my first ‘summer song’ called “For You”. It premieres July 24th on Billboard Pride, starring RuPaul’s Drag Race favorite Eureka O’Hara!