Brandyn Cross Interview Part 1
by Christian Lamitschka for Country Music News International
Lamitschka: Music has many new fans throughout Europe who may be hearing about you for the first time. How would you describe yourself and the music you play to someone who has never seen or heard you?
Brandyn Cross: First of all, on a somewhat superficial level, I’m autistic and physically disabled. So people can be a little surprised, on live shows, to see someone putting on an energetic and dynamic show from a wheelchair. But I try to do that; the wheelchair just has to become an active stage prop basically. As for the music, I would describe it as high energy inspirational country/rock. The songs are generally lyrically inspirational, which is the core of my message. I try to show people that they can overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles and fulfill their dreams, regardless what stands in their way.
Lamitschka: How was the last year for you? What were your highlights?
Brandyn Cross: 2020 was, of course, a very weird year for about everyone. But for me, with concert venues and film sets shut down, I could either sit around doing nothing, or do something different. I’d had an epic book series sitting in the queue for a long time, so I dove into that and released the first three books in the series during the year. So, that was pretty cool. And it’s a very important project because this series is taken from correspondences by an abused young boy while he was a young boy, being abused. It’s not an adult looking back at his childhood. It’s the boy writing about his life while he’s an abused child, as it happens. It’s about the most profound, powerful and enlightening work you could ever find.
Lamitschka: What is your latest CD and how’s it doing?
Brandyn Cross: It’s called Blue Moon Over Heaven. It’s recorded, but not yet released. We’re releasing the first three or four singles in advance of the album to create a bit of a buzz about it. Kind of whet everyone’s appetite. Or, something like that. Ha!
Lamitschka: How did you choose the title for the CD? Is there a story behind the name?
Brandyn Cross: It’s named after the title track, Blue Moon Over Heaven, which is something of a Christian blues song I wrote. The story is about losing everything, only to discover all you needed was God. It’s kind of analagous to where I see the world right now amidst Covid and quarantines, and especially how some are literally politicising a pandemic.
Lamitschka: Do you write the songs yourself? If not, how do you go about finding the songs for your CD?
Brandyn Cross: I write all of them for the most part. In fact, I have demos recorded for enough songs to populate my next 20 CDs, or more. But I’m also a big fan of some great music from across Europe and Australia that are completely unknown in the US, and I’d love to record some of them. So, on the new CD, I decided to record three or four of them, which is something of a departure.
Lamitschka: Please tell us about the songs on your album (influences, etc).
Brandyn Cross: All of the songs are country at heart, with positive and inspiring messages. From there, each song has its own distinct style built upon that country backbone. For example, a couple are very bluesy, some have a rock & roll edge to them, some have a pop flavor that would be right at home on CHR/AC radio, such as the soon-to-be-released single, Ego You. There’s even some bluegrass, while the current single, If Money Talks (It Ain’t on Speakin’ Terms With Me) is a very traditional country two-stepper.
Lamitschka: What is the difference between your last CD and your current one?
Brandyn Cross: First is that about a quarter of the new songs are covers, which I haven’t done before. Beyond that, the last CD was more southern rock-oriented, while the new CD is country/rock, and even a little bluegrass. The lyrics are also deeper on this CD, and pretty inspirational.
Lamitschka: Your current single is being played by radio. What do you feel is special about this song that makes people want to hear it?
Brandyn Cross: It has a pretty catchy hook to begin with, which is a plus for radio. But it’s also timely. As the title says, If Money Talks (It Ain’t on Speakin’ Terms With Me.) The song taps into the struggles and uncertainty that so many millions are going through during these trying times, with a pandemic ravaging our lives and personal economies.
Lamitschka: What will your next single be?
Brandyn Cross: I believe the second single- which should drop in January- will be Ego You. It’s a bit of a polar opposite of the first single, If Money Talks, in about every way. If Money Talks is an original, mid-tempo traditional country song. Ego You, on the other hand, is a cover, and a country/pop ballad. Hopefully it will appeal to If Money Talks fans, yet also bring in pop fans as well. It really is a beautiful, emotional song.
Lamitschka: What kind of songs do you like to record the most?
Brandyn Cross: I like inspirational story songs. In music, the greatest thing one can do is affect someone’s life in a positive way by bringing them hope to overcome whatever stands between them and a happy, fulfilled life. I mean, what could be better than that?