Brandyn Cross Interview Part 2
by Christian Lamitschka for Country Music News International
Lamitschka: We’ve heard rumours of a duet with Rebecca Lynn Howard. How did that happen to come about?
Brandyn Cross: It’s something the label is looking at because they have this great song with her contribution recorded, and they think we would create a nice blend and some good chemistry. So since Rebecca and I are both on the StarPointe Records roster, it kind of makes sense. So that’s in consideration. She is, of course, a phenomenal, multiple Grammy winning artist, so they didn’t have to twist my arm much. Or at all.
Lamitschka: What is your favorite song among all the songs you have recorded and what’s the story behind it?
Brandyn Cross: Okay, that’s a tough one because the answer can change about every day. But today, I’d say it’s Easy Street. It’s a cover with a strong, edgy beat and great blues guitar licks meandering throughout. And it’s so much fun to sing. It was originally released in the 90s and, despite being a brilliant song, wasn’t a hit. I wanted to record it ever since, so I finally did. It’s this cool story about finding peace in a modest life while surrounded by all the petty, but alluring, things in life which you may never have for yourself.
Lamitschka: How much creative control do you have over your music?
Brandyn Cross: To this point, fortunately, I’ve pretty much had complete control. If I get too experimental in the future (which may happen… Ha!), that may change but, so far, I’ve been left to my own devices.
Lamitschka: There’s a lot of work that goes into a number one hit. What did it take to make it in your case?
Brandyn Cross: As the singer/songwriter, I first have to write and then record a song worthy of reaching the top of the charts. But, in a real sense, that’s the easy part. From there, it takes the whole label team hitting the pavement and getting the word out to radio, streaming, social media, and getting traction for the video. I participate in that in any way I can, but there’s a talented team of people associated with the label (StarPointe Records) that has my back on that, for which I’m eternally grateful.
Lamitschka: Do you have any interesting stories about how fans have been affected by your music?
Brandyn Cross: I do hear from fans about how messages from certain songs have helped them overcome difficulties, which is about the most satisfying thing an artist can hear about their work. Among all of those, the most incredible and miraculous I hear are stories from parents of autistic kids, telling me I showed both themselves and their kids that they don’t have to be limited by false perceptions that their kids can’t succeed because of autism. The same with people who are physically disabled. It’s very humbling to hear these stories of people achieving beyond what anyone thought they would. They become my heroes.
Lamitschka: Who inspires you musically and how deep do your musical roots run?
Brandyn Cross: I like Tim McGraw, for King & Country, MercyMe, while my favorite is a South London act called Libera. As for my roots, my grandmother was a recording artist in the early-mid 1900s, and was among the first female TV producers in the 1940s, helping to open the doors for the likes of Lucille Ball and others to follow.
Lamitschka: What do you think about today’s music scene versus its past and where do you see it going in the future?
Brandyn Cross: That’s a tough one because of how significantly the world has changed over the past year. So the future’s hard to predict, although it may be a long, long time- if ever- before we see a return to the sell-out arena tour. The digital world has opened the door to all artists to create and market their material, which is a very good thing. There’s a lot of great music being produced now but, at the same time, there is also a lot of generic music, nothing but a beat, and entirely forgettable. The marketing plan behind a huge percentage of hit music is to sell a lot of downloads/streams over a week or two. Then it’s forgotten, completely unmemorable. I think there are far fewer potential classics released now than in the past, as today’s bottom line becomes more important than the art. It’s not all like that, but a lot of it is.
Lamitschka: What do you think about today’s music industry?
Brandyn Cross: I kind of delved into some of that above. The access every artist has today to create and market their work is a great development. It creates a lot of competition but, all in all, I think that’s healthy. This has given artists more control over their work, which is also a good thing. But traditionally, it’s the live shows which have provided income to artists at all levels, and it remains to be seen how our present Covid world will impact that, and how artists may have to adapt going forward to earn a living with their music. Hopefully it will open doors to opportunities we haven’t thought of before, which could be a good thing. I guess we’ll have to see where the future leads us.
Lamitschka: If you had the chance to change something about the music industry, what would it be?
Brandyn Cross: Streaming compensation needs to improve. It would seem apparent that streaming is the future of not only music, but film as well. However, it’s still a fledgling industry and, as yet, artists get paid next to nothing. Something will have to develop to aleviate that, but I’m not sure what as yet. It will probably revolve around improvements in advertising, so it’s less annoying to consumers, while increasing revenues to the streaming services, enabling them to share more equitably with content creators. Who knows what will actually happen, but I’m sure it will evolve in some way.
Lamitschka: As an artist, you have so many tasks such as recording, touring, interviews. What do you like best, what’s your favorite activity?
Brandyn Cross: Honestly, I enjoy all of it. But, were I to be tied down and forced to choose only one, it would be touring. A lot of artists don’t like it very much, but I do. I enjoy traveling, and I love interacting with fans, and performing to an audience.