Brandyn Cross Interview Part 3

Brandyn Cross Interview Part 3

by Christian Lamitschka for Country Music News International


Lamitschka:  Are you doing anything to take music beyond its current borders or are you happy where it is?


Brandyn Cross: Music is always evolving, and that’s a good thing, Granted, I have my favorite periods and genres, but it’s also cool to hear a new sound you haven’t heard before. My sound has always been somewhat traditional, so I haven’t really pushed boundaries too strongly. I have a few demos, not yet released, that are pretty experimental, but only a few. If I get a chance, there’s something I’ve really wanted to experiment with, and maybe I will if I get enough support behind the concept. That’s to mash up country and dub step. I would love to see how that works out. Maybe I’ll release an album of dub step mixes of some of my material. I would really like that.


Lamitschka: What was your big break that got you into the music business?


Brandyn Cross: I kind of had three seperate career starts, honestly. First, I recorded some music for the syndicated Dr. Demento show when I was a kid, but that was kind of a one-off. Then I joined a progressive rock band, and we recorded an album, which produced a couple good hits. But, as we were preparing the second album, I was treated to a pretty severe accident, which left me disabled and in a wheelchair. That ended the band and kept me in recovery for literally about five years. After I was done with that, I recorded an album with a couple prominement members of Collin Raye’s band backing me. The album was then given to Collin’s manager and, within 24 hours, the album had been heard by about five of the biggest icons and talents in the music industry, and I’d been invited onto a record label. It was honestly that quick, which was indescribably surreal.


Lamitschka: Before you became a star, were your friends and family supportive or was it a struggle?


Brandyn Cross: For the most part, my friends tended to be fairly supportive, although a lot of them were artists themselves, and I was working with them. Family, on the other hand, were considerably less supportive, which probably isn’t that unusual. As the man said, a prophet is not without respect except in his own home. Your family knows you too intimately, and they see you as a dreamer, not as a legit artist, I guess. I don’t know, but it seems that way.


Lamitschka: What inspired you to become an artist?


Brandyn Cross: My grandmother was a great talent, and had worked as a recording artist and TV producer. So because of her, I knew it was an achievable goal. That said- and I think every artist can relate to this- it’s not something you choose. It chooses you; it’s a calling. You have no choice in the matter. You can try to deny your calling as an artist, but you can’t ignore it forever. It’s like it’s part of your DNA.


Lamitschka: What inspired you to become a songwriter?


Brandyn Cross: I’ve been writing songs for so long that I don’t have a clue if there was any specific inspiration. Seriously, as young as six years old, I would write a song every morning while walking to school. It’s just something I’ve always done. They probably sucked, and I only remember one of the songs I wrote then, but it became something I just did. I’ve written songs ever since then but, fortunately, I’ve gotten much better at it. Ha!


Lamitschka: What drives you?


Brandyn Cross: I have absolutely no idea. I’m a very driven person. Having nothing to do drives me crazy. I always need to be working on something. But I have no idea why I’m the way I am. I live every moment with a sense of urgency that would drive most people batty. But, for me, not having that constant urgency to work on a project would drive me insane.


Lamitschka: What does it take to be a music icon?


Brandyn Cross: I certainly don’t consider myself in the company of music icons, but I’ve had the privilege of working with some people who are, and they do tend to have some very definable traits in common. They are very talented at what they do, have an unmistakable sense of optimism and positive energy, and just don’t know how to fail at what they take on. They don’t just succeed at what they attempt, but succeed in the highest order. They’re people who inspire you to succeed every moment you’re around them. I can’t be around someone like that enough. I’m sure most of us know someone like that, and I try to do everything I can to be that kind of person for others, but it’s an unending learning process.


Lamitschka: What’s unique about you that will differentiate you from other artists?


Brandyn Cross: I suppose the most obvious is being autistic and physically disabled, although I consider those somewhat superficial things. But, of course, they do allow me to see things from a rather unique perspective. However, they have also created challenges both vocationally and with life in general, and I’ve had to develop a pretty strong sense of purpose. So, no doubt those elements have affected me on deeper levels, which I hope I’ve turned into positive traits. Now, artistically, I think I can express the deepest message of a song in a way that affects people, and meets them where they are emotionally and spiritually. I think therefore I create a bond between artist and listener very effectively. At least, I’ve been told that. Ha!


Lamitschka: What has been your greatest challenge in the music business?


Brandyn Cross: Developing the confidence to take the risks and persue it. First, something like that is kind of against your nature if you’re autistic. But, perhaps more so, my parents were very, very much against me doing that, and were pretty negative toward me trying it. They thought the enitre music industry was Satanic (honestly, they did) and openly doubted both my talent and ability to succeed in anything difficult. So it’s been a lifelong battle against that negativity, but it’s also one reason I’m so adamant about encouraging people to crush the barriers holding them back from their own dreams.


Lamitschka: What moments in your career stand out in your memory as highlights and achievements which you are proud of?


Brandyn Cross: Well, every new experience stands out. The first time hearing my song on the radio, the first time seeing my name on the charts, then at the top of the charts, physically holding my first record / CD / film / book, whatever. The first time seeing my TV series aired. My first award win. Anything like that. But, in the scheme of things, the things that stand out the most involve using my position to help others, like working with charities, and doing benefit productions and performances. I love doing things like that. The atmosphere surrounding something like that is extraordinary because every artist involved, and the crew for that matter, is there for selfless reasons, and you could cut the positive vibes with a knife.

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