Almondmilkhunni is ready to bless the music industry with her smooth, sultry voice and down-to-earth personality. Transcending the genres of pop and R&B, the singer-songwriter hails from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, where she currently resides quarantined. With 64.2K followers on Instagram and counting, she embodies the definition of a bad bitch who makes fire music.
Real name Brandy Schwechler comes from humble beginnings, growing up in a strict religious household where she was not allowed to listen to rap. Thanks to her father singing and making his own beats, creating music was a notion that innately became ingrained in her. At the age of 13, she began performing in her church choir — which did not align with her shyness at all. From that point on, she resorted to writing songs and poetry in her own space, eventually teaching herself how to sing and harmonize (thanks to refencering the late Aaliyah).
It was until the release of “Grapefruit” that would catapult Almondmilkhunni’s name into the mainstream light, catching the attention of industry elites including Lil Yachty. While the initial studio session for the song served as one of her first times recording ever, it took 3 hard months of perfecting her songwriting, vocals, and production to turn it into the record it is today.
Now, fans are finally gifted with her debut, self-titled EP via Electric Feel Records. Flaunt caught up with Almondmilkhunni over the phone to discuss her strict upbringing, dancing through college, having the Lil Yachty cosign, and more!
How did you get the name Almondmilkhunni?
It originally started as a funny username because I’d always drink almond milk in my lattes when I worked at Starbucks. I thought it was stupid, I didn’t even think it was a cute name. I’m like “this is funny, whatever.” Making fun of myself. [chuckles] Over time, my Twitter started blowing up. People would see me on the street and call me Almondmilkhunni, it stuck around. By the time I started dropping music, I was thinking a lot about what name I was going to put it under. I thought “well everyone knows me as this, so I guess I’ll stick with it.”
How would you describe your sound?
It’s definitely pop music, but you can hear a lot of my R&B influences. Either within the beats, I’ll have a little R&B type sounds. Sometimes it’s melodically, lyrically more R&B tinges here and there. I have some songs that are very, very R&B, then I’ll have “Henni Heartbreak” which is very pop.
Being from Philly, what was the household like growing up?
My parents are very religious so growing up, they’re super strict. I wasn’t allowed to date until I was 18. Went to church every Sunday. Went on mission trips, all that. It was a very strict Christian house but my dad always made music, so always still very musical.
Talk about having to dance to get through college.
It was definitely a double life. Going to work super late, then going to class in the morning at 8am. Probably still having my makeup on from the other night. [chuckles] Dancing was crazy, I did it for 2 years. It’s really strange because there’s times when you really love it, because it gives you the freedom to do what you want. It gives you the confidence. Now all of a sudden, I can afford school and whatever else. Then there’s the times where it’s balancing it with school, balancing your mental health with dancing. It’s definitely a very fine line of keeping yourself stable and balanced with it. Overall, I’ll always love the stripclub. It was one of the most fun times of my life, so…
How did that go over with your parents?
Not good. [laughs] They were really, really upset at first, and I expected that. I just gave them some time but they started seeing what I was doing with music, that it was working out. That I was able to do this music stuff because I have the time with dancing, where I could work twice a week and put the rest of my time in music. They started to realize that okay, this was the bigger picture all along.
Being a Poli-Sci/Pre-Law major, what did you envision for yourself career-wise?
Growing up, I loved history. I was on a debate team. I loved all things in that realm. When I went to school, I was studying Poli-Sci. A lot of the professors were also law school professors, but they’d teach poli-sci. It was during the height of the 2016 election. It was a very emotional time, it was very tough for a lot of us. For all of us in general, but I remember at that time with the outcome of the election, a lot of us feeling a little hopeless going into that field of politics. I thought I could go to law school so I can start making legislation for certain humanitarian issues. You’re not just on the political side, but you can actually make changes. That’s always something I always wanted to do.
At what point did you realize this music thing was for real?
When I decided to drop out of college this time last year, actually last February. I’m like “well I think I can do this. If I can’t, I’ll go back to school.” But I was banking on the fact that I’d be able to successfully do it because I was throwing away a lot to start music. A big part of me knew that I could do it, although there’s times where you get doubts. A few months after “Grapefruit” is when it started really taking off and people were noticing me. People that I didn’t think ever knew I existed knew who I was because of “Grapefruit.”
More along the lines of really popular producers and songwriters. People telling my people “oh, I want to get in a session with her.” I’m like “how do they even know who I am?” It’s still shocking to me. One of the people who reached out to me after I dropped “Grapefruit” was Lil Yachty. He said “yeah, I just listened to your song. I follow you on Twitter,” blah blah blah. He was giving me music advice, then I started making a lot of industry friends. How do these people know who I am? [laughs]
Lil Yachty has his ears to the streets! That means you’re talented.
Yeah, and he’s friends with everyone. I’m telling him who my inspirations are, he’s like “oh yeah, that’s my homie.” I’m like “[jaw drops]”
I was bumping “Grapefruit” last night, that shit’s a bop. Bring us back to that recording session.
I was going through beats with my producer, not really vibing with much of it. It was one of my first sessions with him ever, and one of my first studio sessions. He’s going through, he clicks on this beat. He goes to change it real quick, he says “I didn’t mean to play that.” I’m like “no wait, go back.” He played it. I said “I want this beat,” and it was “Grapefruit.” It was tough because that was my first experience recording and I was very shy. I never even sang in front of other people, it was a lot of firsts with that song.
What can we expect from your debut EP?
I have the 3 previous singles that are out right now, plus 3 additional songs. I have the “Grapefruit” remix with Dounia on it. It’s so awesome. I love her. I love her. I ended up getting so close to her. We talk almost every other day. She’s so positive. She’s such an angel. Now that I have this relationship with her, having her on the remix is so fucking cool. Because she’s one of my girls!
How did you guys meet?
I’ve actually always been following her forever. I remember when she was big on Twitter, even back in 2015. I always looked up to her. When my social media started blowing up, she kind of noticed me. I was able to get my manager to talk to her manager because I really wanted her on that remix. It just worked out.
How is it being part of the Electric Feel family?
I love it, honestly. I was definitely a little apprehensive to sign anything at first, but it’s been so amazing. They really let me do me. They’re always telling me “you know what you’re doing, you let us know what you need.” And they do it. If I have an idea, they make it real — whatever it is. I love them. They have the best producers, it’s great.
How did you land over there?
I miss the aquarium and movie theaters and diners and bars and my favorite restaurants and going to the park with my friends
— 𝖆𝖑𝖒𝖔𝖓𝖉𝖒𝖎𝖑𝖐𝖍𝖚𝖓𝖓𝖎 (@almondmilkhunni) April 6, 2020
Funny story. In July a week after “Grapefruit” dropped, this guy wanted to be my manager. He’s like “come out to New York, I’ll give you studio time. We can meet and see what happens.” So I go out to New York, he’s actually Lil Tecca’s manager. This is before Tecca dropped his album in August, and just blew up. Tecca was still big, but it wasn’t as crazy yet. I got to spend the whole weekend with him and Tecca, it was really cool. One of his homies does A&R for Electric Feel. After I left, he went back to Electric Feel. I met him, he’s talking to the label and playing my stuff. They’re like “we have to get her in here.”
How’s quarantine life treating you?
On my end personally, it’s been really nice to have my alone time. Staying home every single day has been grounding. It’s been really healing for me, although it’s been really sad and scary to see what everyone else is dealing with. Sometimes, a distraction right now is needed. Especially when you don’t know what’s going to happen. You don’t know what the outcomes’ going to be. Distractions are needed. I try to be online more to connect with my followers and my listeners. It’s been nice to go back to my roots with talking to them everyday, hearing from them. I hope the EP can distract some people from feeling overwhelmed right now. Hopefully.
How’s the weather out in Philly?
It’s alright. It’s been warm out, but it’s been so grey. We don’t get that type of sunshine over here, it’s usually cloudy.
What are some goals for yourself at this point of your career?
I used to have a lot more clearly outlined goals but now, I just want to see what I can do. Every studio session we have, I try to push myself more and more. Really see what happens. It’s a lot more exciting when I’m just like “alright, let’s see what we can do.” Get better, grow and develop my skills more. Those are my main goals.
What’s one thing you want fans to get from “Bandana”?
I want people to feel that 2000’s nostalgia with the Usher sample in the beat. From the lyrics, I want girls to know it’s cool to throw a little shade. But to mostly remain unbothered and to never attack the other girl that’s involved.
Anything else you want to let us know?
Listen to the EP because I put a lot of work into it. I’m really excited. Stay inside! [chuckles]