Brandz is here to put on for North West London, while officially making his mark here in the States. The British-Nigerian singer, songwriter, and rapper exploded onto the UK music scene with his smash hit “All Ways,” debuting his versatility and talents to the world. Spitting braggadocious bars about his come up, Brandz serves as inspiration and motivation to all aspiring artists that they too can make their dreams come true.
Blending the genres of hip-hop, rap, drill, and R&B, Brandz is in his own lane simultaneously representing his own label titled 3WaveMusic. To date, the rising star has shared stages with everyone from Cardi B to D Block Europe, winning over old and new fans alike with each live performance.
Most recently, the 21-year-old released his newest EP titled Energies are Real, via 3WaveMusic/EyeconMGMT. The 7-track project is spearheaded by lead single “Roll The Dice,” and paired with an anime-inspired cover art that speaks volumes to his character and personality. He states, “Music is like a Powerbar, you use it when you need your energies recharged.”
Flaunt caught up with Brandz on a bright sunny day in downtown Los Angeles. Read below as we discuss his roots in the UK, biggest influences, “All Ways” taking off, the inspo behind Energies are Real, his chill drip, missing the stage, studio essentials, goals, and more!
How would you describe your sound?
I’d say UK R&B, melodic as well as grungy. Sometimes you can hear me on a rap beat, but more R&B rap. Just soulful, feel-good music.
Growing up in North London, what was it like growing up?
North London has always been home to me literally from birth, I’ve always been around there. There’s all kinds of people around there. You have the black people, all kinds of ethnicities and that’s what plays into the cultural side. Knowing about a lot of cultures from early, that really played its part.
Biggest influences coming up?
Drake. Aaliyah. PARTYNEXTDOOR. Outkast, Andre 3000 really.
How’d you get your name, Brandz?
My real name is Brandon, that’s where it stems from initially. I like to look nice and wear nice things always, so Brandz made sense.
When did music come into play?
I first knew I could sing when I was 7. I used to play football, which is soccer here. Was doing that for 15 years plus. At age 15 or 16, I was making songs with my friends for fun. I dropped my first song at 17 in college, people were like “whoa, this is fire.” People were loving it. I was doing little freestyles with my friend, then my second music video went crazy. It’s got 6 million views right now. Back then, it was crazy. It went off.
It blew up organically?
It was out for a month, it did 100K in a month. From that month onwards, it was doing 100K everyday. There was a dance video that blew up, the boxer Anthony Joshua was promoting it. Everyone was promoting it, it blew up from there.
Did you think “All Ways” would blow up like that?
No. Me and my friend were hoping for 100K the whole year. That’s what we wanted, that was our goal. Then it did 100K in a month, which is crazy for us anyway. When it started doing 100K a day to what it’s done now, it’s mad.
Bring us back to that studio session.
It was in my friend’s shed. He had a little shed where his studio is, we went there. What’s so funny is I recorded that song as a voice memo on my song. I had written it in my house, recorded it on my phone, then showed it to my friend. He said “yo, I need to jump on that,” so we went to the studio which was the shed. From there, it was history. [laughs]
Energies Are Real is out now, how are you feeling?
I’m feeling blessed. This is amazing, it’s great. I can’t lie, because I haven’t released something in a really long time.
Why, because of quarantine?
Nah, just little situations. I was trying to get my next situation, the best situation possible with who I wanted to work with. I took my time on it. The people are receiving it well, they love it. It’s good stuff.
Talk about significance in the title, it speaks volumes to life right now.
Definitely, energy is everything for me. When I meet someone, that’s the first thing. Obviously they’ll tell you their name, but that’s the face part. When you actually get into a conversation with them and understand them, that’s where their energy plays a big part. If someone’s energy is off, it’s not even good. It’s damaging your happiness. That word itself is so big, from as soon as you meet someone. The producers I work with on it, the things I’m talking about, it’s all energy. Good and bad ones.
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What inspired the cover art? You got the fire and the ice.
It’s funny because everyone loves the artwork. It’s very much anime-inspired, Avatar: The First Airbender. Avatar is an anime cartoon I used to watch back in the day, he had mad energy and power.
How much do you love anime?
I love it a lot. When I was kid, I used to watch Pokemon, Dragon Ball Z, The Boondocks. That’s not even really anime, it is but it’s stemmed off the first animes. A lot of anime. There’s a few ones I’ve been watching now. One’s called Death Note, that’s fire. I love anime.
Did a certain female inspire “Roll The Dice”?
It’s a certain time in my life where yo, I’m too into a girl. At least take a minute on me to actually realize the situation we’re in, that’s why I say “take 5 on me.” I’m saying take a minute to realize what we’re committed to right now, what we’re in. I’m having a conversation with her: I want you to ride with me. You’re a rider. I know you’re strong and numb from a lot of things that have happened in the past, but know that it’s going to be a whole roller coaster with me. [laughs]
What inspired the visual?
I was sitting with my manager Junaid Eyecon, we’re brainstorming ideas. He goes “why don’t we have a real life dice game?” It’s some illusion where she rolls the dice and you go into a whole new dimension type of thing. That’s where the aspect of CGI & effects in the video comes from, her rolling the dice and all those little things.
What song means the most to you on the project and why?
It always fluctuates but for me right now, the last song “Same Thing” and “Sex in the City.” Every time I’ve shown “Sex in the City” to someone before it’s come out, their reaction is whoa, this is a vibe. It’s a vibe no one’s really hitting in the UK. Every time I show it to someone, there’s always a shock value. They’re like “who’s this?” It’s me! For “Same Thing,” it’s because I made that most recently off the tape. I like that one a lot.
One thing you want fans to get from the EP?
I want them to understand that I’m not here to play. I’m definitely here to make real music, feel-good music. I’m not afraid to give my fans what they want. Obviously it’s taken a long minute for me to drop music but definitely when I do drop, it’s going to live up to what it is.
How did you celebrate your 21st birthday?
I was chillin’. I got a Hennessy bottle, sat back and drank up. Just chilled, I was in LA for it. The day before, I was in the studio with Rance from 1500. That was a vibe, we’re chillin’. The next day, it was my birthday. Because I’m from London, the birthday time was different. I basically had two birthdays: 4pm here is 12am in London. My birthday was at 4pm in London but here, it hadn’t been my birthday yet. When it hit 12 midnight, it was my birthday. It was weird. [laughs]
3 things you need in the studio?
I need some Henny, some weed, and some chill drip.
How would you decide your drip?
It’s not bothered. I don’t really bother sometimes, that’s how I describe my drip. Catch me in some Yeezy slides.
Do you have a love for fashion as well?
Definitely, but I want to switch up my style for sure. Fashion is a big part of me.
What are your go-tos?
Oof. Palm Angels, I like Gucci. I like Bape. Those are the 3 I like the most. My merchandise is coming soon, that’s going to be fire.
What can we expect from the merch?
Literally how I explained it to you: chill drip. Not too out of the extraordinary, but definitely something that’s going to stand out. That’s going to be fire, it’s dropping soon.
How was performing with Cardi B?
That was mad for me because one day, I had the email that said “do you want to come perform for Cardi B?” That’s literally how it happened. I said “yeah! What!?” I didn’t even care about the money or where it was. When they said “we’re going to pay you for this as well,” say less! Let’s get it.
Do you miss performing?
I miss it a lot, because you get to see the look on people’s face when you’re performing. It’s good to see people’s live reactions to your music and how it shocks them in a way. How it vibes with them, it brings that energy.
What would you be doing if you weren’t doing music?
I probably would’ve finished uni by now, my last year. Music started happening for me a year before uni.
What are some goals you have for yourself?
I want to be one of the UK artists to win a Grammy, definitely especially for male R&B in the UK and representing that scene as well as Rap. I want to sell Platinum records. I want to tour the world. I want to provide for my family.
What can we expect next?
Next is a great body of work, an album with Rance from 1500 or Nothin hopefully. We’re giving them all types of vibes, I’m dipping into all types of vibes. Without giving too much away, definitely there’s going to be a West Coast vibe, then a nostalgic, old throwback vibe.