Brett Gleason: Strong and, Thankfully, not so Silent

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The one thing I have always loved about NYC is the music scene. As a matter of fact, the reason I started blogging about ten years ago was to highlight musicians I met around the city. Brett Gleason happens to be one of the first people I interviewed. Since then he’s become a great friend and I’ve seen him perform numerous times over the years.
The thing I’ve always loved about Brett is that his music is truly an extension of who he is. When I first heard him, it was very unique to me because I was going through a mostly pop and R&B phase. His lyrics were and are like poetry, but not the everyday kind, they remind me of deep literature class poems.
Besides being a wonderful musician, Brett is also a very vocal advocate for the LGBTQ community (He’s written for HuffPost) and he advocates for mental health. As you’ll read, it is very inspiring that a boy who was mostly shy as a child because of a speech impediment became such an advocate and performer.
Getting a chance to interview Brett is always a treat and a pleasure. He’s got so much going on, like adding a band to his performances, changing up his sound a little, AND this amazing Patreon community he is building (if you aren’t part of it yet, you will want to join to keep up with him). I invite you to join our conversation to learn more about him, make sure you follow him on social media, and reach out to say HI to him (and to me too). Check out his videos for Expiration Date and Alive at the end.
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Q: For those who don’t know all about you, tell us a little about Brett Gleason’s beginnings and Brett growing up. Was music always a part of your life?
Brett Gleason: Hey Tommy, thanks for asking.  I’ve always played music but the role it played in my life has varied – as a kid, piano lessons started as just one of my many activities, my main one being gymnastics.  As I grew into my teens I was a seriously competitive gymnast but as I developed emotionally and dealt with injuries, I took to music more personally and started listening to Tori Amos and the Smashing Pumpkins and realized music was something really important to me and was going to be my life’s path and I started writing songs.
Q: I’ve known you for a long time and I’ve always said your lyrics are very intellectual, kind of like musical literature. Will we ever hear a pop song from Brett?
Brett Gleason: To be honest, I think that my music isn’t too far from pop, especially my new songs, which I guess are still to be heard by most.  My sounds are more rock, or even folk sometimes but my structures are getting more simple as I’m trying really hard to get my message across. I  used to write more complex songs but I think I was just hiding, or even showing off.  I’m using more simple song structures now which is kind of what pop is.  It’s not obvious mainstream but it’s simple & heartfelt.
Q: How many instruments do you play? And did they all come naturally to you?
Brett Gleason: The piano is my main instrument but I’m also a fairly accomplished guitar player, a proficient bassist, and an intermediate ukulele player.  NONE of them came naturally to me, it was all work.  Most people think musicians were just born with ‘talent’ and it may be easier for some but it’s been a long journey, I’ve been playing for 25 years and I still have a lot of limitations but our limitations are what we work around and that’s how ‘style’ is born.
Q: The definition of Indie Artists has become a bit misunderstood by many. What does it mean to you to be an Indie Artist?
Brett Gleason: The phrase ‘indie’ has been co-opted by corporations to mean ‘rock’ music these days so now I say DIY. If you’re on a label, have funding, you’re not ‘indie’.  I know there are ‘indie’ labels but some of them are pretty damn big.  I’m DIY.  I do it myself with the support of my fans.  They support me financially and emotionally and I make the decisions that I think are best for the music & them.  It’s a really slow process but I’m thinking big picture.  A label could help me blow up fast but they’d own everything and could quickly abandon me if things go wrong, take all my music and leave me with all the debt.
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Q: You recently added a band to the Brett Gleason experience. How did this come about?
Brett Gleason: My recordings have always had a ‘band’ but as a multi-instrumentalist, I played most of the instruments which has been tricky to pull off live.  I don’t play drums so I’ve always had a great relationship with my drummer and often play live together but it hasn’t been financially feasible to consistently hire a full band. However, I’m stepping things up this year and now that I have some consistent support through my Patreon and new music that really calls for a special sound, I think it’s finally worth it.
Q: You have said that you had a solitary childhood because of a speech impediment. How did you overcome that and what/who helped you to get through/past it?
Brett Gleason: Kids are amazingly resilient and I was so young that I just rolled with it.  My parents were smart and kept me busy, they put me in gymnastics, music lessons, lots of individual things that I could do alone to build up my confidence.  I had speech therapy, worked on creative writing – it definitely affected me socially but that’s where art comes in.
Q: You have been so open about your own struggles and mental health. What advice can you offer to those who are struggling and especially to those struggling in silence?
Brett Gleason: Open up to someone.  And if they don’t listen, open up to someone else.  The sooner the better.  I waited way too long until I was in crisis because I didn’t think it was serious enough but it usually doesn’t get better until it gets worse and there are so many resources out there but you can’t access them alone, especially as a kid.  I needed help when I was 13 but I didn’t get it until I was 19 and then I had to drop out of college and get hospitalized but still, at least I did that then.
Q: There’s new music coming! Tell us a bit about it. Will these songs reflect the changes like the band and the work you’ve been doing on you?
Brett Gleason: Thanks for asking! I have a new single coming out on June 7th called, ‘The Strong & The Silent’ that will kick off a new sound for me.  It’s about a proud man who uses his strength as a shield against vulnerability…
Q: What’s one thing you absolutely cannot live without and one thing you wish we could all live without?
Brett Gleason: I really can’t live without coffee but I wish I could.  This sounds very idealistic but I wish the world could live without borders dividing and defining us.
Q: You’ve also been vocal and open about your sexuality. What does it mean to be an out artist, especially in today’s climate?
Brett Gleason: I really don’t know anymore…I’m very open about being gay and bipolar as I like to be transparent and give my music context but I don’t call myself an out artist anymore because my music doesn’t really vibe with the ‘gay music community’ very much and as a cis-white gay man, music mags that focus on queer content aren’t interested in posting about what I do so its kind of pointless to promote myself as such.  I just like sharing who I am, looking for nothing in return other than connecting with other people.
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Q: What would you tell your younger self about being gay and what would you say to the young people who are having a hard time that is being made worse by all of the political stress going on now?
Brett Gleason: I would say to my younger self that being gay is like the 3rd or 4th thing that defines you.  I spent much of my 20’s trying to find where in the gay scene I fit in and it tortured me because I never felt like I belonged.  Now I spend my time in the music community specifically and meet lots of cool gay musicians and non-gay musicians who really don’t care whether I’m gay or not.
To young people stressed out by the political times happening now, I really don’t know what to say other than to tell them they really need to educate themselves on the last 5 decades of gay struggles to see the overall arc of progress and to see that people have been fighting hard for their rights and that there is always a push and pull.  There will be more progress, things have been worse and things will be better.  But you need to educate yourself, be grateful for those who came before you and advocate for your future.
Q: You have been using Patreon to connect with your fans. What has that been like and what can people expect when they join you there?
Brett Gleason: Patreon is the future of music.  It’s a fan club for artists to connect with their fans.  It’s a semi-private site/app where I post all my work in progress and more personal, substantive blogs that I wouldn’t put publicly online.  In return, my fans choose a monthly amount to support me with, anywhere from $1 to $100/month.  This has changed my life – allowed to consistently create new music, explore new sounds, work in a proper studio and hire a band, mostly from small donations.  It has also helped me connect with people who really care about my work as opposed to people who just click ‘like’ on my photos but never listen to or support my work.  It’s deeply changed how I view myself as an artist in the most profound ways.  I highly recommend checking it out, there’s no contract or anything.
Q: Where else can people find you and your music online?
Brett Gleason: Google me! I use social media a lot and would be grateful if you’d follow my Spotify for when my new music comes out.
Here is my SpotifyInstagramTwitterFaceBook & of course my Patreon!
Q: What’s up next for Brett Gleason?
Brett Gleason: The ‘The Strong & The Silent’ comes out on June 7th, I’m doing a release show in NYC on June 20th at Berlin and then a Northeast tour in August.  I’ll be following that up with another single in the Fall then a new album in 2020.  Hit me up, shoot me an email. Say hi! Thanks Tommy, love you!

Brandon Rogers turns Apathy into a cathartic, emotionally-charged musical experience

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Some people were meant for music and, in some cases, music was also meant for them. Such is definitely the case with Brandon Rogers. If you’re a fan of his from his American Idol days or just a fan period and you follow his journey on social media, you see how he literally lights up when he’s singing. That light is always something I find contagious whenever I am watching someone perform. Plus, as you’ll learn, Brandon has been surrounded by music from a young age.

If you know Brandon, you know that in addition to being so talented, he’s also a really good guy. I have had the privilege of hanging out with him a few times, so I’ve witnessed his kindness and humor but again, if you follow him on social, you see that shine through regularly. Some of my favorite posts of his are when he watches Idol and shows his support for the current contestants, gives his advice, and offers encouragement. He also showcases that sense of humor on the regular, so if you aren’t following him, make sure you do so!

His new song, ‘Apathy’ is a beautiful statement about moving past hurt and difficult relationship memories. It’s also a stunning video with lots of familiar faces (My very good friend Ronnie Kroell appears in it as well). I included it at the end of this interview for you to enjoy!

Now, let me allow you to experience a little of Mr Brandon Rogers:

Q: Your journey with music has taken you so many places. Tell us a little about how you got started, did you always know you had such talent and were you always ready to honor it?

Brandon Rogers: Thanks so much for the compliment! Music has always been a part of me; I’ve been singing pretty much my whole life. My mom and dad both sang around the house growing up and my mother was even an aspiring songwriter at one time – but as she would say life got in the way.  I’ve just always been immersed in musical energy.  I’ve played piano since I was 9, played sax in bands, sang in choir in school, studied vocal performance and jazz in college, then joined a boy band right after school.  I’m lucky to have parents that always supported and loved my musical aspirations.

Q: Speaking of journeys, your song and video ‘Apathy’ take listeners/viewers on a bit of an emotional one. Where did the inspiration for the song and video come from?

Brandon Rogers: I’m sure it goes without saying, but I love this song.  I loved writing it and it was cathartic emotionally in a way that I didn’t anticipate.  When it came time to figure out the visual medium, I just wanted to convey that no matter which side of a breakup you’re on there’s going to be some sort of residual emotion that is sometimes tricky to shake.  I wanted it to feel like I was simply the narrator while all the talented actors (some of which were real couples) displayed the range of emotions expressed in the song. The flashing Edison bulb is the device I used to bind all the scenarios. I’m really proud of how well the director (Rashsaan Patterson) realized the vision.  We then sat down and edited it ourselves until we felt it had the right energy.

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Q: Being an ‘American Idol’ alum, are you glad to see it return? What advice do you offer current/future contestants? What advice do you wish you had received when you were on the show?

Brandon Rogers: I’m always glad to see American Idol return.  It definitely holds a special place in my memory.  I made some friends that I’ll have for a lifetime and it got me out there in front of the public in a major way. The advice I would give to all contestants is to enjoy it while it’s happening.  It’s easy to get caught up in the future – meaning where you’ll end up/what will you sing next week/what happens afterwards/etc but I think it’s important to just be in the moment.  The experience is singular.  Relish it. What I wish I would’ve known was that when it’s over, it’s completely up to you what happens next.  It’s can be a springboard for your career, but YOU have to do the work.  It’s not just going to happen automatically and they won’t necessarily help.

Q: ‘Apathy’ brings up a great point. “The opposite of love isn’t hate, it’s apathy”. That applies to personal relationships, but in our current situation, it also applies to much of the social and political issues we face today. Do you think there is a cure for the kind of apathy that exists in that context?

Brandon Rogers: Good catch. I wish I could say that I made it up but I borrowed it, with love, from the holocaust survivor/activist Ellie Wiesel. The quote starts “The opposite of love is not hate, its indifference.” I used it in relation to a relationship, but it’s original meaning were definitely more politically salient. To me, the hard part in avoiding political apathy is that we’re so inundated by information from every angle that every new tragedy or scandal has become routine. The only cure would be realization that we all have the agency to push for changes we want to see in the world.

Q: Will we be seeing/hearing a new album soon?

Brandon Rogers: Definitely.  I have most of it written already and I’ll be releasing them one by one as they’re finished. Next up is a song I wrote called “Weekend Love”. It’s an upbeat song about that moment when you start to realize a relationship is drifting from a casual thing on the weekends to something more serious. Should be out in the coming weeks.

Q: What is one thing you absolutely cannot live without and one thing you wish we could all live without?

Brandon Rogers: The one thing I can’t live without and the one thing I wish we could all live without are the same thing : my phone. It’s definitely a mass addiction.  Maybe we’d all connect a little more if we disconnected a bit online.

Q: Where can everyone find you online to keep up with all you have going on?

Brandon Rogers: The best way to find out what I’m into is to follow me on IG/Twitter @brandonrogersla and to subscribe to my YouTube page (I need followers!)

Q: What’s coming up next for Brandon Rogers?

Brandon Rogers: I’m going to try to release more music and video at a more regular pace.  First “Weekend Love” then either a song called “Science” or “Run”. I’m on the fence.  In the meantime, I’ve got a single out with an Italian DJ Matt Strike called “I Refuse” that I co-wrote with Will Jay. Additionally, I’m just going to keep on writing and being creative every day in hope of putting a more positive creativity into the world. 

Get to know Conscious and become part of the Team

31723287_1728518517193683_1885466195990151168_nI recently came across the music of Conscious (Brett Prusinski) on Twitter and then did a little reading up on him. Brett is known for his viral presence online with videos that have accumulated an increasing following and that inspired a movement referred to as #TeamConscious. With his music, Conscious brings melodic, sensual vibes packed with witty, emotional and memorable lyrical verses that matches over unique and funky production. Along with a pure flow Conscious provides the listener with a voice that is said to be “powerful and made to move crowds”.

Conscious is more than a musician, he is also involved in every end of the production including writing all of his own lyrics, directing and editing all videography & photography. Conscious has quickly made his footprint in his hometown of Buffalo, New York and has created a great presence online that I am sure will quickly translate into an incredible career.

Q: Tell us a little about your new song, ‘Lies’. What is it about, what does it mean to you, and what inspired you to write it?

Conscious: “LIES” is my first musical release of 2019 and one of my deepest, real-est songs I’ve ever made. This song means a lot to me as the song follows my pain and heartbreak as I talk about a long-term relationship that was toxic and filled with lies, lust and sex. The song was inspired my a past relationship of mine that really changed my perspective on love & relationships.

Q: You have said that you wanted to be an entertainer from a very young age. What are some of your first memories of acting upon that desire to entertain?

Conscious: Sheesh the good old days. So I’ve always had a knack & passion for entertaining. As a young kid I idolized movie stars and musicians. I’ve always had this deep passion for creating. When i first laid my hands on a camera I knew it was magical. Soon after, My mom had purchased me one when was just a little kid. When something inspires me, I become obsessed with it and really soak it up. When i was twelve years old I launched my first Youtube account & within one year of creating videos I landed Youtube partnership (which back then was a BIG deal!). I remember when I first became a partner with Youtube and started earning money online, my mother thought I was scamming people online or something! She didn’t believe it until we started getting mail from Google in our mailbox. I recall always making all types of videos online, some my dad even participated in and helped me make. It grew from there and I never looked back.

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Q: Where can people find you and your music online?

Conscious: I’m everywhere! Not only that I’m very engaged with my following. You support me, I support you! Just how I am.

You can find me on Youtube, Facebook , Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat. My music is available on all major music platforms including Itunes/Apple Music, Spotify, Google Play, etc.

Q: What’s one thing you absolutely cannot live without and one thing you wish we could all live without?

Conscious: I’m assuming this is asked in a just for fun manner, so no obvious things like oxygen, etc. Haha. So as sad as it sounds, I’d probably say the internet. They used to say money makes the world go round, but now a-days I think the internet is what makes the world go round. The internet in my opinion is the single handily most powerful tool if used correctly.

Q: Who are some of your inspirations in music and entertainment?

Conscious: I am inspired by artist of all kinds, music of all genres. I can draw inspiration from even everyday life. So it’s hard to answer this. I’m mainly inspired by myself and the last thing I made as I’m always trying to be better than I was yesterday.

Q: What artists would you like to work with in the future?

Conscious: I’m very interested in working with other talented up & coming artist from across the world who are passionate about the art and have a story to tell.

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Q: With social media, artists have a chance to be seen and interact with fans more regularly. How do you find time to balance that with working on your music and projects?

Conscious: It’s very hard. You have to really find a balance. Some spend too much time in the studio and not enough time building an audience or following. On the other hand, some spend too much time online promoting the music and not enough time working on their craft. I struggle with this myself time to time. I think it comes down to prioritizing and time management. I think as artist we tend to think we need to respond and be active 24/7 with our following we forget they are going to understand we are human and at times it’s just not possible to respond and get back to everyone as your audience grows. I personally allow myself a time block to get on social media, so that way I can dedicate and give my full attention to my audience.  While during other parts of my day be able to give my full attention to other affairs.

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Q: Social media can be a great help but there are still lots of challenges artists face when navigating the music business and entertainment industry. What do you think are some of the greatest difficulties creative types are dealing with now?

Conscious: I think for me, the most difficult thing is getting the funding needed to truly take this movement to the next level. Things like setting up tours, merch and high budget advertising all take money. For me everything is stepping-stones, one day & one song at a time. With each song I see my audience grow significantly and I believe if I stay true to the art and make quality content and put my all into this, things will come together.

Q: What’s up next for Conscious?

Conscious: 2019 IS A BIG YEAR FOR #TeamConscious!! I will be dropping a boatload of singles leading up the release of my 4th and best project to date, Path To Redemption. Which follows my journey from heartbreak to reclaiming independence and turning the negativity into success. I also have several high-profile music videos dropping as well some giveaways to show my appreciation to #TeamConscious and all the love & support I’ve been shown.

He is the official video for ‘Lies’ be sure to subscribe to Conscious on YouTube and like and share:

 

Daniel Alexander will be around more than Just For Tonight…

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I first met Daniel Alexander in Ft Lauderdale, Florida while I was on vacation. At that time he told me all about his passion for his music and his desire to make some changes to his career. He was feeling like he needed to experience more, get out of his comfort zone, and find his voice in more than just a musical way. We’ve kept in touch since and one night when I was leaving The Abbey in Los Angeles I literally bumped into him on the street. At the time, he was planning to move to Los Angeles but I hadn’t realized he had arrived already.

Last year, we hung out at LA Pride, where he told me about some of the changes he made and shared with me his plans to release new music soon. Well, the time has come for that music to be shared with everyone…… so, I got him to agree to a little interview……

Q: You have said that Just for Tonight is autobiographical. It’s a deep song that definitely seems to have lots of meaning behind it. Tell us what the inspiration was behind it?

Daniel Alexander: While Just For Tonight has elements of a fun Pop song, it is actually a deeply personal track about my struggles with anxiety and making it in the music industry. “It gets real late at night, I walk the street alone. These LA city lights always set the tone.” The song was inspired by a 3am walk I took down Sunset. I was thinking about how far I’ve come and where I want to be. I wondered if I’d ever be good enough or if I’d ever become the artist I’ve always wanted to be. The “boy” in the song is me. It’s the younger version of myself who I’ve been trying to live up to my entire life. That little boy with the big dreams of becoming a Pop star.

Q: You write your own songs so would you say they are all autobiographical or do you incorporate others’ experiences into your work?

Daniel Alexander: I have to say that most of my songs are inspired by something I’ve been through. Even the party tracks are written after an insanely fun night. Whether they are dramatized for the sake of the song or not is a different story. However, I’m an artist. I tend to see things in a more dramatic light than others would. I feel things in a more intense way. My life is a movie and I always have the lead role! 8214DE88-558B-4224-A2CF-0019603338D5

Q: You appear to have definitely come into yourself as you made other changes in your life. How was it to move across the country and sort of start all over?

Daniel Alexander: Leaving where I grew up to move to LA was one of, if not, the hardest things I’ve had to do. Before I left, I really underestimated the challenges and mental strain it would have on me. However, I knew that staying where I was and not taking the leap would have a greater effect on me. My drive and passion for music is what allows me to breathe. It’s the reason I wake up in the morning. I knew it was the right thing to do.

Q: Speaking of starting over, you also did a little re-branding and redirecting. Was that all as a result of what you learned about yourself from moving?

Daniel Alexander: The re-branding started happening before I moved. I grew up, went through so many life experiences, breakups, makeups, etc. The essence of who I am is the same but, I’m also a completely different person. In turn, a completely different artist. I didn’t see myself through the lens of my old music. While I still love it, this sound, these lyrics represent exactly where I am at this moment. Moving across the country definitely affected me as well and I’m so excited to have written and recorded this track a year after my move. It’s so representative of what I’ve been through here in LA.

Q: What advice would you give to your younger self about taking the path to the music business?

Daniel Alexander: To buckle up and get ready for the ride! “It’s going to be a crazy one!”

I would tell myself to never lose confidence or take my eye off the prize. To keep my head up and to only listen to the people who believe in what I’m doing. When I was younger, I would take what people said to heart. As I got older, I started realizing that people won’t support something they can’t understand or have the confidence to do themselves. “Just keep going and believe in this! You’re on the right track!”

Q: What’s one thing you absolutely cannot live without and one thing you with we could all live without?

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Daniel Alexander: One thing I couldn’t live without is my iPhone! It’s how I communicate with the world, share my music and interact with everything that keeps me going. It helps me share my music, discover new music and put myself out there. As well as set up dates and a bunch of B.S! Haha. “Let me call this Uber right quick…”

Q: How do people find you online to keep up with all you are doing?

Daniel Alexander: Instagram is the social platform I use the most. It is the central source of Daniel Alexander. You can follow me @dalexandermusic. You can also reach me on my official site: dalexanderonline.com

Q: What’s up next for Daniel Alexander?

Daniel Alexander: I want to travel the world! I’m so excited to set up this promotional tour and just get out there! New music and an EP is also on the way! 🙂

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