NYC's very own award-winning singer-songwriter and inspirational recording artist Brandon Anderson is embracing life's tumultuous journey in his latest album, Frame.
Having crossed the country on two national tours and being named a Critics Pick by Time Out NY, there's no denying that Brandon Anderson is leaving an impact on the modern music scene. Listed on the Advocate's Hot Sheet and a finalist in the Ultimate Singer/Songwriter Contest, Anderson started to embrace a drastic tonal shift in his music throughout the pandemic.
In the new album, Frame, we see the LGBTQ+ artist's journey from "Shadows" of self-sabotage to "Freedom" of stepping out of society's Frame. Between the intro and outro tracks lies the theme of how society often makes us reinforce narratives that are not our own. Anderson hopes the new record will "inspire others to find joy and authenticity in themselves, to shine a bit brighter," he says.
The experience opens with the introductory track, a song we've graced before, "Shadows." We're met with glimmering synths that evoke a modern pop atmosphere alongside Brandon Anderson's warm vocals that flow through our speakers. He uses this sweet-sounding piece to ask for freedom from the "Shadows" and live life the way he desires. While passionately pleading to escape these dreadful moments, Anderson leads us to the vibrant outro with a glimmer of hope.
The compelling story continues in track number two and the album's title track, "Frame." Anderson opens the song with his soft vocals, singing about idly listening to voices that demand he sit still and fit into the "Frame." From there, the energetic instrumentals and production gradually expand for a sonic thrill. This song is incredibly cathartic, and Anderson's honest lyrics are a compelling dissection of how we've let society condition us into believing what's wrong and what's right.
Onto another track we've had the pleasure to feature, "Reborn," this refreshing experience kicks off with upbeat drums and cinematic pianos backed by powerful synths and Anderson's melodic vocals. Right off the bat, he throws us into those exhilarating life moments of realizing our power and being "Reborn" with a new perspective. It's a thrilling experience to say the least, packed with exciting electro-pop sonics and Brandon Anderson's irresistible performance stylings.
On the album's midway point, "Watercolors," we melt into the haunting and melancholy piano melodies while Brandon Anderson picks us up with his velvety-smooth tones. As the delicate drums begin dancing through our speakers, Anderson expresses his innermost emotions in perhaps the most vulnerable song of the album. It's a song that praises vulnerability and opens up to those who might take us in, accept us, and encourage us to be ourselves.
Ramping up the energy is track number five, "Pixelated Love," which instantly drenches us in an 80s synthpop atmosphere. The groovy electronic sonics and Brandon Anderson's tender vocals offer this sense of passion and desire that warms the heart and chills the spine. He offers quite the alluring and charismatic performance that helps us forget our stressors and bask in the memories and future moments we'll experience with that special person.
From the jump of track number six, Brandon Anderson makes it clear that he wants us to "Dance." This thriller of a song opens with a driving kick drum that leads into Anderson's passionate verse, where he encourages us to make the most of life's dark moments and "Dance" the pain away. The smooth piano melodies paired with the punchy drums and Anderson's powerful vocals make this experience quite emotional; anyone can take something away from his motivational words of loving yourself on the outside and within.
Reaching the album's seventh and outro track, "Freedom," we already feel like we're drifting into the final scenes of a movie about Brandon Anderson's personal journey. The soothing background pads open the song while Anderson sings of the years wasted by fear and living by society's unofficial rules. The lack of drums gives the song a tender ambiance that feels like a daydream until halfway through, when the soft percussion melts our speakers with pent-up emotion. He closes this cinematic masterpiece by reminding us to not look back but to keep our eyes set on the abundant future.
When you're ready to take an in-depth look at Brandon Anderson's personal journey, an experience shared by many, find his latest compelling album, Frame, on all digital streaming platforms.
Welcome to BuzzMusic, Brandon Anderson. We truly appreciate the detailed and inspirational storyline throughout your recent album, Frame. What experiences inspired you to create an album about stepping out of society's frame?
Thank you! FRAME was definitely inspired by the break in my life because of the pandemic. For the first time in my adult life, I was forced to stop, and all my work and social life came to a halt. Without the distractions of daily life and the drive to "what's next?" I was left alone with myself for a bit. (Both literally and figuratively). I decided I might as well do some work there, so I started working out, and in the process of focusing on myself, I began to have some realizations - about myself and about how my perception of myself was deeply informed by the society around me. Being isolated, that outside frame began to fall away, and I started seeing parts of myself that I had hidden away because of societal pressures, because of wanting to fit in or be loved. I strangely found expanding freedom in my isolation, and once I saw the truth that was hidden there, I didn't want to go back to old patterns once the pandemic was over. Writing this album was really a way to force me to share what I discovered and to hold myself accountable - to not let myself step back into the frame.
Is there any significance to the tracklist order in Frame? Does this specific song order tell the story you wanted to get across?
Well, I am someone who still loves to listen to a whole album. I love albums that are crafted and tell a story. I used to buy CDs (dating myself) and would go home and light some candles and lay on the floor and listen to the whole thing with the lyric booklet. It was an experience, and I think it deepens the music, so all of my albums strive to do the same thing. For FRAME, the tracklist follows my journey - and one I think a lot of people have - from the Shadows of doubt and self-censorship/sabotage to the freedom of releasing yourself from the Frame put upon you by a society living authentically in your own skin. There is also a sexual liberation happening in this album, and songs like Pixelated Love and Watercolors speak to that part of the journey.
How would you describe your sound in Frame? What genres or sounds influenced this album?
FRAME has been a big departure in sound from my previous albums. While my last two were folk rock and alternative, this album falls squarely in the pop category. I have always had very eclectic music tastes, and good pop music has always been a big part of what I listen to. Nothing makes you feel more alive than a good pop song, and this album really is a celebration of discovery and growth, of embracing the moment you are in. I also think I found myself listening to more pop music during the pandemic as an escape and as a part of workout mixes, and the idea of writing in the genre really took hold. For influences, I definitely think Robyn is a big one, as well as MUNA, Sylvan Esso, KEVZ, and Gregory Dillon, with a splash of Carly Rae Jepsen.
What was the most challenging part about creating Frame? Did you encounter any personal or emotional difficulties?
The most challenging part was forgiving myself. When you make a discovery that you have still not been living authentically after all these years, there is anger at yourself - you feel like you wasted or lost time. You start to question how your life would be different if you had made other choices and if you had been brave enough to live truthfully from the beginning, but that is a dead end. All you have is the moment you are in to make a new choice, but letting go is always hard. Freedom, the last track on the album, is my letting go - of embracing the journey I am on, of loving myself for what that journey has made me.
What was the main realization you wanted listeners to have when experiencing Frame? What do you hope they take from the album?
Joy. Radical Joy. There are definitely some deeper themes on FRAME, but I truly feel like it's a fun and joyful album. I want people to love themselves and embrace the journey they are on, and feel brave enough to live authentically because, in that authenticity, you will find your deepest joy. And I want them to dance a bit.
What's next for you?
I have a new music video for Shadows coming out soon, as well as a few more videos from the album, so stay tuned. Also working on some new music and some collaborations, so I'm very excited about that.