California born Brandon Lee Richardson grew up in Yonkers, New York with his mother. As a child, he initially modeled for print ads until he discovered his passion for music at age 14. Specifically, Brandon was captivated with the process of creating and altering sound which is what shaped him into the artist he is today. He is a self-taught pianist/keyboardist, singer, rapper, songwriter, producer, composer, arranger, recording engineer, mixing engineer, and mastering engineer. Brandon eventually created an independent label/collective called PAZ Music Group where he releases his music.
His recent single “Wanna Stay” is a chill rap song with a unique edge. Consistent with his skills, Brandon brings us new sounds in this track that will have you captivated early into the song. The beat is refreshingly irregular, giving “Wanna Stay” its originality. The backtrack includes intriguing electronic audio and background voices. Brandon’s voice is confident and strong in the verses, yet the chorus is sung with real feeling and yearning. Lyrically, “Wanna Stay” is an emotional song about Brandon’s desire for a love interest; he repeats “tell me if you wanna stay” many times throughout the song. Considering his long history with engineering sound, it is no surprise that Brandon produces such original pieces. We are excited to follow his musical career as it continues to evolve in the future!
Welcome to BuzzMusic! What's the story behind Brandon Lee Richardson?
Thank you for having me! There's a lot to my story. lol But I'll try to keep it as short as possible. I was born in California, but I was raised in Yonkers, NY. When I was younger, I surprisingly never wanted to make music. I actually wanted to play ball in the NBA. So for a long time, that was my life. But by the time I was a freshman in high school, my friends and I had really taken an interest in rapping. So we would download beats off of Limewire and write verses over them. But after a while, I got tired of the beats that were available and I wanted to make my own. So I downloaded FL Studio and started messing around with it. At first, my beats were trash. lol But I loved the process, so I kept working on it.
During my sophomore year of high school, my family moved to Florida. At this point, my music was getting a little better. But I knew that I had to learn an instrument if I really wanted to be good. So I enrolled myself into a piano class at school. I ended up failing the class because I never did the assignments and I spent the entire year teaching myself songs that I wanted to learn. lol The first song that I taught myself was "So Sick" by Ne-Yo.
During my junior year, my family moved back to Yonkers and I kept progressing with my music. At this point, I knew that I wanted to be a music producer. So when I graduated high school, I had to make a decision. I had to decide whether I was going to play college basketball or pursue music seriously. I decided on the latter.
I went to three different colleges, but I graduated from SUNY Purchase. During my time at Purchase, I was able to learn from really great producers and engineers in the industry, some of whom were Grammy Award winners. So by the time I graduated, the quality of my music had really gone from amateur to professional. The problem that I was having throughout all of the years, however, was getting artists to let me produce for them. So instead of waiting for other artists, I decided to be my own artist and simultaneously be selective of any artists that I do produce for. Now, I started my own independent label/collective called PAZ Music Group that consists of myself and a couple of other really dope artists.
We really enjoyed your single "Wanna Stay”. How would you describe your creative process behind this single?
Thank you! I'm glad you liked it. The creative process for me is largely based off of feeling, as well as the images that I see in my head. I see music in colors. So when I'm making decisions in the creative process, I'll use and create sounds that represent the color palette and aesthetic that I see in my head. For those that don't know, I also drew and designed the cover artwork for "Wanna Stay" as well. The color palette and tones used in the artwork pretty much serve as a visual representation of the colors that I was seeing when I creating the song.
How would you detail your songwriting approach to “Wanna Stay”? What inspired you to write this single?
Songwriting, for me, begins with melody and rhythm. The subject matter and lyrics come last. It's much more effective to put words to a fire melody/rhythm than to try to put a melody/rhythm to a bunch of words. Plus, the words tend to just form themselves as I'm writing the melodies and rhythms. I try not to force anything and let the music come out as naturally as possible.
The inspiration for the song came from all of the years that I've known my girlfriend. We were friends for a long time and eventually got together. So it details that experience but in a more comedic way.
"Wanna Stay" comes with an accompanying music video! Tell us about it. What was it like filming this? Did everything you envisioned come to life in the final stages?
The video was directed by me. It's my second time directing a music video. The first being the music video for "Acid Below the Surface" by Kendyle Paige. Check it out if you haven't seen it yet! But the video for "Wanna Stay" co-stars me and my girlfriend, Manni L. Perez. It made sense since the song is about her. lol It's basically inspired by an actual time when we went to an event in Yonkers. She's an actress and at that time, one of the short films that she's in was accepted into a film festival. So I accompanied her to the event. I won't spoil the end scene for anyone who hasn't seen the music video yet, but what she said, in the end, is what she told me on the drive to the event. lol I also incorporated things that we tend to do and say on a daily basis. I wanted the video to be more of a comedic narrative as opposed to a typical music video.
Filming the video was a lot of fun! I always try to keep a fun and chill environment when I'm working with people on a project. I also like to leave room for creative input (there are scenes in the video that were added and improvised by my girlfriend). It allows everybody to enjoy the process and it makes for a much better final product. Plus, whenever me and my girl are together, we're always laughing and joking around. lol
As an artist, I'm always going to want to do better. But the video came out just as I envisioned it and I love what we created!
Thank you for sharing Brandon! What are you looking forward to the most out of this year in 2020?
Thanks again for having me! I'm really excited for this year because we have SO much planned as a collective (PAZ Music Group). I can't give away too much right now, but we have a lot of really dope work that's coming out this year.