THE COME-UP: Grammy Nominee Brandon Markell Holmes on Songwriting & Musical Influences

Meet Brandon Markell Holmes : a musician, artist, and influencer. I had the pleasure to chat with Markell about challenges and highlights as a musician, advice for aspiring songwriters, and the path towards success.

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Brandon Markell Holmes, Musician & Influencer

How long have you been a musician?

B: “I’ve been singing since I was four years old. I wrote my first song when I was five years old.”


What keeps you motivated?

B: “Reaching my goals. Knowing that I was born to be great. “


What do you think it takes to be a great artist?

Being a great artist is your desire to perfect your craft through discipline, imagination & versatility. First and foremost, you must think you’re great. You must know without a shadow of a doubt that you are great.”


 What’s the best piece of advice you received when you were starting out in your line of work?

B: ‘Never give up and get used to rejection. Have fun & don’t take it personal.”


You’re a 2018 Grammy nominee with Gorillaz which is huge! What was that experience like for you?

B: “I was so grateful to be apart of it. Honestly, life is funny how one minute you’re working at a restaurant and the next you’re on a Grammy nominated album with legends.”


How did you get started with songwriting? 

B: “Honestly, I don’t know. I started writing songs as a child. I think I had written like 100 songs in the 7th grade. I remember losing my journal and I was so heart broken. That was a huge loss  in my 12 year old life. Now I have songs I don’t even care to let anyone hear.”


Name your favorite artists that inspire you and why.

B: “Micheal Jackson, Beyoncé & Basquiat. They all have incredible work ethics. They’re all very imaginative, creative & explorative. MJ wrote and produced a lot of his original music. He also choreographed a lot of his work as well as explored many other characters through his performance. I mean “Ghost” is one of the most incredible music movies ever made. He played like 5 different people in that video. He transformed into the roles. He allowed the work to take over. It’s the same with Beyoncé. She gets deep into the work to the point people think she’s possessed by the devil. Like, really? It’s called passion. It’s called being born to do it. And must I say, Jean Michel Basquiat is a beautiful mind. I think I admire his curiosity, child-likeness & brilliance. He has a very beautiful way of existing. I think that’s something I learned early in my career: the art of discovery. Approach the work as a child and you will always create something new & beautiful.”


What advice do you have for aspiring songwriters who are trying to elevate to the next level?

B: “Write all the time. Write to everything. Find producers you like working with. Always be willing to start from scratch. And never get boxed in. Explore as much as you can and expand your vocabulary.”


Which of your traits are you most proud of?

B: “My ability to understand others.”


What’s your biggest goal for 2020?

B: “To go on tour, travel & transition back into acting at some point. If I’m lucky, I will win a Grammy.”


What’s your personal affirmation or a quote/scripture that keeps you going?

If you wanna be somebody, if you wanna go somewhere. You better wake up and pay attention.”

Sister Act 2 , 1993


About Brandon Markell Holmes

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Brandon Markell Holmes is a talented singer, actor, writer, multi-media artist. Brandon is a formally trained theatre actor who curates common ground in creative storytelling and abstract exposition. His work themes are reflective of social observations and the symbiotic relationship between art & history. Brandon’s premiere works include a visual EP entitled, Inertia, featured on Afropunk, Art’s Incubator with The University of Chicago in conjunction with OpenTV Beta at North Western University. In 2017, Brandon collaborated with the international recording artist ‘Gorillaz’ on their 2017 Grammy nominated album, Humanz. Brandon’s song-writing has achieved acclaim after “You Won’t,” produced by Bobby Wooten and Andre Danek, was picked up for FOX’s Empire, season 4, episode 5. In February 2019, Brandon released his self composed & written debut album, “ The Museum Of R&B.”

Website: https://brandonmarkell.com/

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