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Songtrust Spotlight: Brendan G.

Jersey-raised and Philadelphia-based Brendan G. (a.k.a. The Latchkey Kid) is a seasoned recording artist, lyricist, producer, engineer, and actor, with over a decade of skin in the game. Adaptable to all styles and genres, Brendan prides himself on his ability to bring out the best of prospective clients and has extensive knowledge in studio recording, live performance, stage presence, and breathing technique. As a young vocalist, he earned the highest audition score out of 300+ NJ Honors Jazz Choir members, statewide, in 2011. His performing resume includes a number of recognizable venues, such as The Prudential Center, The Trump Hotel AC, NJPAC, DROM in NYC, The Paper Box in Brooklyn, and Milkboy in Philadelphia. He has even performed with the Coro Nacional de Cuba (Cuban National Choir) in Havana. His collaborations include a diverse clientele of singer-songwriters, rappers, R&B vocalists, funk musicians, and more. He is a Studio-A Certified Audio Specialist at Rec Philly, and when he isn't creating music, he enjoys cooking, NBA basketball, and curating sustainable fashion.


WHAT OR WHO INSPIRED YOU TO GET INTO MUSIC?

I remember first gravitating towards music, in general, by playing Tony Hawk's Pro Skater 4, lol. It's the perfect video game soundtrack. I was probably 9 or 10 when I first heard Mass Appeal by Gang Starr and thought that it was the greatest song ever made. I delved deeper into the rock and rap worlds from that, which allowed me to branch out into the genres that inspired them as well (jazz, blues, international). I rapped a little bit in junior high for friends, and in high school, I became dedicated to stage acting where the music director suggested I also join the choir to help refine my voice. Singing started there; songwriting and personal expression came along that journey of self-discovery. Today I am essentially in a constant pursuit to fine-tune and evolve from all of those influences while keeping my unique voice and flair at the core.

HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR STYLE OF MUSIC AND PERFORMANCE? HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR PHILOSOPHY AND STYLE AS AN ARTIST?

At my core, I am hip-hop. Everything starts there, and I build upon that with my musical theater, jazz acapella, alternative rock, electronic, and R&B influences. I love doing the unexpected. It's common to hear me rap, sing, live loop, play a guitar solo, and have a dialogue with the audience all in one set. I am a storyteller whose methods of communication have no limits. My alias is "The Latchkey Kid," and it symbolizes my (and countless others') journey through music in having to learn how to do and execute a lot of these ideas by myself. Becoming self-sufficient in this industry, particularly when you first begin, is vital. I want people to hear that dedication and progress are apparent in the music. Allowing that frustration and solitude from the creative process translate into something beautiful and relatable.

WHAT DRIVES YOU TO CREATE, AND HOW DO YOU DEFINE SUCCESS FOR YOURSELF IN MUSIC?

I want to win. I want to continue to make people feel good as a result of enjoying my music, and that's all. It's an honor, and a responsibility, really, to be able to give people the same feelings that I feel when listening to my favorite songs/artists. It's therapeutic, it's calming; it's the ultimate mood stabilizer for me. So while I create for me, because this stuff just needs to get out, I also create knowing that it can help someone out there. I'll consider myself successful when I am able to sustain my and my family's life off of what I do with music, simple. (Maybe throw in a multi-city tour too, that'd be cool.)

THROUGHOUT YOUR CAREER, WHO HAS HELPED YOU THE MOST WITH DEVELOPMENT AND SUPPORT?

The mentors I've met throughout this journey, both in academia and throughout life in general. But as of late, I give a lot of credit to Rec Philly for giving young creatives the platform for education and collaboration. I've gotten many of my good business connections and performance opportunities through their network.

SOMETIMES BEING IN THIS BUSINESS CAN BE OVERWHELMING. DO YOU HAVE ANY TIPS FOR MAINTAINING PERSPECTIVE AND NOT SWEATING THE SMALL STUFF?

I try to stay as present as possible and show gratitude for what I have and who I can count on; embrace my blessings and my talents. Meditation is vital, as is physical exercise in general. In terms of the industry itself, I always remember not to take things so personally and see situations for what they truly are, rather than make assumptions. For instance, if a client backs out on our session last minute, I can decide to be mad at them, or I can decide to let it go and talk through the issue to find out the real reason why. I try my best not to lead with ego, and always remember that the music is what matters most, so any and all energy is meant to go towards that goal.

FOR SOME MUSIC CREATORS, THEIR CULTURE, RELIGION, OR COMMUNITY PLAYS A BIG PART IN HOW THEY DEFINE THEMSELVES MUSICALLY, WHILE FOR OTHERS, IT'S MORE ABOUT ESCAPING OR UNDERSTANDING THOSE EXPERIENCES RATHER THAN PAYING HOMAGE TO IT. HOW HAS YOUR UPBRINGING, COMMUNITY, AND/OR CULTURE INFLUENCED YOUR MUSIC OR STYLE, IF AT ALL, THROUGHOUT YOUR MUSICAL JOURNEY?

To be honest, I didn't feel like I fit in much with other Latinx people growing up, because I didn't know how to speak Spanish that well. I've since learned more throughout life and through lessons, though even now I'd say I'm only 60, 70% fluent. I feel like in some regard, I've been able to change the narrative, and embrace the fact that I'm still learning. It kind of helps fans in a similar space relate more to what I'm saying, and I think it's also a low-stakes introduction for non-speakers to learn a little bit of Spanish at a time, which allows them to enjoy the music even more. The response has been really good so far, and it definitely encourages me to keep learning not only the language, but more specifically about my Puerto Rican heritage.

DO YOU HAVE ANY ADVICE FOR YOUNG MUSICIANS JUST STARTING THEIR CAREERS, BASED ON WHAT YOU’VE EXPERIENCED?

Take it one day at a time and never get wrapped up in the comparison game. People will only show you their best qualities on social media because they want you to think they have everything figured out. The truth is, we are all flawed and are all dealing with things behind the curtain that we intentionally keep hidden for fear of ridicule, judgment, or embarrassment. Release on your own time, but remember to stay engaged with your fans. Generate content outside of just your music to show more of who you are and your other interests. And, once you get more and more fans, always always always stay loyal to those that were loyal to you in the beginning. It's easy to get wrapped up in new fans, but please do right by your day ones.

WHAT MOTTO, AFFIRMATION, OR QUOTE EMPOWERS, INSPIRES, OR MOTIVATES YOU?

"Hard work beats talent when talent doesn't work hard" is a good one I think about often. I also really like "So it goes." If you don't understand that one, I implore you to read Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut.

FOR FUN, IF YOU WERE STRANDED ON AN ISLAND AND COULD ONLY HAVE (3) ITEMS WITH YOU, WHAT WOULD YOU BRING?

Hmm.. something to filter salt out of ocean water, a fishing rod, and some sort of light/heat source, like a Zippo or a lantern. I know - typical. But I've done well so far avoiding deserted islands, and I plan to keep it that way lol.

WHAT DO YOU HAVE COMING UP NEXT?

I have an EP dropping this summer with a talented DJ/producer friend of mine that goes by the name of deadxbeat. We just dropped a single in late February called "cat's cradle" (available everywhere); the music video of which will be coming alongside the rest of the EP. We're suuuuper excited for everyone to hear this one! Gonna be my best jawn yet.

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