We had the good fortune of connecting with Brandon Baumann and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brandon, what do you attribute your success to?
Success is relative. Success should always be individually defined. In the music business there’s a perceived notion of what is considered “successful”, with the obvious being large-scale touring, recognition, and mass music consumption. But the reality is, that this scale of success only happens to a very, very small percentage of those who pour themselves into their art. I learned early on at the start of my career, to embody some deep wisdom that a mentor gifted us. He had managed some notable acts in the 90’s and did some tremendous things. I vividly remember being out to dinner in the mid-2000’s, and he told myself and the band that, “it’s absolutely essential to set small, short-term, realistically achievable goals. That way, you can use each little victory as fuel to the next step.” This sound advice still resonates heavily with me, and is an important part of my mindset.
Have I achieved all I’ve set out to do? Not by a long shot. Am I successful in my pursuit? ABSOLUTELY. At a certain point, the reward has to be in the process of doing. In creating the art and putting it out into the world, I am able to be successful in my efforts. To still be in the game and not on the sidelines, fighting for what I love and doing something that brings me ultimate joy, is the reward. Singing and writing songs are forever engrained in my being. I would much rather continually pick myself back up after follies, evolve and continue the relentless pursuit, than to throw in the towel because things are sometimes shitty and don’t work out. Artists have a plague of comparing themselves to their peers and colleagues. Comparison is the thief of joy. Straight up! We are all individually unique and no two paths are the same. It’s that relentless tenacity of still doing exactly what I love to do after nearly 20 years of hard wrought sweat equity that keeps me going. Why in the world would I cede now?? I’m quite literally the best I’ve ever been in my entire life and have greatness to achieve.
Please tell us more about your art. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
What sets me apart? That’s an easy one — being me to the damn core! That’s the ultimate quest, right? To be in touch with what feels undeniably natural and embrace your own authentic self. Especially in the music biz, the opportunity to get caught up in everyone else’s path is absolutely everywhere. I can understand the idea of people chasing trends, or wanting to emulate the sound of another singer; but now having some perspective, I can whole heartedly endorse that that is not the way to go. Your voice, your perspective, your input, is like a fingerprint. Be unique by simply being you.
The journey I’ve been on is one of relentless pursuit and dedicated focus. I don’t say that in jest and don’t take it lightly. I started my first band at the age of 16, and fought tooth and nail to earn every single opportunity. We’ve toured the country, tasted the elation of selling out clubs all over Los Angeles, released half a dozen albums, rocked festival stages and licensing deals — we achieved in Diamond Lane what most people only dream of, and the importance of understanding and appreciating that is not lost on me. I’ve nearly 20 years of experience under my belt, in the business and behind the mic. I strive to always lead with gratitude, and am eternally thankful to be able to still make music after all this time. I’m still growing, still taking on new challenges and always a student of the game. In recent years I’ve been immersing myself into the world of voice acting, and I love it. Another way to use my voice and creative mind. It’s rewarding. At the end of the day I just want to provide value and actively contribute my unique perspective to the conversation and to the art form.
It’s strange to explain, but in all this, I feel like I’m merely the messenger. Creativity is this living, breathing thing that evolves over time. It’s our approach, mindset, and intention that have the most profound effect on the material.
What keeps me excited and charged up after all this time? Capturing the creative moments of inspiration and putting them in a tangible form for all time. It’s the singing, writing songs, and voice acting that are true passions and keep my fire ignited and momentum growing. Following up my debut solo album from last year, I’m releasing my first new single of 2021 in May. The track is called “None to Spare” and it’s definitely an evolutionary step forward for me. Thematically it’s about something that we’re all up against — time. My best songs have yet to be written and it’s all about the journey. We can do anything we want in this life, so as long as we control what we can and not let the periphery throw us off course. You only get one of these things called life, so make that shit count.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I’m just going to riff on this with a pre-pandemia notion in mind, because who knows how the city has been reshaped through this strange, strange time we all find ourselves in. So, if my best friend was visiting, of course the automatic goal would be to show them a grand time. This is an interesting proposition though, because Los Angeles, in general, has a wide variety of faces and levels. It all depends on what you’re looking for. Ultimately though, if it was all my way, it’d be an intersection of all the worlds.
Guaranteed we’re going to throw down at the Viper Room. No question. There’s always quality acts gracing the stage, but it’s more than that. It’s about the people. The first time I ever played the Viper Room in April of ’09, I instantaneously knew, this was the spot, based on how they took a gamble on some young hell raisers who sold the place out and made friends for life. Shout out to Rita & Tommy, always holding it down! So we can count the Viper as a big night out. We’d have to grab a tasty burrito from either Dos Burritos on Sunset or Cactus Taqueria on Vine.
Then there’s GOT to be some coastal exposure. Some of the most beautiful beaches and hidden gems await, just a few miles west. Usually hours of traffic, but it’s part of the charm, I suppose. Hermosa Beach has some amazing access and vibes. Spots like The Underground and The Fox & Farrow are great for a good time, and were both recently redesigned by my uber talented friend Sage Gracie Allard. The aesthetic is on point and I always look forward to grabbing a frosty brew and soaking up the majesty. Up north a few miles, grabbing a slice in Venice and then biking up the path into Malibu is mandatory. Beautiful and breezy, living easy by the beach. For the ultimate contrast – Perch in DTLA is a fantastic rooftop spot, perfect to take in the view of downtown, being surrounded by iron giants with some tasty refreshments. A unique experience for certain and perfect place for a night cap.
I used to do most of my recording at a studio north of Glendale in the sleepy town Montrose, and later lived there for a few years. On this side of town, we’d get a ridiculously delicious burger from Grill ‘Em All in Alhambra, cheesesteak from Boo’s in Silverlake, or a pizza from Dino’s in Burbank. We’d then find our way down the quiet streets of Montrose, where all the other establishments close at 9:00, to the only place playing music on the street: Avignone’s. It’s a hidden gem.
After living in Los Angeles for 12 years, the experiences are vast and varied. All shades and everything in between. Things have definitely changed since 2009, but evolution is mandatory in all aspects. What a strange beautiful trip this area provides.
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Without a doubt there are plenty of people who have been kind along my journey — wise mentors, inspiring artists, those who offer unconditional support and encouragement — these are in itself major and important components. Sometimes they kick up that extra spark to keep pushing and weather whatever storms enter the frame.
I could rattle off a few specific names of confidants and mentors, but most certainly and in full candid transparency, it’s been my resiliency and self-belief that has gotten me to where I am today. It’s easy to count on a legion of supporters when it’s all roses, but what about during times of struggle and adversity? We can all knock it out of the park when the stars align and we feel great, but what about the days when we don’t feel up to task? What then? It’s the decisions we make and the attitude we embody when we DON’T feel up to it, that not only define our character, but define our entire path. This is where the separation happens and starts to distinguish the committed from the opportunistic. The lifers from the hobbyists. Resiliency is essential. I’ve seen all makes and models come and go, but one person I can always count on, day in day out, is myself. We are in the driver seat of our own lives, and learning the nuance of when to hit the gas, when to brake, and when to swerve or straight up pull off the road and recalibrate, is the ultimate reward that keeps putting gas in the tank.
Other: Spotify: https://open.spotify.com/artist/3zx5iDb6mhPc42J1NARt0s?si=SIomsVr8RgarF-4m53AdsQ
Voice Acting: https://beta.castvoices.com/talent/BrandonB
David Ruelas, Louis Lane, Simile Photography