Honey – Brayden Alexander (Interview + New Album)
As the world becomes attuned to the extraordinary R&B/Soul superstars that Canada has to offer, Toronto’s Brayden Alexander leads the next generation of the genre’s talent with his debut record, Honey, and the album’s first single “Queen”, which is accompanied by a beautifully neon tinged music video. Incorporating alternative R&B with a deeply introspective rap style, Alexander employs his falsetto to stunning effect, while his poetically thoughtful lyrical flow dominates, breathing a new vibrancy into the genre. We had the opportunity to ask Brayden a few questions about the new album and music video, leaving a corporate job to pursue music, his thoughts on the music scene post-pandemic, his favourite Canadian artists, what he’s got coming up next and more! Click below to listen to Honey and keep scrolling for our interview with Brayden!
You recently released your debut album “Honey”, what has the reaction been so far?
Amazing. The community has been super supportive of my decision to create music. We managed to do ~250,000 streams in the opening month, which had me absolutely shell shocked. I couldn’t have asked for a better reaction. I guess when you put stuff to the universe, it gives it back.
How/where did you record the 14 track album?
All of my music is recorded at my sound engineer/producer’s home studio in Scarborough. I went away for a few months. Told him I’d come back with an album. I came back two months later with 16 tracks. We recorded all of them in two weeks. That was that.
The album includes a trilogy of songs that tie into the same theme, “Queen” “Paradise” and “Karma”. Can you tell us about the inspiration behind these tracks?
A woman of course. A beautiful, alive, electric one!! She was amazing, the songs tell our story from start to finish. First words to hindsight. All of my songs are about something or someone, she must have been quite influential and important to me during this time in my life. I still think about her, I’ll never know if she thinks about me.
What sets you and your music apart from other artists in the game right now?
I would say I’m completely non-conforming, in the sense that I gravitate to whatever type of music, or topic I naturally arrive at. Because of this, you’ll find my music ever-changing and I hope captivating long-term. I may make a pop song, then fly into a hip hop track, followed up by acoustic. I don’t care about being a genre, or having a specific sound or specific message, I just want to make music that’s true to me. I think this is more realistic. Maybe that will make me more relatable.
Some of the tracks on the album, including the effortlessly catchy chorus of “Karma,” “Gold” and the minimalist soundscape that anchors “Adidas,” were each written in under 10 minutes. Can you elaborate on that and your writing process?
Almost always I write by hearing a beat first. I usually sit on a mound of raw beats, flipping through until one evokes an emotion or story in my head. When I can really feel that emotion or see that story, the songs can literally fly out of me. That’s exactly what happened with Karma, Gold & Adidas. You could say they were streams of consciousness, like a freestyle. I think you can really hear that in Karma.
You had success at a corporate job before taking a full on dive into music, what made you make this decision? And do you have any advice for other artists looking to make the same move?
I wasn’t happy and I like to think I’m good at being honest with myself. I was asked one day by a coach, why I was so sad, and the answer was, I didn’t love what I did. She asked me what I was going to do. I quit two days later. It was scary. Leaving a high paying corporate job to go after something I’d never even tried before. It made me have to really face a lot of things. I fought my ego big time, definitely faced a few demons in the process, and I’m so happy now. It’s not easy, but atleast I love what I do. People see that in me. They tell me all the time. I like to think the universe favours the bold. Be bold. I don’t know about you but I also tend to be attracted to and favour the bold, the alive, the passionate. Hop in the crucible!
You were splitting your time between Toronto and Vancouver, could you tell us about the differences you’ve seen in the music scenes between the two cities?
I found the music scene in Vancouver to be rype with a lot of EDM, limited Hip Hop, it could have also been the people I was hanging out with… at the end of the day, I didn’t feel Vancouver embraced diversity in music, sound, style, fashion… essentially everything, it kinda felt like one flavour. I was supposed to live in Vancouver for a year… I ended up splitting my time and never went back! I think that says a lot about it for me. The friendships I made there… priceless, but I’d rather hangout with them in Toronto or other parts of the world. TO gets to me on a whole other level. It’s far more flavourful and connected.
Along with the new album, you released a neon tinged video for your song “Queen”. How was the experience of shooting the video? Do you have any good behind the scenes stories?
It was epic. I loved it, and I can’t wait to work with that team again. Well… probably the only totally not funny story was the drunk people just having the worst time accepting we were filming a music video. We’re walking up and down King street and people are just not having it.. talk about dramatic. The funny part though… as soon as we crossed the street… we were non-existent. I didn’t realise just how nearsighted you become when you’re hammered. You literally disappear moving 5 meters away. Talk about idiots.
How long have you been singing? What did you have to do to get your voice to sound as incredible as it does now?
Well that is the kindest compliment to ask me how I got my voice to sound incredible. THANK YOU! I tried singing about a year and a half ago for the first time since I was maybe 6? So anything after that was just whatever naturally came out of me. I am excited to say that I have been taking lessons as of a month ago, and I’m STOKED to show the world what I really have on these next albums coming out.
Who are some of your favourite Canadian artists right now?
I feel so simple… but I seriously draw so much inspiration from Drake, The Weeknd, and PARTYNEXTDOOR. I went through a serious Tory Lanez phase for the last year or so, but that seems to be over. Outside of this I have to admit, I’m so bad at knowing who I’m listening to. I literally add music haphazardly and have it running on shuffle all the time. One of my favourite Canadian artists I found this way is Alexandra Stréliski. She’s a female pianist and she tells the most beautiful stories on piano.
Covid 19 has made the future of the music industry in Canada hard to predict, but how do you think things are going look when this is all said and done?
Get your party pants ready. I think the world is going to EXPLODE with dance, and music, and art. It’s going to be incredible. We’re all getting in touch with ourselves. I can’t wait to see everyone have the opportunity to express themselves.
Do you think that everything the world is going through right will affect your lyrics or sound going forward?
Definitely. I’ve been confined to my life, taking care of myself, developing good habits, building close relationships. I think everything moving forward will always be a direct causation of what we’ve been going through. Change is beautiful, I hope I’ve developed through this time.
What can fans expect coming next from Brayden Alexander?
Well I’m recording a double album right now and working on a third, I think the world can expect an absolute shit load of music. I’m super private, and I think as I get less private the world can expect to see more of my different sides as well. I don’t think you’ll expect where my music is going over the next year, and to be honest neither can I, so I’m excited.
To follow along with Brayden’s career and to find his upcoming music visit https://www.facebook.com/HoneyOnlyComesFromBees
Photo Credit: Dominique Van Olm