Born to musician parents, Wilson, NC native Brandon Farmer is no stranger the arts. “I was always into music. My dad is a singer/guitarist, and my mom is a singer [as well]; so I pretty much grew up around music. None of my friends [were really into music early on in my life, so] playing [drums] for my church at the age of four was probably one of the groundbreaking moments that led to me taking music as seriously as I do now.”
By the time Brandon reached age seven, he began learning the piano and knew at that very moment that music was what he was made to do. As he grew older and entered middle school, his band teacher Ryan Robinson helped guide his appreciation for the art to a higher level by stretching his musical ability. He did this by putting young Brandon on the saxophone; despite the fact that his heart was with the drums. “I remember signing up for band [thinking it was going to be] an easy A, but little did I know that my teacher had other plans. [laughs] He said to me (after I felt embarrassed about not knowing how to play the sax well), “I’m willing to work with you as long as you’re willing to learn”. Those words carried me through [up to this very day. Mr.Robinson] instilled a drive in me that made me want more… not only out of music, but [out of] life.”
What was your first serious gig? My first serious (nonpaying) gig was playing saxophone with a gospel music group RDP (Radial Dynamic Praise). [The funny thing is] I’m actually in the process of acquiring a paying gig as we speak. [laughs]
After school, you followed your passion for music and found yourself moving to California. What has been the hugest difference between west coast living and the small town life you lived in North Carolina? The people are the biggest difference. Coming from a small town you’re in a mental box and you don’t [even] know it [most times]. You’re only allowed to think and accept what you’re taught. People on the West Coast are way more accepting [of new ideas]. On the flip side of all that, people from North Carolina are more disciplined [than those on the West Coast]; but [then again,] people in California have more of a “go getter” drive. [Since being over here, I’ve found that] California people will help you push for your dreams because possibilities are endless. [Many of the] people back home have never seen anything [out of the ordinary], and will condemn and discourage [what] they don’t understand.
What are some of the projects you’ve been a part of since moving to California? Do you have a signature style? [I am part of] the production company Zoe4Life or Z4L. We’ve worked with former freestyle battle rapper turned gospel rapper MC Jin – who is featured on our “Vision” album that’s now on iTunes. We [produced] some music videos for him [as well]. We’ve [also] worked with Latoya London, [who is a] former American Idol contestant. I actually had the opportunity to engineer one of her sessions [which is] much more in the making! As far as my style of producing, I’d say that [my style is] more R&B/Neo Soul; [but to be honest, in] this industry you have to [be able to] do everything from trap to country. So [right now, you can say that] I’m a blend of all that. [laughs] [What I really] look forward to doing is scoring films. I play with a lot of emotion [in my studio sessions] that would really translate well with movies.
Where do you see yourself in the next five years? By the end of 2014 I plan on being on tour with someone (I don’t know who…but someone. ps. let me know if anyone needs a drummer. haha). My main focus at the moment is [establishing] myself and putting myself around all the right people so I can get set up for my future. [I plan to now work on] making wise business moves, learning [all that I can], and growing spiritually.
If you weren’t pursuing music, what would you be doing? I would probably be a football player or a boxer. I always wanted to play/do it and I like to run and workout, so if that was my focus, I know I would beast it.
What are two pieces of advice you’d have for a young teens wanting to seriously pursue a life of music? [I’d have to say three things:] don’t give up, be honest with who you are, and stay true to what you want to become. No one is better than anyone else. Some people [have raw talent] and don’t have to work as hard for [what they have]; [but you have to remember that] talent never outweighs hard work! Work hard to see yourself successful. I love ya’ll.
Interview by: Jocelyn Drawhorn
Photos by: Tyler Thompson (Z4L Photography)