By Aidai Chekirova, Madina Ashilova, and Arailym Aulbekova – Special to the Navarro County Gazette
Musician Brandi LM has been making music for over ten years, but she didn’t get as serious about it as an actual career until the last three years. To date, she has already released 16 official songs and seven music videos, which people can watch on popular music platforms – Apple Music, Amazon, Spotify, and YouTube.
On May 6, the singer released a new video for the song “Sleeping Alone,” and has already planned more than 100 performances for this year.
Brandi’s musical career began in Pennsylvania, when she, as a small child, studied at a music school, composed and sang her own songs. Later, she began working with producers, and gradually there was growth – she began to play the guitar and performed solo for several years. But she could not do only music all the time, she had to work.
From 2015 to 2017, Brandi worked in journalism. She has written for the LIVE group in YRK Magazine, YRK Creative, and Think Loud Entertainment. Only in 2017, she decided to create her own band in Pennsylvania.
In addition to playing the guitar, she learned to play the piano and flute. “I like to play solo, but when you do big shows, it’s good to play as a group. My group usually adjusts to me,” she says.
Brandi herself writes the words and music of her songs. Her inspiration draws from everyday life.
The songs are mostly about balance between studies, work and personal life, mental health, simple things that people want to understand.
“I sing about taking care of yourself, whether I want to do music, my passion, or do a job that will make me and my family happier. Such a battle to find balance. Many of the songs are sarcastic, some have dark, mental health overtones. I know a lot of people care about these things that bother me,” she shared.
In recent years, she managed to perform in many US states, especially in the eastern part of the country. She also gave a concert in Costa Rica. It was during the pandemic, and it did not end as the musician had planned.
“I was invited to perform, but they did not say that due to COVID we are not allowed to play live music,” she said. “And during my performance, the music was turned off by the police. Of course, if I had known about the ban, I would not have performed, but this is also an experience,” Brandi laughs.
But this is an isolated case, according to the singer, who added the pandemic had a good effect on her activities since there was a lot of time to record her own songs and produce them. Three clips were also filmed.
In addition, she increased her working hours at the Radha School of Music from her previous job there, in which she was primarily a substitute teacher for various subjects in the Austin area, something that built on the instructional skills she first gained in Pennsylvania.
In 2021, Brandi decided to move to Austin to continue her music career. To do this, she remotely assembled a new band in Austin, holding virtual auditions with them.
“I offered to be part of a team of people I met at the open mic and at a job in journalism where I worked for a while,” she said. By that point, she had saved up enough money and developed enough new material to move to Austin, so she felt comfortable and began to practice. “When I settled here, everything was already open [after the pandemic], which made me very happy,” the singer adds.
Now, she is the soloist and the main director of her band.
“Obviously, I try to involve other people in managing, booking and promoting because it makes it easier for me to focus on the music,” she said. “But it is not always possible, since my participation is needed in many ways, in particular, creating content for TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. But I do it with pleasure,” she said.
In addition, social networks are the main platform for communicating with her audience, which mainly comprises twentysomethings. Many social media followers come to the show to interact in person and listen to the songs.
The year she has spent in Austin, she says, there has been an increase in musicians moving here, with many of them coming from New York, Los Angeles and Seattle. Because of this, it is difficult to raise performance fees.
“If you don’t cut prices, another musician will offer better terms,” she said. “And it’s a lot of stress.”
At the same time, Brandi tries not to underestimate the cost of her performances, and now also DJs two days a week.
In her free time, Brandi enjoys being outdoors, walking, swimming, hiking, skateboarding, reading, and writing for fun. Sometimes she spends time with friends, going out together to listen to the music of other musicians. When possible, she visits her home in Pennsylvania and travels to other countries.
Brandi listens to the music of such artists as Johnny Cash, Kesha, and Miley Cyrus, as well as rap.
“I mainly listen to foreign music,” she said. “I like pop music with dark overtones. Many people compare me to singer Stevie Nicks because I have a husky voice. But my music is different – more alternative and softer than the 70s. But I think the comparison to singing would be very close to her,” she says.
This year, Brandi has more than 106 performances and concerts planned. Negotiations are also underway regarding performances at festivals and events, allowing her even more opportunities to expand her audience.
“Music is my dream,” she added. “I do what I love, and keep it alive!”
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This article was submitted for publication by students from the Central Asian Journalist-in-Residence Program.
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