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INTERVIEW: Country artist Brandon Stansell

Hi there, welcome to VENTS! How have you been?

I’m great! And thank you for having me!

Can you talk to us more about your song “Top Shelf”?

Of course! I wrote this song with my good friend and long-time writing partner MYLEN – we have written quite a lot together over the years including my last single Hometown. There was no specific inspiration for the song initially – we were just throwing out ideas and finally landed on the hook, “it’s better for your health when you’re buying top shelf” an axiom that applies to everyone whether you’re drinking or dating.

Can you tell me about the inspiration behind the track “Hometown”?

Well there couldn’t be a song more different to Top Shelf than Hometown – it definitely has some weight to it. I wrote Hometown about what it was like be gay and being from the South. I wanted to share my experience because despite having gone through a pretty tough “coming out,” I felt thankful for the things I went through. My Hometown, and what I experienced in that place, shaped the person I am today – and that is someone I’m really proud of.

How was the recording and writing process?

There is really nothing like writing music – you start with nothing and then a few hours later you have a song. The process of creating has it challenges but the end result is worth every hurdle. I have written with MYLEN a lot over the years but this was the first time he ever played the role of producer on a project of mine and it was a dream. He is as talented a producer as he is a writer so he was instrumental in making this song as good as it is.

What role does Nashville play in your music?

I left Nashville shortly after coming out because I didn’t feel like there was a place for me – musically or socially. That has definitely changed over the years, but it took leaving Nashville to find myself and find my sound. So now I spend a lot of time traveling back and forth from my home in LA to Tennessee because let’s face it, Nashville is a pretty great place! And the music coming out of that town has been the soundtrack to my life and my greatest source of inspiration.

What aspect of your life/lives did you get to explore on your LP Slow Down?

Well, with a full length album there is room to talk about a lot – so I did! I wrote about love found and love lost (mostly love lost, haha)! I tell people all the time, “if I hadn’t gotten dumped so many times, I don’t think I’d have anything to write about!” Obviously I have written about my coming out experience and the effect that had on me.

But I think the common thread is the fact I am queer artist writing authentically about my life experiences – and I think that is important. Representation is important. I know a lot queer people who love Country Music but have never seen themselves reflected in it. I am so happy to be a part of changing that.

Where else did you find the inspiration for the songs and lyrics?

I have philosophy – write what you know! So most everything I write I have lived in some way. It’s been my experience the more personal a song is, the more people seem to relate.

Any plans to hit the road?

I have a few spot dates from now until the end of then year, but I’m primarily focused on writing for a new three-song EP due out early 2020. I think I am writing some of the best music I have ever written, so I’m excited about the new release.

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About RJ Frometa

Head Honcho, Editor in Chief and writer here on VENTS. I don't like walking on the beach, but I love playing the guitar and geeking out about music. I am also a movie maniac and 6 hours sleeper.

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