Interviews

Brandon Stewart talks judging music competition show SHINE, his music, and signing with AwesomnessTV.

Brandon Stewart is an Actor, Singer, and Producer. He is most well known for his time as a fan-favorite on American Idol Season 12. Inspired by his time on American Idol, Brandon was a celebrity judge for the second season of an online singing competition he co-produces with Awesomeness TV/Viacom called “Shine” that came out this Summer. I got to chat with this fantastic creative about his music, movies, and judging on ‘Shine.’

Stewart is from a small town in Kentucky. He quickly learned that starting his career wasn’t going to be easy. He only could find local karaoke competitions and national anthem gigs.” It was tough for me to grasp how complicated my career was going to be in the coming years. That’s because nobody was doing it where I’m from. Growing up there you’re pushed to pursue jobs like medical, education or engineering.” He decided to move to LA to pursue his dream. “The pacing is quicker, and there are opportunities in abundance as an entertainer. I don’t think my parents would have ever allowed me to pack up and move out here at 19 years old if I wasn’t so persistent.”

He started acting in the theater scene. His first professional play was ‘Grease’ when he was 12. “The Grease performances were special moments for me because it was my first opportunity, to not only sing for hundreds of people every night but to have an acting role. It was my first opportunity to step in front of a crowd and see if I had what it takes.

Stewart eventually went into music. He says that his love for music started in church but didn’t take off until his time on American Idol. He was on season 12. “My entire confidence level expanded to heights I never knew were possible. I didn’t make it to the finale or anything, but I made a pretty great run. The challenges they put us through and the drama we had to deal with day in and day out was enough to build tough skin. I’m fortunate for all of my experiences from that and further because you learn. Thankfully after that experience, doors opened up for me.

Stewart currently has two demo singles out and released a debut single in February entitled ‘War Zone.’ “The two singles I have of my own that are out right now are ballads. It wasn’t purposeful. They were just demos for my fans to see what sticks. Warzone, my newest single that released in February, performed really well and I was trying to prove to my team that I didn’t want to be like anybody else. I have my own sound that mixes Afro-pop and Neo-soul vibes. My upbeat records have a little more funk mixed in, but they all are me. It’s my style, and I didn’t want to change who I am as an artist to fit radio play. I don’t need that. ”

After his time on American Idol, he created his own music reality show titled ‘Shine.’ The second season started in early August. Since season 1 it has become the #1 most-watched online music competition show. According to Stewart, it began as a passion project.” It snowballed into this success that I wasn’t expecting so quickly. Shine is about teaching undiscovered gems how to write their own music, sing their own songs, and sell them to America. That’s how our voting process works, and that’s how our show gained such popularity in the first season.” The impressive part of the series is that instead of high profiled celebrities, the three judges, including Stewart, are three successful indie artist. It’s a different approach for a show like this but its the right approach. “Our show is authentic. What you see on camera is what you get. If you were on set with us that day, there’s no added drama and it’s all real.

E: What advice would you give singers coming on to the show? BS: “One no won’t change your life forever. It’s the one yes that could. One no just means it wasn’t right for today. It can all be intimidating but remember you’ve got what it takes. If you don’t, well I’ll tell you, and we can end it right there. But if you believe in yourself, don’t let nerves get the better of you. To practice, sing in front of family members, friends, classmates, co-workers, or whatever it may be, but get comfortable in your skin. Learn what makes you nervous and control that. Become comfortable while being uncomfortable. Everybody still gets butterflies in their stomach before a big opportunity, no matter what it is. Channel that into your music and remember a no doesn’t change anything in your life prior to walking into the room. So remember life will go on regardless. Don’t put so much pressure on yourself, take a deep breath, and sing. It is that simple.

During his career, he signed with content creation corporation, Awesomeness TV. A big opportunity for any creator. “They have helped me brand, taught me all I’ve needed to know about the digital market and guided me in making the best possible choices for me and all of our shows coming to Brandon TV.

In May 2018, he was given an amazing opportunity to showcase his acting chops again on the big screen. He was casted in the James Franco directed the film, ‘Future World.’ The movie was about a young boy that searched a future world wasteland for a rumored cure for his dying mother. It starred high profiled actors such as James Franco, Lucy Liu, Runner Willis, Method Man, and Snoop Dogg. “James Franco’s creativity is always in motion, and it’s inspiring. I’d be involved in just about anything he has going on. I first came on board as an extra, then later was given lines. That was thanks to one of the first casting directors to ever believe in me, Cynthia Huffman. We shot in the desert, and I was eating food dusted with dirt for over a week. It was worth every dusty burger if you ask me. ”

You can look forward to seeing Brandon a lot more towards the end of the year with all the projects he has coming. “My new film, Moondance, is set to come out this September. A post-apocalyptic thriller called, Drylands, a teen dramedy called, Crestmore, and so much more. To keep up with daily updates, follow me on my social media and check out more details on my website (www.officialbrandonstewart.com).

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Ella Audrey Rae

Ella is a twenty-four-year-old journalist and web designer. She enjoys designing and listening to the weeknd.

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