Would you like to introduce yourself?
Yooo, I’m Brian, a musician, model, and art director from Enfield, London.
What have been your challenges as a black man in London making alternative music?
I don't think people understand the correlation between the way I look and sound. The manifestation of my inspirations translates differently, meaning I feel like I'm swimming upstream most of the time. What I create already exists, but being from London, I don't know if people have the patience to accept me because of the current landscape of British music. But that just means when it works out, it'll be great because there aren't many who have my sound.
So you went to university, what was that like?
Man, going to university was such an eye-opener for me. Being there, doing things that I knew I didn't want to be doing for the next four years, really made me pursue the things I knew I loved. I studied illustration/animation. I wanted to make children's books or become a tattoo artist. I realized I could be doing these things by just going and doing them! The approval of a tutor ruined my confidence in the drawings I loved to do. Art is subjective; it made me realize that the validation of an organization means nothing if I hate it all. When it comes to art, you have to like what you do to feel fulfilled, right? So why did I find myself skipping uni to go to LA to make music? The answer was because I wasn't happy, which slowly ruined everything else in my life: my health, my habits, my confidence, all sorts. I still love the idea of making children's books and doing tattoos in my life, but doing it in a way that was making me so miserable made me value my happiness so much more. So I started spending time on what made me happy, which was music!
When did your modeling journey begin?
I started posting my art on the internet at age 16/17, and then I randomly got a message from this woman saying, "Hey, you should come to my house so I can take pictures of you for a magazine." In my head, I'm like, "Yeah right, whatever, that's sketchy." I showed my friend on the bus home from school, and she goes, "Nah, she's legit; go check her out." I said, "F*ck it, why not?" I went and ended up making some of my best friends at the shoot. Turns out it was a photographer called Ronan Mckenzie - look her up; she's amazing. And just like that, I'm in a magazine, and it went from there, lol.
What advice do you have for musicians/creatives who want to collaborate with brands?
I think you need to understand yourself a lot. Know what you like and don't like because I know a lot of people get lost in the attachment of the brand name as opposed to why it is what you do. Having a niche that makes you unique makes you more desirable. If a brand asks you to work, would you have the heart to turn it down if it doesn't serve your purpose? Figure that out first. Retaining your humanity when collaborating is important.Back to articles