Wednesday, July 9, 2014

The LGTBQ Chronicles: Five Questions With Musician Brett Gleason

Brett Gleason by Doug Seymour 'Starry Night'
There is some mystique behind his deep voice and enchanting persona. His blue eyes and stage presence can mesmerize every individual that is on the audience; but his songs, his lyrics are what can catch many people attention to Brett Gleason.

Originally from Brooklyn, Gleason discovered his love for music at a young age; a speech impediment caused him to spend his free time involved with music and books. His style is eclectic, as he mixes between an electronic presence as well acoustic piano song.   

There is a complex individual beyond the stage, a sensitive artist that is in touch with his emotions, his own personal history and the history of the community; such, as growing up with bipolar disorder; coping up with his identity as a gay man, and a singer songwriter that is willing to defy every label and create his own. 

With his self-titled debut album, there is an image of a really promising indie artist; with a fresh musical proposal that reflects his own struggles and growth as a person and a musician. 

One of the nicest aspects about the internet, is that the users can find a wide array of interesting proposals; as well support independent musicians, that are trying to be known to a public that are eager for a new musical proposal; and what better way to see their work, such as Brett's around Youtube and finding their songs through iTunes as well other electronic media.

How you discovered that you wanted to follow a path in music.?

BG.  I grew up with a bad speech impediment so I got involved in solo activities at a young age, lots of sports and arts – I was a gymnast,a writer and played multiple instruments. As I grew older and began to experience more intense emotions, I started to employ these skills to help clarify and master my feelings. At 13 I started writing songs and knew this was going to be my life.

As I read on The Huffington Post, you were diagnosed with bipolar disorder when you were 19 years old, as well as the time you started to become sexually active. How have those experiences, molded you in the path to find your identity as a musician but as well as a person?

BG.  Being bipolar and gay have further solidified my status as an outsider which I think is useful for an artist.  It’s given me an opportunity to see things from a very different perspective as well as freed me to pursue my artistic pursuits.  I think I’d feel a lot more pressure to find a steady job, marry and have kids if I weren’t a gay man with a history of mental illness, as things stand I’m free to create my own divergent path and follow my own crazy dreams.

How do you describe your music.? Who where your influences.? And, what do you think about labels many people place over artists, such as avant-garde or queer.? Do you see yourself with or without any of these labels.

BG:  I create a kind of fusion of alt electro rock with a piano based singer/songwriter sensibility.  I grew up listening to large, epic rock groups like The Smashing Pumpkins and Nine Inch Nails but also solo artists like Tori Amos, Fiona Apple and Elliot Smith.  I like to write songs that can be translated both as a full rock band sound as well as solo with just me at the piano.  Like most labels, genres do more to exclude than to inform.  My goal is to reject them all.

How was the process of releasing your eponymous debut album.? Taking in consideration that sometimes people as well the industry markets the work towards more of the life and image of the artist, than the work itself.

BG: Making my debut record was a long process. I played all the instruments except for drums and produced all the songs myself. I did however do a Kickstarter campaign to help fund the record which brought some great people on board to inspire and motivate me along the way.  Using my name and face to represent the record make it a very personal process but also a very transparent one. My name, my face and music – those can all speak for themselves and they speak candidly.

What is your opinion toward the use of social media,  in order to position not only a product but the artist himself.?


BG: To be honest it’s hard to have a position on social media as I haven’t known any other way to connect with fans and release music. Whereas maybe ten years ago, recording a record was a really private process it’s now something that you live tweet, share early mixes from and document publicly on a daily basis.  I used to think this was a shame but now I see how you can use this as a way to not only get feedback along the way but to feel more connected throughout what can be a very isolating experience for a solo artist.


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