Formally known as Brandyn Burnette, R&B fusion LA artist EMAN8 released the music video for his latest track 'Inspired' Friday as an uplifting anthem of self celebration. With a horn filled fanfare that kicks off the song, it's hard not to feel good, as EMAN8 repeats in the song. The video features his mother and a lullaby she used to sing to him as a child which is heard during the bridge.
'Inspired' follows his first single 'Amen', both off of his upcoming self-titled debut album due out in late spring. He has written for a number of massive artists over the years including The Backstreet Boys and Bebe Rexha, but EMAN8 has begun taking the entire music making process into his own hands by writing, producing, and releasing music the way he wants to. I was fortunate enough to ask him a few questions about his journey in the music industry and what 'Inspired' means to himself and for his listeners.
You've just released your second single as EMAN8, "Inspired"; can you tell us what inspired the shift from Brandyn Burnette? How is the music different and what can fans expect in 2019?
I decided to start releasing my music as EMAN8 after connecting more with my Jamaican roots. My middle name is Emanate which means to come forth, and it's been passed down in my heritage. I've always loved the meaning, and I wanted to separate myself from the music a bit. I changed my last name to Burnette when I was eight back when my mom remarried my Dad O'Bryan. He was also an artist signed to Capitol Records back in the '80s.
The music I released as Brandyn Burnette was a lot more soulful singer/songwriter and the music I started creating as EMAN8 allowed me to detach myself and try out more of the styles and influences I liked growing up in St. Louis. I got inspired by music from the churches in the Midwest, which always had live musicians, soulful gospel type vocals, and a deep uplifting message.
How did you start off writing songs? Did the inclusion of music producing just seem like a natural shift?
I started writing songs to try and impress the girls I had crushes on. Then it turned into my therapy as I got older and I started going through adolescence. I was never the cool kid, but being able to play music and write songs gave me something different that not many people in my hometown could do. I've only been officially producing for 4 years now, but I guess it started at 13 when my Dad gave me his Yamaha PSR 8000 which had the ability to play other instruments using the piano.
You've written songs from some very notable artists, but working on your own material, do you approach the song writing/producing process differently?
I never really considered myself a songwriter for other artists. Early on, my songs were getting released by other artists simply because my record label didn't want to take the risk releasing them on me. Eventually, I started getting called in to write for others and I quickly realized through some trial and error that the best approach to every session is to collaborate openly but also utilize my perspective as an artist and my ability to be a storyteller to help unlock something the artist I'm working with is trying to say.
Who are your music inspirations? Is there a certain artist or group that influences you?
I was really influenced by early Kanye West, The Fugees, early Black Eyed Peas, Outkast & Andre 3000, Nelly, Eminem, Snoop Dogg, and Sublime. The '90s had a profound impact on the type of music I like to hear and make. J Dilla was one of my favorite producers and I really got heavy into more singer songwriters like John Mayer, Gavin Degraw, Jason Mraz, and Chris Martin as I got into my teens.
What do you want people to feel when they watch your music video for 'Inspired'? What sort of reaction do you aim for listeners to have?
I want people to watch 'Inspired' and imagine themselves in my shoes. It's unclear what exactly is happening in the video until the very end, but once it's revealed I think it invokes a pretty powerful emotional response that I'm excited for my listeners to discover. This video is a lot more authentic and raw, which was important as the second visual for the project. My goal is for people to realize that inspiration is a shared experience. We aspire to inspire. We often have no idea how our path affects others on their path.
Watch the music video for 'Inspired' below or follow the link here.
EMAN8 - INSPIRED (Official Music Video) www.youtube.com