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The Brandon October interview - Brandon October: Starting something

2006-03-29 10:57

M-WEB: A year after Idols - ever feel like you should've won?
BRANDON (chuckles): always these Idols questions. No, I wasn't too phased that I didn't win. I had my own sort of game plan which was just perform as best as you can and even if you don't win they'd say that you should have. And that's exactly what happened. Everywhere we go know, it's like "you should have won, you should have won." It starts to get on my nerves actually! You know it's been a year trying to shed the Idols attachment. But Idols was what it was, a showcase - and now I've got an album out in my own capacity. It's not an Idols album - okay, one of the songs "Let's get Together" is one of the songs I did - but other than that it's a totally new album. It's a Brandon sound, not an Idols cover version or anything like that.

M-WEB: It must've been frustrating waiting so long for your album to come out?
Of course! I mean a year later, gee - I wanted to get out there and sing some new songs and not just the same... aargh! But I still have to do some of the Idols stuff because that's what people want... you know? I always need a challenge even in singing and when it gets to the 10th time you're doing a song, having to pretend that you're enjoying it... the novelty just wears off. In my own songs, when you're not copying what someone else did, that's the best thing.

M-WEB: Did you have any say in choosing the songs on your album?
BRANDON: I was involved, yes. How shall I say... to get the songs for the album took a lot of time. Obviously the biggest stars overseas always get the first take on whatever the publishers have. So that's why it took a bit longer. We wanted songs that suited my style if you can say. 'cos Dave (BMG) always thinks I'm... he wanted me to do... a whole Johnny Mathis vibe. And I said, Dave that's not gonna sell! (laughs) I mean who knows who Johnny Mathis is - very few people you know? And then we thought, okay let's broaden it a little bit and choose songs that are more "now" that the youngsters can also relate to and we've got quite a good mix on the album. There's some more light-hearted stuff and up-tempo-ish for a younger audience and older stuff, "Let's Stay Together" and "Sleepwalking" which are more sort of mature.

M-WEB: How much of a challenge was it working in the studio for the 1st time?
BRANDON: The studio wasn't difficult, what was difficult was getting into a comfort zone. The studio was fine, but getting used to (the producer) Rich - he didn't know what I could do, didn't know what I was capable of - you know whether "this guy" could even sing? Once I got used to it, after a while I just relaxed. Then he stopped giving advice, he said, "okay, I'm just going to loop this and you just carry on singing." And each take will be different.

M-WEB: Were there any moments where you thought, damn I could've done that song better?
I always think that. You know getting to one point is never good enough for me, I always think ... I always want to do something else with my voice, something else on stage. So I am always analysing whatever I do so I can go, "oh, that's what you like, okay I'll keep that in mind." What I do is if I perform a song live and get bored with it, I change it. So every time I do it, I will do it differently, sing a verse differently, leave out a chorus here, do something else - just to make it interesting for me. If I stop enjoying it then it's gonna show!

M-WEB: Any reason why the album is only just under 40 minutes long?
We didn't want to put songs on the album that you'd go "oh, it's that song, stop." You know you get albums like that where you skip tracks. We wanted it so that you can listen to the album completely, enjoy it and then start from the beginning again. Not like some albums where number 3 and 5 are nice, then number 7 is "oh, I hate that song". I mean, why waste time and money and energy on songs that nobody's going to want to listen to anyway?

He may have been the runner-up to teen pop pin-up Heinz at 2002's Idols, but when it came to undisputed X-factor appeal, Brandon October was many a reality TV talent search show addict's first choice. With the recent release of his debut album Temptation, the smooth soul man is back in the spotlight reminding South Africa audiences that he packs far more of a crossover pop punch than merely that trademark sexy wiggle.
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