'I hated life': How music turned things around for Brandon Watt
London pop artist's latest single is 'Can't Anymore'
Southwest Sounds is a weekly feature that profiles a southwestern Ontario artist and their new music. Listen for it Mondays on Afternoon Drive between 4:30 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. on CBC Radio One.
He'd likely be the first tell you that music can save your life.
After a traumatic childhood that included instances of bullying and self-harm, Brandon Watt says his early interest in music gave him something to live for.
Watt is a recent graduate of the Music Industry Arts program at Fanshawe College, and preparing to release his debut EP in the spring.
His latest single is 'Can't Anymore,' an anthemic pop song about loss. It was produced by Dan Brodbeck, the Juno-winning sound engineer and producer who also serves as coordinator of Fanshawe's MIA program.
How do you describe your music?
The way that I describe my music is uplifting, and also, realistic. I think it's important that my music connects with people. It's basically stories about what I've been through.
You're working with Dan Brodbeck. How would you describe what he's adding to your songs?
He's the one who made this song sound so amazing. A friend and I actually made the song first, and it just didn't sound right. So I remembered in class that Dan showed us a song that he did and I was blown away. I just knew right then that I've got to work with this guy. I have to.
I let him have full control over whatever he wanted to do. He kept it very close to what me and my friend had in the first place. It was just revamped, you know? It's like having pizza without any toppings - that's how the song was originally. And then you add cheese, you add pepperoni, just a little bit of spice and stuff like that. And that can change the way it tastes.
Juno award-winning 'pizza toppings.'
What are your goals with your career? How far in the future are you allowing yourself to see and dream?
I want to go as far as I possibly can. This might sound kind of sad, but I always hated life as a kid. Why? Well, because I had an interesting past. I was bullied. I was like the outcast. I never fit in. Believe it or not, at the age of seven, I actually tried to...you know, harm myself. I always just hated life because the things that I've been through.
But then I thought to myself, if I'm going to hate life so much, I might as well do something with it. If I'm thinking it's going to end, I might as well die trying to do something. So that gave me the push to want to go forward with such a crazy dream. I want to teach people to love life as much as I do now. It's so short. I'm afraid of dying and being like 'why didn't I try this?' I want to spend as much money on working toward something. I want to inspire people to do what they want to do, because life can be this beautiful thing. But it also could be a very negative thing if you allow it to be.
This interview has been edited and condensed. Have a listen to 'Can't Anymore' as part of Brandon Watt's Southwest Sounds profile: