The Doc Project

The story of San Francisco's piano van busker

Six years ago Brandy lived in apartment in San Francisco and played a piano in a more typical piano-playing location. He was about to launch his passion project, but the unexpected loss of his girlfriend and muse sent him on a downward spiral in which he lost everything.
Listen to Mr Brandy perform his full song, The Beast 3:23
Listen to the full episode28:46

Mr Brandy lives in a van with his piano.

He supports himself by busking out of the van at various parking spots throughout San Francisco.

Life can be a struggle, but he's become part of the community and a fixture on the streets, captivating passersby with his deep, velvety voice and dark, cabaret-style music.

(Thomas Hornblower)

But life wasn't always this way.

Six years ago Brandy lived in apartment in San Francisco and played a piano in a more typical piano-playing location. He was about to launch his passion project, but the unexpected loss of his girlfriend and muse sent him on a downward spiral in which he lost everything.

He had to fight to put his life back together.

Producer Max Miller's graduate research thesis — about different uses of parking spaces — provided the initial interest for interviewing Brandy for his story.

(Thomas Hornblower)

Hear more from Mr Brandy on his Bandcamp page, and also on Instagram and Facebook.

Thanks to Emily Shaw and Fernando Hernandez for their help on the documentary.

This documentary aired as part of the April 25 broadcast. Listen to the full show →


 

About the producer

Max Miller
Max Miller is an American media producer and urbanist based out of New York City.

One of his recent radio documentaries tells the story of a fugitive who spent 31 years on the lam. Prior to producing radio, Max worked as a non-fiction television producer, making shows about food, fashion and travel. He also has worked as an urban planner.