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Check Out Garon Brett’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Garon Brett.  

Hi Garon, we’d love for you to start by introducing yourself.
A backflip. A backflip is what got me started on stage. I remember seeing a show with my family in Branson Missouri and the group, now our friends, the Haygoods were performing. I was 7 years old. We were living in Texas at the time and had come to Missouri for a family reunion. My parents and two siblings had been singing as a group around the Dallas area for a while, but I hadn’t really wanted to sing. Then I saw these guys do some gymnastics on the stage and thought “yo, I can do that.” So, my first performance was with my family for a Christmas event where we were singing with the Vocal Majority, a 150 Men’s barbershop choir. I came out on the last song and did a flip and got the crowd clapping along. Literally didn’t sing a note but that was my first stage experience. 

Fast forward a few years and through a series of events, my family ended up in Branson Missouri doing our own music variety show 6 days a week, April-December. That started in 1999. My family has performed there ever since. This Christmas marks the 23rd season. Kinda nuts, honestly. I remember moving there and having a hard time leaving my friends in Texas. I didn’t know what I was doing with music but naturally fell into singing and was pretty good at being on stage. I had the cute factor going for me at the time so audiences were pretty forgiving. Haha, the thing I wanted to do most though was play basketball. That’s all my brother and I really did. Our days mostly consisted of singing on stage with the family, school, church, and basketball. Followed in my brother’s footsteps in that regard. We’d be in our laundry room watching and practicing dribbling to Pete Maravich basketball videos. My dad was my coach for a lot of years. Had my sights set on playing college and even in the NBA. Music was just a thing my family did as our business. It wasn’t until my senior year that I started writing music. 

I had a crush on a girl and the guitar just felt like a natural place to go to express my feelings. I wrote a song for her and then another. I don’t remember exactly how it all happened but after that, a light just switched in my brain and I was like “oh, music. This thing we’ve doing as a family for years. I love it.” I turned down some opportunities to play basketball in college and started writing. Came out to BYU for a semester and was actually in a songwriting class with Dan Reynolds from Imagine Dragons. I remember he wrote a song about pajamas that was so dang good. I was pretty green with writing but luckily started writing with my good friends Doug Lowe and Kayli Lowe Juarez. I remember finishing a song called Billboard Girl with both of them and they said they were going to enter it into the NSAI Songwriting Competition. At that point, I had shipped out to Bogota Colombia for two years as a missionary for Jesus. I remember sitting in a little internet cafe in Las Colinas Colombia and got an email from Doug and Kayli saying that we had won! Doug sent me a picture of him holding a beautiful guitar, which was among the prizes we won. I got home over a year later and that guitar became a good friend to me. Her name is Hailey and she has seen all my ups and downs since 2012. She has been my therapist and guitar. Haha but seriously. 

After returning home I began writing music with my brother and friend, Aaron Space. We started a band/group called Prince Ivan. I also started performing with my family again. For the next three years, I worked doing our Brett shows as well as recording a record and doing concerts as Prince Ivan. Those shows were a blast. Over time, I realized that I had had a dream of doing my own solo career for a long time. I had so much going on with my family as well as with Prince Ivan that it kind of felt dumb to let go of what, from an outward perspective, was “the life.” I had the girl, I had the music, I had so much going for me. Something felt off though. I was battling major depression and anxiety and just the ups and downs of relationships and life. I didn’t know what to do and had this feeling that I needed to let go of everything in order to know what I could then pick up and hold onto. Sounds dramatic, I know, but it was a pretty dark and difficult time. The journey of finding my own identity and separating from what I’d known since I was 8 years old was struggle. 

I found myself writing and starting to create my own stuff, and then I applied for school at BYU again in the Commercial Music Program. It was a fresh start in many ways and allowed for me to start working through some of the mental struggles I was battling. My mom was a champ, along with my dad and whole family really, and helped me out of some dark spaces. Also, music, it was a little home that carried so much of what I was feeling, especially when I didn’t quite know what I was feeling or how to let myself feel it. Over time I started to find myself and my voice again. Started to finish new tunes and play them out. I kind of felt like I was working underground for a long time prior to 2019 and was getting ready to come out from an emotional hiding spot. My first release was a song Deja Vu that came out in 2019 just before winning Velour’s Battle of the Bands that December. Since then, I’ve been playing many shows, including an acoustic tour last summer with my artist homies Cayson Renshaw and Joseph Moore. I’ve gone back underground a little bit this year as I’ve been finishing new music slated to start releasing over the next couple months and into 2023. 

It’s so interesting looking back at the craziness and miracle it was that our family started performing together in Branson and how, without even realizing it, I was being raised in a little greenhouse of music. I’d get on stage singing covers with my family of some of the greats like Stevie Wonder, Earth Wind and Fire, The Carpenters, the Beach Boys, Frank Sinatra, Michael Jackson, James Taylor, Whitney Houston, Elvis, etc., etc. Without knowing it, I was being inundated with these melodies and lyrics that would shape my creative palette. I also remember my dad sitting at the piano when I was a kid. He would play Elton John or Dan Fogelberg or play while my mom sang. I also remember saving $400 for my first iPod. The one with the click wheel. I bought it and came home and found every cd in the house and put them on the iPod. It was really my first personal, just me, experience with music. I grabbed my dad’s nice Sony headphones and laid in bed until 3:30 am. I remember listening to The King’s Singers, Take 6, and Brian McKnight. Those artists are probably where my sense of harmony comes from. It was a revelation having my own music at my fingertips for the first time. The baseline going into the bridge on “One of the Ones Who Did” by Brian McKnight featuring Kirk Franklin shook me. I think that night changed my life. Even though my sights were on basketball, music was always just sitting there in the wings waiting for me to take her on a date and fall in love. Now I’m many years into that “relationship,” and we’ve seen a lot of ups and downs. Music has allowed me to see so much of this world and make sense of much of my inner world as well. I genuinely feel though, that I’m just at the beginning, it’s still a relatively new relationship, and I’m excited to see what other experiences we will get to have together. 

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall, and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I mentioned some of this in the previous question, but I’d say it has been the road I needed. A road full of twists and turns and steep hills and everything in between. Among many of the struggles, I think the hardest has been working through self-doubt and comparison. I remember, while I was writing with Prince Ivan, I felt this pressure to write the perfect tunes and stuff to compete at the highest level. It blocked me up so much. I’d cut down an idea before I even had it. My inner critic was working more hours a week than I was. It was pretty miserable. That still will happen from time to time and I have to slow down and really just let my inner child have a sense of play and exploration with the music. The books Big Magic and The Artist’s Way were so helpful in shifting my thoughts in order to find that playful self again. As I release myself from that comparison mentality or perfection mentality the music ends up being so much more real, honest, and just good. It also feels much more unique and true to me. I wouldn’t say it has been a smooth road, but I also don’t want to negate the many people that have made it smoother. My parents have always been so supportive and have believed in me more than I have at times. Same with my siblings. Also, venue owners like Corey Fox at Velour have been major aids in giving a space for artists to find their feet and start running. I am very blessed with a great group of creative friends/artists/musicians who push me and inspire me to create more honest and better music. God has also been pounding down doors for me even when I haven’t had the energy. Also, I don’t love the term “fans” cause I think we’re just homies but they have been blessing my life since day one and I can’t thank them enough. So yes, the struggles are real but I’ve found that community and not doing everything alone helps so much. 

Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
What do I do? Hmm, well what I aim to do is turn feelings into sounds, and then those sounds back into feelings. My medium for that is songwriting. I write and co-write for myself as a solo artist as well as for other artists. I’m a pop/soul singer/songwriter creating music that I hope moves people. When I say move, I really mean that in any sense of the word. The human experience is so multifaceted and in different moments we need to be moved in different ways. As a songwriter, I feel that too. Some things move me to cry while others move me to dance. So, I’ve just wanted to create the full spectrum of those experiences. A lot of my stuff is groove-based pop/soul music that just feels good while I’m also a sucker for the “overcast skies and heartbreaks” kind of music. I hope that my music reaches all those parts of the human experience. I want it to move your booty and your heart. 

What am I most proud of? Goodness, even though I’ve performed a lot of years, I still feel like a new student to music and have so much to learn and space to grow. Maybe I’m proud, or grateful, of that. I’m just proud and grateful to be in the arena making music and being able to play shows. So stoked for what is to come. 

Also, I love collaborating and writing with other writers for my project or for theirs. It’s one of the coolest feelings to sit in a room together and start writing a song and then record it and release it to the world. I guess I’m just grateful to be a part of a process where you start with “nothing,” and then this tangible thing is born and able to be listened to. Still blows my mind. 

What sets me apart? You know, as a writer, and because I have so many friends that are writers and artists, I realize that so much of music is just saying similar things in different ways. What makes it different is that it’s coming from a different person’s perspective based in a unique palette of personal experiences and ways of saying or singing something. So, what sets me apart is that it’s me, my perspective, and experience. Obviously, any artist could say that, and it would be true. I guess that’s what is beautiful about music. Someone asked me recently, “if you could sing and sound like any other artist, who would it be?” I considered different people and named a few but ultimately realized that if sounding like someone else would be at the expense of my personal voice being lost, that would stink. Not because my voice is the best, because I don’t live under that illusion at all, but because my voice is my voice and nobody else has it, and that is unique. Maybe I’m answering these questions too philosophically. If so, I apologize. I’ve just had to come to that self-acceptance and love with my voice, my writing, and myself, and that’s a prize I wouldn’t want to give away just to sound like or be like someone else. All this being said under the recognition and gratitude for those who have influenced me and from whom I’ve taken pieces of in order to assemble my artistic self. 

Are there any apps, books, podcasts, blogs, or other resources you think our readers should check out?
Oh man, things that help me do my best in life. Straight up, bless Steve Jobs and Apple for creating the iPhone and the Voice Memos App. I’d be up a creek without that bad boy. That app alone has captured all of my musings and song ideas for the last ten years. Also, just a good old fashion journal/notebook and a pen. Those would be the first things I take on an island with me. I already mentioned the book Big Magic. That one changed my life and my perspective about creating. I honestly need to read it again for a refresher. Also, The Artist’s Way was so helpful in pulling me out of not only a creative depression but quite literally mental depression. It was a revelation to me and just what I needed at that time. As much as I love self-help books, I often find that sometimes it just gets to be too much, and I just need good stories and those end up helping me as much or more. I’m a sucker for the Harry Potter series as well as The Chronicles of Narnia. Books like this give me hope and open me up to my sense of play and adventure and that always helps me create better. Or at least I tell myself that;) I also read The Alchemist again recently and that is just such a lovely book. The Word of God is also a consistent must for me. I’m just getting into the podcast world, so hopefully, I’ll have more to comment in future interviews about that, but I will say Song Exploder is pretty amazing. I just love hearing how an artist breaks down their songs and brings new life to some of my favorite tunes. 

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Image Credits

Justin Villalobos
Sara Reed
Alyssa Ladenburg
Alexa Jackman
Cayson Renshaw
Isaac Nugent

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