Randal Branham: “Simple” by Eileen Shapiro
The new release “Simple”, by the excited singer/songwriter, Randal Branham is anything but…. Focusing on fabulous piano melodies and melodic vocals, “Simple” is a 15 track alternative rock album in collaboration with Alberto Ochoa, and is a musical masterpiece reminiscent of songs by Elton John, and John Mayer.
With years of classical musical and vocals training, Randal is a flawlessly talented artist. His songs are a personal, thought-provoking, and identifiable journey into the human heart. He has performed for thousands at Orlando pride while on a float. He is the cocreator of the pride anthem, “Man to Man”, which outlines the struggle for universal equality and ends with the hope that love will ultimately bring acceptance”.
I shared questions and answers with Randal regarding his music and the new release which is set to become unveiled this fall. Check out his video, “Touching Down”, an awe inspiring tribute to love and planes and pilots….
I love “Touching Down”, what was your inspiration?
It’s a pretty personal reason. Touching Down was my answer to a conversation had between me and a pilot I was dating. When they fly trips w/airline and go away with 2-nights or more before return trip it was pondered that I wouldn’t be able to handle a relationship like that. My answer in the song is that I will wait for you and I can’t wait until I hear that roaring sound and your plane comes touching down. It’s a powerful song and a tribute to love. In the music video it’ is my tribute to pilots, planes and bringing people together.
How long have you been playing piano…omg…you’re amazing?
Thank you! Since first grade – well, sort of. My Mom knew I was interested in piano and let me start taking lessons, ’til my Dad found out and he made me quit, he wanted me to do athletics. I always played on the piano making stuff up even though I was untrained. Then I was able to take lessons again in the 9th grade; but soon after my Dad put a padlock on the piano to keep me off of it. But after 11th grade in high school I was able to play freely again. I’m sure that’s why my yearning to play is so strong, because I was kept from it for so long. My Dad is very proud of me now, and loves to hear me sing his favorite songs
What is in your mind when you write a song?
A lot of times it’s infatuation, an inner burning to show my fondness for someone, it’s kind of like my letter of fondness in “Wonderful,” “Dreams,” and Slow Dance.” I usually start with a line that can be repeated with melody variations. But if it isn’t infatuation, it can be a musical phrase I want to capitalize on, like in “Simple to Extreme” which is a break-up song and I wanted to use a percussive piano groove as the common thread running throughout.
Will you be touring in support of the album once it’s released?
Yes, I can do that at anytime as solo, but I have aspirations to tour with my band, and we’re working really hard and we have to start locally since we are Orlando-based and can’t afford to travel just yet.
What messages or message are you hoping to convey?
Love and Inspiration. “Man To Man” is a perfect example; one man’s love to his mate, no matter the obstacles and society’s judgment, love prevails and is made stronger. And that even if you’re the one judging, if you open your eyes you can find happiness in others’ love for each other.
Who were/are your musical influences?
As a kid my parents would listen to calypso and soft pop. But I fell in love with Paul Mauriat & his Orchestra in 6th grade, I’d save my money to buy all his albums. Then I segued into Elton John and his piano, and more mainstream 80s groups, and of course always loved dance music from disco & funk all the way to EDM. However I prefer to keep my own style more piano-based.
Is there a song on the album that was most challenging, or that you’re most proud of?
Yes, I have to thank my producer Alberto Ochoa for this. “Your Shining Love” is the one I wanted to have a different feel from the rest, it’s such a deep song dealing with loss and pushing yourself forward. We gave it a cinematic tilt, with some distortion-chords on the chorus and features a soaring guitar solo; and while it’s a departure, it feels right.
If you could have your ultimate stage fantasy what would you need to happen?
I fantasize you hear me playing but I’m not in view, then the piano and me come into view, both of us upside down traveling in the air singing and playing, and then me separating from the piano still in the air becoming upright and singing holding the mic, while the piano behind me slowly righted itself and came to it’s landing spot, like the first stage of an Orion rocket landing on it’s target landing spot. And then I fall so far down and out of sight, and somehow come up into sight behind the piano singing and make my way eventually back to the piano, all grounded. Um, was that your question??
Please include your social links and a cool picture of yourself, and please put your answers directly under the questions and not in word doc….thank you for your time!!
Photo credits: Chris Anderson. Album artwork credit: Carla Zancanaro