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Conversations with Brandon Cunningham

Today we’d like to introduce you to Brandon Cunningham.

Hi Brandon, can you start by introducing yourself? We’d love to learn more about how you got to where you are today?
I’ve always been a huge fan of all things music. It started with me being captivated by artists like Michael Jackson and Stevie Wonder and then picking up the trumpet when I was around nine years old. Both of my siblings played instruments but I was most drawn to what my brother played, which was the trumpet. I ended up joining the band in middle school where I was exposed to the world-renowned Marching “100” Band at Florida A&M University. My band director was an alum and my brother had just started attending FAMU. I was most impressed with the sound of the band and that’s when my middle school band director introduced me to the concept of arranging.

After high school, I attended FAMU and started out majoring in Business Administration. I learned quickly that while the program was outstanding, it wasn’t a good fit for me. My passion was music, so I ended up adjusting my degree program and double majored in Business Administration and the newly founded Music Industry program. While at FAMU, I served as section leader of the trumpet section, band president, and student arranger while studying under the legendary Lindsey B. Sarjeant; the man who is and was responsible for the band’s trademark sound. After graduating from FAMU, I returned home to West Palm Beach, Florida where I taught elementary school music and served as Assistant Director of Bands at my old high school alongside my mentor and former director.

After one year, I moved to Los Angeles to attend school at the University of Southern California where I majored in Music Education and earned my Master’s Degree. While there, I was fortunate enough to study under Tony Fox who was in his last year as the arranger of the USC Trojan Marching Band. From there, I taught high school band in Granada Hills before transitioning to full-time entrepreneurship with my arranging company. Aside from that, I’m also continuing my career as a musician, songwriter and producer.

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle free, but so far would you say the journey have been a fairly smooth road?
The most significant struggle I’ve had was finding my “why?” Beyond any specific career, what is it that I’m meant to do with my life? When I leave this place, I want to leave empty, knowing that I’ve received everything I was intended to receive and given everything that I was supposed to give to who I was supposed to give it to.

One of my best friends, who I met while in the band at FAMU, runs multiple, successful business and he recommended that I invest in a personal development course. It changed his life and he believed it would change mine. So I did (laughs). I’m currently taking a virtual course lead by pastor Dharius Daniels of Change Church in New Jersey. His teaching helped me discover that “why” which has in turn allowed for me to set boundaries and know what to say “no” to.

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
I’m currently managing my company on Brand Music Company, LLC which specializes is music arrangements for live performance. I’ve done work for over 50 groups throughout the world including Interscope Records, Universal Studios Japan and multiple school programs, including my alma mater, Florida A&M. In simple terms, I’ll take a song that exists and translate it for wind instruments to play it. I’ve also done film scoring for a number of independent films, including the award-winning film “Noise”, produced by Damn Write Originals, which was directed by FAMU alum Isaac Carter.

As a musician, I’ve had the honor of performing with artists like H.E.R., Y.G., and I was also a part of Beyoncé’s legendary Coachella performance.

I’m also currently the Musical Director for an independent artist by the name of Nick Lamar. I’m responsible for arranging and programming his live shows. Earlier this year, we released a song named “Stay” on all digital platforms. It was my first time writing and producing with Nick and so far it’s been well received and one of his highest streamed singles. We’re currently collaborating and Co-Executive Producing his next music project which will be released in the Spring of 2022. I’m really excited about it! He’s a pure vocalist and this project will showcase his vocals so that the world knows what I know: that his talent is undeniable.

Do you have recommendations for books, apps, blogs, etc?
Most of my reading and studying is either academic or spiritual. I’m currently reading Kent Kennan’s book on counterpoint which is helping me further develop my composition and arranging skills. I’m also taking a course through Electronic Creatives on using Ableton Live as a Musical Director to learn more effective techniques. I think it’s important to constantly study and revisit things to develop and refine your skillset. That’s one thing that Dharius Daniels emphasizes in his course. Will power is great but having the actual skills of your discipline is paramount.

Pricing:

  • Custom Arrangements $350+

Contact Info:


Image Credits
Monty Brinton

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