THE WHOLE PURPOSE OF ME WRITING THE SONG IS BEING ABLE TO PERFORM IT. WRITING THE SONG IS HALF THE BATTLE. MR: Do you feel more like you’re a writer first or a performer first? BR: It’s weird because in my career path I always looked at writing as artistry and I feel like for me, they’re both one. So I feel like when I write, the whole purpose of me writing the song is being able to perform it. Writing the song is half the battle. But being able to write the video treatment and perform it live goes hand in hand with the lighting, outfits, everything. It’s a marriage. So for me I think it’s 50/50—I’m 50% songwriter and 50% artist. When I’m in the studio, writing the song, I see the music video immediately and I have to write the treatment. It’s not like I just write the song and I’m like, “here we go!” I have to figure out the idea behind it. I see the forest for the trees and I think that’s what artists do.
MR: You’ve written a lot of songs for other people too, so when your songs are picked up by other artists that must be validating but at the same time, do you ever wish they had done something differently or that the music video looked another way for instance? BR: Absolutely. When I have given away songs in
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the past, I’ve never regretted giving a song away to anyone because every song has led me to where I am today, including “The Monster” or “Me, Myself, and I” with G-Eazy. I feel like everything was a step to get to where I am right now. Especially in the music business it’s important for me to be respected by my peers and after writing those records it was hard giving it away.
MR: I’m sure—it’s like a child in that way. BR: I’ve heard my version and then when you hear Rihanna singing “The Monster” or Selena Gomez doing a song you’re like, oh man, damn—I wish they would’ve done it like this but I’m like they’re artists and I really respect them so I want them to do that. I’m proud of giving those songs away because people have respected me for them and they’ve allowed me to do what I want with my artistry now so I’m really proud of those songs.
MR: Thank you for being here with us— the shoot looked fantastic. BR: I had such an incredible time! I found a rack and we were able to try on different things and throw things on it, so it was very fluid. The photographer, John Russo, was incredible. ■