Music Q&A: Mo Brandis

The London singer-songwriter, whose new single Think has just been released, says he no longer over-thinks things and instead concentrates on having fun in the studio

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What informs your music and songwriting?
That’s different from song to song. I feel like all the different influences just pop up randomly, depending on what each song needs. The lyrics are always based on my own experiences. They can be inspired by a conversation I have with one of my co-writers or a friend, something I’ve read or watched, or it can be the music that inspires a lyric and reminds me of something that happened years ago.

How have you evolved as an artist over the years?
I’d say mainly by experimenting a lot in the studio, listening to lots of music and also taking time to just live and enjoy life. There were many “almost” releases, but I’ve actually only just started releasing music as a solo artist, so most of that evolution happened behind the scenes. I feel like I’ve had to get a lot of stuff out of my system first. I used to overthink everything a lot, always second guessing myself, and sometimes making it too much about perfection or musicianship instead of the song. Now I’m just having fun in the studio. Whatever feels good at the time makes the record and I try to release the songs I’m excited about as soon as possible.

What are you up to at the moment artistically?
I’m working on several new songs for another EP later this year and I’m preparing the release of two more singles before my next EP, 8, drops on 8 August. I’m also shooting a music video in a few weeks for one of the songs from this EP.

What’s on your rider?
Haha, I don’t actually have my own rider just yet, but as long as there’s water and one banana backstage, I’m good to go! Add espresso and fresh ginger tea to that, and I might hit high notes I didn’t even know I could hit.

What song do you wish you’d written?
Thriller by Michael Jackson, written by Rod Temperton. It’s just a masterpiece and of course one the most successful songs of all time, including a groundbreaking music video and performance. I also love the back story that it was first called Starlight, then 300 titles later Midnight Man, before it finally turned into the song we all know. It’s always been an inspiration for me to keep pushing myself and not settle for a lyric when it feels like there’s something better that I just haven’t found yet.

What’s your worst lyric?
“Free, I am free. What can I do, ‘cause I love you.” I was 10 years old and it was the first song I’d ever written. Maybe it’s not even my worst –the others are probably hidden in the back of my head by now. Even much later I wrote so many bad songs with lyrics that make me cringe now, and luckily they’ll never see the light of day. Goes to show, the only way to get better at anything is trial and error.

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