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Interview: Bren Joy Talks About Upcoming Tour Opening for Pink Sweat$ + Leaning into “What Feels Right” on New Music

Bren Joy has such a unique voice, and his artistry has no bounds. Genre is no limitation for him as he combines R&B, pop, and everything in between. It only makes sense, really, that he would be so good at making music when you consider that he grew up in Nashville. There is no denying his stylistic and vocal range. Combine that with his diversity in playing instruments and sharp songwriting skills, and he’s definitely one to watch.

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Bren Joy has such a unique voice, and his artistry has no bounds. Genre is no limitation for him as he combines R&B, pop, and everything in between. It only makes sense, really, that he would be so good at making music when you consider that he grew up in Nashville. There is no denying his stylistic and vocal range. Combine that with his diversity in playing instruments and sharp songwriting skills, and he’s definitely one to watch.

As Bren and I were getting our Zoom cameras and microphones set up, I immediately noticed the wall of vinyl records shelved behind where he was sitting. Behind him were albums like Awaken, My Love! by Childish Gambino, Ctrl by SZA, The Divine Feminine by Mac Miller, and Lemonade by Beyoncé. He told me that the wall was reserved for his best of the best albums of all time. He also mentioned that he really wants Channel Orange by Frank Ocean, but they’re currently going for $600-$700 on eBay!

Gearing up to open for Pink Sweat$ on his rapidly approaching Pink Moon Tour, Bren Joy and Pink Sweat$ have a history of working together as they collaborated on a song titled “Insecure.” I asked Bren why he wanted Pink on the song and what it was like to work with him:

“Pink is the best. I really wanted him specifically for this song because he has this incredible ability to make songs that people want to cover themselves. People want to sing his songs. People want to serenade people. When I originally wrote this song, I originally had a second verse for it, I went to him because he’s the only person I could see genuinely benefiting the song, making it beautiful, and keeping my vision at hand. He’s incredible. He’s the sweetest dude ever. He’s one of those people that you can feel really wants it and really has had an incredible journey and really deserves to be in the place he’s at. So I’m stoked he’s even having me and invited me on his tour.”

You might be surprised, as I was, that Bren Joy has only played about 11 shows in his career. Bonnaroo earlier this year would have been his first festival date, but it was unfortunately canceled for the second year in a row (in 2020 due to COVID and in 2021 after flooding from a hurricane). He has opened for huge artists like Megan Thee Stallion and Jhené Aiko, and next up is Pink Sweat$:

“I’m finally getting a chance to sing for people and it not be a one-off. I really get a chance to do unapologetically what I wanna do. It’s amazing. I’m freaking out a little bit in the best way!”

I asked if he could tease anything about his set and what it has been like taking charge on the creative direction of the show:

“I’m way too involved, but it’s musically such an impactful and impressive show. My team is amazing. My band is incredible. We got some shit up our sleeves!”

Twenties (Deluxe) was released in March 2021, but in music years, that was eons ago. Music fans are always ready for new music, so I told Bren that he was technically already overdue for a new project:

“It’s coming! I know! People have to realize that Twenties was the first songs I’ve ever written in my life.  It was so vulnerable for me that I went through a long period of overthinking and overanalyzing my music. I have demos on demos in my phone. But I’m finally at a place now where I think I feel confident in what I have to offer. People are gonna like it, people aren’t gonna like it. I’m excited for reactions regardless, good, bad, whatever. Because it helps me grow. But it’s coming.”

He remained tight-lipped about a potential new song’s imminent release, but you should definitely expect new music sooner rather than later:

“New song coming… I can’t announce it yet. But there’s maybe music in October. We’re doing new shit on tour. So much new music next year too. You know, it’s kinda hard for every artist to market when you can’t perform live, but now we’re finally (let me knock on some wood) but we’re finally at a place where we can do live shows!”

To that point, we talked about how it feels like the floodgates have been opened and artists are releasing more new music now than ever: “It’s funny because every New Music Friday is so packed. It’s overwhelming but in a good way. I’m excited.”

Like plenty of other artists out there, Bren calls Nashville, Tennessee home, but what makes him unique is the fact that he was actually born and raised in Music City. I asked him what it was like growing up in city with music running through its veins:

“It teaches you a lot. Every single corner has music. It really just humbles you. I feel like LA is a very physically expressive city. Everyone expresses themselves in such an impactful way. You walk in, and everyone’s just like *gasp*. It’s so cool. Nashville is like that internally. A lot of people look the same, but everyone is an incredible writer, poet, musician. It would probably be harder to find someone that doesn’t play guitar than someone that does, which is kind of wild.”

Just because he’s from Nashville, don’t assume that his parents have a particularly music-oriented background or have deep musical roots themselves:

“Both my parents are finance people, which is crazy. My dad is definitely one of those dads that have like 50,000 jobs. He’s an umpire, he’s an analyst, he has a basketball team, he sells designer clothing, he does everything! But they’ve been here [in Nashville] all their lives.”

Hearing what music that artists are listening to is always a really eye-opening (well, I guess ear-opening) thing to hear, and it never fails to introduce me to new artitsts, so I had to ask Bren Joy which artists he’s listening to lately:

“Right now, a lot of Omar Apollo. A lot of Syd, like really old Internet stuff I’m really on right now. I’m listening to kind of everything. My phone is always full of random singer-songwriters or random bands or random R&B artists, so it’s all over the place. Omar Apollo is someone I’ve been blasting recently, and I’ve been really loving his stuff. Xavier Omär. Crazy, crazy artist. I discovered him like a month, two months, three months ago, and everything he makes, I was just in awe. Like, you’re crazy. I’m big on his shit too.”

There are influences coming from every direction, and there are opportunities to write with people all over the world. I asked Bren how this has enabled him to work with new people and inspired his upcoming work:

“I’ve been to LA quite a bit. I’ve been writing with a lot of people. People in the UK. It’s been all over. This new music and everything is some of the first stuff I’ve done with people outside my crew. It’s really exciting just building new relationships and friendships. You definitely will hear a lot of LA sounds. I’m so inspired by California and that field, so that’s big inspo for the music I’m about to release.”

For the new music he has on the way, Bren Joy really leaned into “what feels right”:

“I’m honing into my craft a little bit more. You’re always gonna hear that R&B in there. You’re always gonna hear that influence. That’s never gonna leave me. I don’t wanna give away too much, but there’s some exciting, exciting music that I think people will really enjoy and not expect.”

Catch Bren Joy when he opens for Pink Sweat$ on the Pink Moon Tour, and stay tuned for his new music coming soon! Follow him on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook to stay up to date.

3 replies on “Interview: Bren Joy Talks About Upcoming Tour Opening for Pink Sweat$ + Leaning into “What Feels Right” on New Music”

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