"We are writing a book called: "Keep Writing, Walking and Rocking". I am writing and my brother is doing the pictures. We hope to inspire people to follow their dreams."- Brandon Bailey Johnson.
This month's artists for Chuco Relic are the talented Brandon Bailey Johnson and Chance Bailey Johnson. Through fate, Chelsie Evaldi, owner of Chuco Relic, has been working with the boys for a while.
A few weeks ago I caught up with the child prodigies, Brandon Bailey Johnson, 15, and Chance Bailey Johnson, 11. For those that don't know, Brandon holds the Guinness World Record for "Youngest Professional Music Producer", which he achieved at twelve years old and he released his first album "My Journey" in 2015. Chance on the other hand, focuses on art and has been painting ever since he can remember. He has been involved in many art shows around the city, and has also taken part in a solo show at Chuco Relic.
The two brothers along with their sister, play as a classical trio at times displaying their music capacity beyond their years. As we sat at a round table at an El Paso Public Library with their mom and sister, I noticed how unified their family is. An undeniable thing between the two brothers is that they both inspire each other in every way, whether it's art or music related.
This interview will be cut up into two parts since both Brandon and Chance are Chuco Relic's artists of the month and they specialize in different areas. Beginning with Chance Bailey Johnson, this young artist has been painting for a few years, but already has a bright future ahead of him. He mentioned during the interview that he is very inspired by historic El Paso landmarks. "This city is inspiring to me. The Plaza is my favorite. It's old and back then, they had old films playing there and then they remodeled it. It's nice!"
I asked Chance if he liked anything about El Paso besides the landmarks since his love for them is evident in his artwork and he added that, "El Paso has it's ups and downs like the construction, but I love the giant Pistachio too." Chance is referring to the Pistachio statue a little outside of El Paso as if one were going towards Ruidoso.
Besides being inspired in "El Chuco", I asked Chance who his major art influences were and the first person he mentioned was Hal Marcus. "Hal Marcus is a major influence for me because he is always there for me. He bought my first painting. My second art influence is Joe Acosta because he gave me my first art supplies and he taught me how to use oils."
It's nice to see older generations of painters inspiring the younger generations like in Chance's case. Chance's personality is very colorful and so are his paintings. His collection of art this time around for Chuco Relic is a reflection of "Spring-colored El Paso" and it's called "My El Paso Spring Fling." I hope everyone has an opportunity to see Chance's art. It really is one-of-a-kind and he puts his heart into each one of the painting he does.
As mentioned before, Brandon Bailey Johnson already holds a Guinness World Record, he played at the Neon Desert Music Festival last year, and his seventh self-procuded album, HEAVEN, is now available for pre-order. Brandon told me that he wrote his first song at the age of eight and that he started playing guitar at six years old. He also told me the story of how he came to produce his first album. After he wrote his first song, his parents jokingly told him that he should just produce an album and after looking at the costs of producing an album, his parents helped him build a little studio.
Since then, Brandon has been producing and trying to release as much material as possible. He added that the material that he is more known for is his Prince tribute and that as a result he got invited to the Princeology concert in Los Angeles alongside other musicians this summer. He is also getting ready to do a big tour in June and part of that tour is the Prince concert in L.A. The rest of the date are located on his website.
As a follow up question, I asked Brandon what music means to him and he replied with, "It's natural. It's a part of me and it comes easy." He also mentioned that his musical influences include Prince, Slash, and Lenny Kravitz, but he added that his sound is different from that of his influences. When asked about his concept behind “HEAVEN”, Brandon said that, "it (heaven) is a state of mind. Chance designed the cover for it. It's a mixture between the pisces sign and an H. I did all the instruments on the album as well."
That is definitely not an easy task to take on at fifteen years old, yet Brandon manages to keep at it and pushes himself musically. As a result of his music production and wisdom beyond his years, Brandon has also done a TEDX talk in which he addressed music production and the art of collaboration. Not everyone can say they have done something like that before the age of fifteen!
As the interview reached an end, Brandon told me that he and Chance are writing a book. "We are writing a book called: "Keep Writing, Walking and Rocking". I am writing and my brother is doing the pictures. We hope to inspire people to follow their dreams."
I am pretty sure these two brothers will inspire many people. Besides being inspiring, the boy's mother added that she always tell her sons that the most important thing they can do is "to be responsible and give back with their time." She hopes her children continue having these principles. Every year Brandon hosts a benefit concert in which the proceeds are donated to a cause of choice. It really shows the values these two boys have and I hope people check out their work because it is wonderful and they are truly talented.
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