With almost nine million views on his YouTube channel, including his spectacular cover version Adele’s “Hello,“ out singer/songwriter Brandon Skeie (pronounced SHAY-AH) begins 2016 strong with his new single, “So Bad.” The track is a self-penned power ballad that puts Skeie’s impressive range and power on display across a soundscape of high-end, radio-ready production. The hooky pop-anthem was inspired by the breakup Skeie’s first love, and finds the handsome 22 year old in treacherous terrain still yearning for the one he shouldn’t:
I want you badly no matter what you do
I still love you madly with your every move
And I want you so bad
Queerty recently chatted with the charismatic crooner about his new single, his views on the kind of music he’s looking to make and more.
Queerty: Let’s talk about “So Bad.” I hear the song was inspired from a real life episode many of us can relate to?
Brandon Skeie: Basically, “So Bad” is based on a previous relationship of mine. It was actually my first love, which made it a little bit more interesting. I was deeply, deeply in love with this person, but around six, seven months into the relationship, it just became evident that love wasn’t enough.
We had many, many differences. We didn’t get along a lot of the time. It just created this feeling like, “Man, I just want you so bad all the time, but I can’t.” It’s just you falling so in love with somebody – or the idea of somebody. And then you really get to know them, your personalities clash, and then there’s nothing you can do. Except that feeling lingers. Wanting somebody so bad, but knowing it’s not the right time or the right place.
A lot of independent artists can lean towards smaller production or acoustic production. But “So Bad” is full-on, radio-ready, big production.
Well, thank you. Yeah, I’m just really into radio friendly music. I’m after a fully realized sound for myself, and I’m after that right away.
If I hear something, and I’ve had the production in mind already, I’m going to try my best to get it to that point right away instead of releasing things that I think could have been better.
I love the quality of your voice, but just as impressive is your vocal range. It’s off the hook. Have you always had this range?
Since I was really young, I did have a really strong upper register. Back in my high school days, I never really had a lower register. I had this idea that since people like my upper register, that’s where I should sing all the time. I never really started experimenting with my lower register until I was 20, 21, 22, and I was like, “Oh, you really don’t have to just sing high all the time for people to be interested.”
Checking out your YouTube channel, going from one music video to another, I came across one video where you share the story that you lost a hundred pounds! Did you have any sense of how empowering your story would be for other people?
You know what? In reality, I really didn’t think about that at first. The whole experience for me was: I was not a happy person for a while because I was not happy with my body. I was just ready to let go of the weight.
I didn’t really understand how many people were being inspired by it until I started receiving personal messages from people saying, “Hey, I’m down 10 pounds because of you. You’re really motivating,” “Hey, I’m down 20 pounds,” “Hey, I’m down 30 pounds.” It wasn’t until that point where I was like, “Oh my gosh. This is not just inspiring myself in seeing my transformation, but other people are getting inspired as well.”
Do you think being openly gay impacts a young artist’s career at this point? Obviously, Sam Smith and Adam Lambert don’t seem to be having a problem with it.
I have considered the question, “Is being openly gay going to affect my career?” Ultimately, I came to the decision: I really don’t care. I have to be who I am. I can’t be anyone else, and I’m not interested in hiding.
At this point, it hasn’t really affected my career. It’s been really good. We’ll see as time goes on, but if it does, I mean, what can you say? To me, it doesn’t matter. That’s other peoples thing. There’s nothing I can do about it. All I’m going to do is be exactly who I am, and advocate for the people I care about.
Do you feel a sense of responsibility in terms of being someone out there for young LGBT people to see?
I want to just be real. I want to be who I am. I want to show that you can be openly gay. You can be exactly who you are, and still be successful, and still be happy.