Artist to Watch: Brayton Bowman


Lauren Rhodes, Views Editor

You most definitely need to add Brayton Bowman to every single one of your playlists. He is a cool cat based out of New York City, cranking out soulful brassy and vibey hits out of Harlem. I was first introduced to him through this Acapella show called “Sing it On,” where the Nor’easters from Northeastern University performed his hit “Jaywalk.”

Brayton’s sound is unlike any I have ever heard and when asked to describe who/what he sounds like, he had this to say “I sound like myself. We can call it 90s R&B influenced electronic music if you want…but I make pop music. Just not the kind you’re used to.” I can listen to his music when I’m feeling happy, sad, or when I just need to be inspired. His music clearly has an electronic feel to it but it also draws influences from hip hop and the grittiness of New York. He is currently unsigned and constantly tweets about how music companies disregard him yet he is still ready to get his music out to the world. He is an independent artist who is openly gay and just a year ago SPIN magazine named him one of the five “artists to watch.”

Brayton Bowman’s other EP entitled The Update is chalk full of smooth, silky hits. It even features collaborations from MNEK, Tre Jean-Marie, Ryan Ashley and Donna Missal. He classifies this EP as “a bit of a musical progress report for itself, it’s a snapshot of what’s on my mind….” Brayton goes on to define “Skin Deep,” a song on the EP as his  “Tinder-ella lament. Skin Deep is about that moment you realize the only reason you’re dating someone is because of how you both look in your selfies and the two of you have absolutely nothing in common. It’s shallow and shitty but we all do it.”

If you hit him up on soundcloud, the first song on his page is called “What’s Really Good.” It starts with a voiceover of him in the recording booth stating “Hey Trey, all we want is receipts,” then you hear the scratch of a record. This song is such a head-bobbing banger and beautifully pairs his R&B vocals with synth-pop dance beats. It’s the perfect song to scream to your friends about. There may be those haters in your life who only care about showing off what luxurious material items they have. Bowman argues that their life really isn’t that great though, crooning out lyrics like, “Stop trying to be something you’re not.” The second song on his page is a mashup of Rihanna’s Work and NSYNC’s It’s Gonna Be Me, called “It’s Gonna Be Rih.” Now that might sound like those two songs don’t belong together, but Brayton has somehow managed to make them sound like they should never be separated. This hit should be blasted at a club because it’s so electric and full of motivation that a person would want to dance their butt off.

It should be noted that once I found this artist, I quickly spent hours, days even, listening to his songs over and over again because I wanted to learn the lyrics so I could sing along to them. The second song on his EP “The Update” is titled “Real” and starts low and slow with his superb vocals and takes off running about 40 seconds in. This song is a breakup tune where he stresses the importance of having a real tangible relationship to hold onto with lyrics like “You’re a beautiful disaster but I’m done with all the lies, you gotta be real” and “You bought my love and sold me back a dream.” Basically any song on the EP is okay to check out and since there are four songs on the EP there might not be a bevy to choose from but there sure is a lot of quality to choose from.

Many of the tunes have a deeply personal significance, too. “The Update” was a collaboration between Bowman and boyfriend MNEK (Uzo Emenike), a Grammy-nominated music producer and performer who has worked with the likes of Kylie Minogue and Madonna. Although he worked with his significant other, Brayton contends there is no “professional rivalry between the two of them.” Brayton continues, “he comes from the producing and writing standpoint, and I come from the strict artist standpoint, He found himself as an artist through the production and writing stuff, whereas I found myself as an artist, and then was like, ‘OK, how the [expletive] do I write songs? How do I make this stuff work?’ So we’re coming at the same exact thing, but from different worlds and different angles.”

“The biggest artistic responsibility that I hold to myself is just being honest,” Brayton Bowman stated. Ultimately, he states his vision is to make music that speaks to where he is right now, music that is honest and paints an accurate picture of what he sees. Bowman wants to make music that is worth feeling something over, which makes him someone worth adding to your playlists.