The first time I met Bry’N t he was rapping alongside my cast member Brentley in Season 2 of What’s The Function. Considered one of the first out gay rappers Bry’Nt grabbed the mic and it was as if he’s been doing this for decades. I wanted to sit and talk with him because in this industry it's hard work to have longevity. He transitioned from rapping to acting on the series Finding Me, to modeling in print as well as runway during NYFW.
R|A: Bry’Nt how old were you when you started rapping and who were your influences growing up?
Bry’Nt: I started rapping when I was around 11-years-old. In school, it seemed like everyone was rapping for fun, so I started to as well, and it felt natural to me. My musical influences came from a lot of east coast rappers -- DMX, Jay-Z, Mase, Mobb Deep, Notorious B.I.G. to name a few.
R|A: Now a lot of aspiring artist do not have the funds to make their EP’s or Demos. What was your first recording equipment like and do you remember the song you first recorded?
Bry’Nt: My mother bought me a stereo when I was a kid. It was built with a huge speaker, two cassette decks, and two mics, so you could record your vocals over an instrumental -- as a kid, that was my recording studio. I used that to record my first raps and hundreds of songs with a rap group I formed called 3rd Degree. I still own our final mixtape which is literally a cassette tape -- I'll probably never be able to hear it again! I remember our first song, but I don't believe it had a title, something along the lines of "No Stopping Us."
R|A: What made you transition into modeling and acting? When did that come about?
Bry’Nt: My mother might've been the catalyst for my transition into the fashion industry. Before I was born, she had been modeling herself. She introduced me to that world as a baby. I've always loved anything art-related and I was instantly intrigued by all the creative processes involved with fashion. I never thought I was good enough to be a model, however, in high school, a friend of mine convinced me to enter a model search hosted by Marc Ecko to be the face of his clothing line. Accompanied by my mother, I was the first male to arrive at the search, however, they didn't pick me in the end. Nonetheless, footage of me on the runway was used on the Ecko website, and that's when I started to believe in myself more. Shortly after that, I heard about a casting call for photographer Francois Rousseu's art exhibit and photography book called "The Atelier Project." I went to the casting and after he took several photographs of me, I was amazed at how he had captured me. I remember seeing the test shots and being in disbelief that it was me. He then hired me as one of the models for the project. From that moment forward, I took modeling seriously and fused it with my pursuit of music.
Acting is something I've done all my life. I starred in a school play when I was 9-years-old and from then on I always found my way into some form of performing arts.
R|A: What lessons/advice do you wish someone would have given you upon entering the industry?
Bry’Nt: I don't consider myself a part of the "industry" yet. I still feel like I'm on the margins of what it means to be in the industry. I do, however, wish someone would have told me not to be so omnipresent. Meaning, pick and choose wisely the projects you take on and attach yourself to and really question if they will help push your career forward or not. Doing too many things drains you creatively and sometimes they aren't needed.
R|A: What’s your ethnicity? You have a very interesting look.
Bry’Nt: Thank you! My ethnicity has always been a mystery to me. My family lineage has several missing links. In my mind, I've never been anything other than Black.
R|A: What advice do you give aspiring artist?
Bry’Nt: This may sound cliché, but WORK HARD! Practice will come in handy when you least expect it, and it is the only thing that helps you improve.
R|A: How do you keep yourself humble and honest in an industry filled with fabrications and users?
Bry’Nt: I guess my upbringing makes me humble and honest. I know how it feels to be at your lowest point and how quickly you can return there. It's the moment you get comfortable that your world can slip right from under you. I try to be aware of that. As far as honesty, being anything other than your true self will hinder more than help you in the long run. I always wanted to staple a good reputation in anything that I do.
R|A: Where else do you plan to go with your career?
Bry’Nt: I can't accurately answer that. I'm always full of ideas of what I would like to see happen. I try not to think too far ahead, otherwise I will lose my mind. But, hopefully, with art, I can secure a stable future -- whatever that means. However, I'm definitely anticipating the release of my album "Bry'Nt Park" this year.
R|A: How do you go about writing a song? I see so many people taking classes on songwriting, is it something you can learn or just a feeling?
Bry’Nt: To me, songwriting is like writing in your diary. I try to tell a story of an account, on certain songs, so that if you're just listening, you can imagine everything that I'm saying. There's also times, especially when writing raps, that I try to use outrageous metaphors, analogies, and similes (i.e. "punchlines") that are as descriptive as possible to make the listener think or react. I attribute much of my songwriting skills to English and Language Arts classes when I was growing up -- even though I was a terrible student. But, I basically just draw from my life and write it down to music.
R|A: What most important piece of advice would you say has helped you in life?
Bry’Nt: I have a bible verse tattooed on my arm that reads "Happy the man who is always on his guard, but he who hardens his heart will fall into evil." -Proverbs 28:14
My interpretation of this -- it's okay to be aware of or prepared for adversity but don't let it make you into a cold-hearted person.