I met recording artist, musician and writer Brett Gleason during a whimsical performance of Derek Bishop’s new album release at Bowery Electric. Gleason was playing in Derek’s band, an adorable mini piano matching his own adorable persona. I was drawn to his contagious smile and felt compelled to speak with him and celebrate his “happy” energy. I discovered that besides being an accomplished musician and songwriter, he is also a blogger for Huffington Post. He also revealed the fact that he is currently working on recording his second album
Brett will be performing at Brooklyn Pride on June 13 at the 9th Ave. stage at 1:30 p.m.
So what are you up to?
I’m still recording my new album, and I’m starting to do gigs again. I had taken some time off, because I had broken a pinky at my day job, so I was recording and trying to avoid playing piano, but now it is better. Next week I’m going to go to Philly for a gig, and then I’m going to play a set at Brooklyn Pride in early June.
Where and when will you be doing Brooklyn Pride?
I’m going to be playing the 9th Street stage at 1:30 p.m. It’s my first time playing any sort of Pride event. I think Brooklyn Pride is a special day.
Are there any new projects that you are working on?
I am really busy recording a new record.
Tell me a little bit about your new album.
I’m recording everything at home. I’ve turned my closet into a vocal booth. I have mic’d up all my amps, and I am pissing off all of my neighbors, all in the name of a great new record. It’s much quieter than my last one, much more intimate and much more vulnerable. I’m trying to strip away a lot of the production, and I’m trying to do a simple, raw and emotionally effective record, I hope.
Do you play all of the instruments on it?
I play all of the instruments on the record except for drums. Drums will be the one thing that I will go into the studio to record. Piano is my main instrument. I also play the guitar, I play the bass, I play some woodwinds, and I would really love to learn how to play the cello, but for now I will probably use some sort of electronic simulator.
Do you have a name for the album?
“Manifest,” that’s powerful.
Which is of course a working title; it could change at any moment. This record is more like a declaration, whereas the first record was more like an introduction. The first record I was still clearing my throat; this record is where I’m speaking out, if that makes sense.
I think it does.
I’m very proud of it, because in the first record I think my musical choices were more reactionary. It was based on insecurities and inabilities, where this record I have much more confidence in my songwriting and my singing.
So when did you decide to join the entertainment profession?
I knew that I had to write and perform music when I was 13. It was like an epiphany. I always felt these really strong emotions and didn’t know how to express them. I sort of saved them for myself and went to my room in private and turned them into music. I always thought that I had the strength to communicate the inexpressible. That’s my job, and that’s what I do.
Very profound answer. So which did you know first, that you wanted to be an entertainer or that you were gay?
That I wanted to be an entertainer. That’s a good question. Although, it’s easy to admit that you want to be a musician. I probably had inklings that I was gay around the same time. In a lot of ways, coming out being gay felt very similar to coming out as an artist, so pronouncing that I wanted to be an artist and that I wanted to make music was almost like the precursor to coming out and being gay. It was sort of like my way of declaring that my life was going to be different, and that I was going to follow my own path. Once I started on that path, coming out and being gay seemed a natural next step. Definitely music was first, but they both put me in a sub-genre and separated me from the average person.
Where can people find you?
BrettGleason.com is my website. I would really encourage people to check out my YouTube page. My channel is called BrettGleasonMusic.
Last question: You are a new addition to a crayon box. What color are you?