Interview – Braille – The IV Edition
My name is Bryan "Braille" Winchester. I was born in Portland, OR and have also lived in New Jersey and Los Angeles. I've been rapping since before I had facial hair, and now I can grow a mustache of Tom Selleck proportions. I've been blessed with the opportunity to travel around the world sharing music and "The IV Edition" (my newest album) is my forth solo record. I'm also a married man (6 years!) and I have a baby girl named Gabriella. WORD
What is the story behind the making of the album? How did it all come about?
Right before my daughter was born, I started feeling a creative itch. Most of my energy had been spent running my record label Hiphop IS Music. One of my goals with the label has been to help artists create the "record of their dreams". To make records that truly express the contents of their heart. Not following trends, not copying other popular artists – but just making honest music without any false pretense. I've always been a fan of raw Hip-Hop with well crafted lyricism. You can call me an underground head or whatever, but I prefer raw beats and raw lyrics. So I built my home studio and decided to make this new record without any outside influence. No one else in the studio with me, no feedback from friends or industry heads. Just me, by myself – making honest music that sounds good to my ears. I spent over a year working on the record from my home studio and the only people who heard songs during the process were Ohmega Watts and Theory Hazit (while we were touring). I didn't start sharing songs with anyone else until they were fully mixed. Aside from the birth of my daughter, I also experienced the death of my father during the recording process of the record. The regular ups and downs of life were intensified through these situations, and I think that caused me to be very "intentional" with every lyric.
Why "The IV Edition" as the title?
This is my forth record and the title has four meanings. IV: is the roman numeral for the number 4. But I took those numbers and broke them down into letters as well. IV: (pronunciation [ahy-vee]) which is defined in medical terms as a device used for delivering solutions and medicines into the veins. The IV then became a metaphor related to bringing medicine into the veins of society for the various social illnesses. Simply broken down as – "water for the thirsty, food for the hungry and mercy for the sinner". I.V. also becomes an acronym to represent International Vision. As I've traveled around the world I've grown to really appreciate the wide variety of cultures, languages and nationalities that exist on this earth. It's not about "my block" or "my hood". I'm willing to travel to the ends of the earth to bring medicine where it's needed. Beyond any physical needs (which shouldn't be ignored) – this album is ultimately about prescribing Jesus as the healing solution for our sin nature. The wages of sin is death, we are all approaching the grave. Jesus is our redeemer and our healer – and I want to share that with the world in the unique way that God has gifted me to share it.
What do you want to accomplish with the new album?
First and foremost – my goal was to simply create a record that communicated my heart and also appealed to my own personal artistic palette. I'm a very critical listener – and before I became a follower of Christ, music was all I had in life. During my teen years, I was that kid walking through the halls with headphones on. I've never been the type to chase after fame, and I don't base my success on the level of fame I achieve. As an MC – I desire to speak to my community, to the culture I love and to the world I live in. Ten years ago, I would have never imagined being where I'm at right now. Sometimes I set small goals for myself – but for the most part I just try to be faithful over what I have in my life and allow God to show me what's next. The greatest accomplishments that have happened in my life weren't things I planned out. It's all been things that happened when I stepped out in faith and sought after God whole-heartedly.
Any special moments making the album?
The whole process was pretty sentimental and tedious. My house has two levels. The main living area is upstairs, which is where my wife and daughter spend most of their time. My home studio is downstairs, which is where I work and do my recordings. One day I was upstairs feeding my daughter breakfast. I started writing lyrics for a song called "Blessed Man" and ended up finishing and recording the song that same day. The feeling of writing lyrics in front of my daughter brought a special inspiration. I could never "clone" that moment, or imitate that feeling. I wrote this record during the process of living life. I wrote and recorded it in my own house. All my previous records, I had to book out studio time and record in different environments. With this album – I would be laying down vocals and then my wife would say "dinner is ready". haha. So I'd go eat dinner, maybe watch some TV and then get back to work.
What inspired you making this album?
I get inspired by everything. As a writer – everything I see, hear and experience inspires me. The music I write is inspired by life and filtered through my faith. What I mean by that is – I can get inspired by almost anything, but my convictions and faith shape the type of influence that things have on my music.
Any crazy or special memories during the recording process?
When people hear the song "Many Stories" they will experience one of my special memories from the recording process. I don't want to give to much away – but I finished writing half a song (one of the only songs not written in my home studio) and while I was driving home from the studio I got a call regarding my father. He ended up passing away that night – I drove strait from the studio to the hospital and I was the first person to arrive. It was completely unexpected. I wrote the second verse (from the same song I was writing that night) in honor of him, and kind of shared the whole situation exactly how it happened.
How do you feel touring this summer with the Vans Warped Tour?
I will be touring with my wife and my daughter for two and a half months strait. During the Warped tour – we will be joining Othello, his wife and his new born son. So it will be all six of us together in one van. We still haven't figured out exactly how we are going to make the schedule work, haha – but I'm excited about it. The Warped Tour is rough cause it's a lot of driving, and a lot of long days. It's really going to push our physical limits, but we all feel like the opportunity is worth it.
For fun, if you had to change music genre, what would it be?
I would love to compose scores for movies and stuff. If I wasn't writing rhymes – then I would love to learn how to compose music for orchestras to play. I would also love to learn how to play guitar and just sing some songs with nothing but an acoustic guitar.
Anything else you would like to share?
Thanks for taking time to read this. Anyone interested can check out my current tour dates at www.myspace.com/braillebrizzy. Thanks to everyone who is supporting this new record, I appreciate it tremendously and I hope the music is a blessing in return. Digital downloads are cool – but if your interested in getting this album then I would suggest getting the CD version with the full artwork. I share a lot of personal thoughts and notes about every song inside the 12 page booklet. Feel free to hit me up anytime with thoughts, feedback, encouragement or prayer requests. firstname.lastname@example.org