“I’ve always wrote my own songs. It hasn’t always been a thing where I record them…”
Branjae started performing and recording her own material in 2008.
“Tulsa has a reputation as a cover market.”
Branjae lost her training wheels in a cover band where she practiced manipulating arrangements and used the opportunity to fine tune her original material with a live audience.
When asked about the power of owning your words in a live performance Branjae said,
“I definitely take it seriously. Its magic, I am up there manipulating energy. You can make people feel good, or you can make people feel like shit, with the energy you put out up there.”
“…Song writing is an experience. Sometimes (you) have an experience that hits you in the chest and I want to write about that (feeling). It’s a story that I want to tell…”
On what tip Branjae would give budding artist and writers Branjae advised being critical of your work from a different head space. Get it down on paper, she said “…be critical of yourself later, while editing.”
“Don’t be afraid to write something, quote unquote, bad.”
“Just do it. Don’t try, just do it. Let the initial creative part happen. Don’t overthink it, let it come to you. Don’t judge (the initial inspiration). We are artists and writers, we tend to be critical of ourselves. Don’t do it. Let it happen, you got to flow with it. We are just the vessels, the songs write themselves…let the universe flow through you.”
Branjae also mused on the continual learning process inter-meshed with her creative process. Recently Branjae has been calibrating the mood and perspectives she conveys in her songwriting and performance style.
What is the angle? What is the mood? What is the feel, what energy is she trying to convey? “…imagine what you feel like when you are telling a story.”
Branjae’s live performance is full of mood. The theatrics of the costumes, the choreography, and the acrobatics combined with the power of Branjae’s voice and words make for a sensually fulfilling show that is at once scripted and organic. The energy created on the stage with Branjae is unmatched.
In one of Branjae’s newest songs Green Monsters, a warning about giving in to our internal insecurities, her dance moves lurch and creep along with the melody allowing you to see and feel the discomfort she warns of.
Addicted; another one of Branjae’s yet to be recorded songs; was composed by Nathan Wright, band leader of Count Tutu. Branjae wrote the lyric. While performing Addicted Branjae comes out in a wrinkled trench coat with a cardboard sign that reads baggage claim around her neck. Branjae half staggers, half dances, while she takes you into the baggage laden mind of those struggling with addiction.
Always mindful of the movement her energy, Branjae has several shows on the horizon. Along with her exciting new single Streetlight, she is utilizing some time in the studio, and putting a heavier emphasis on her visual releases.
Branjae lit up when talking about her latest single, Streetlight, a song about the …”celebration you have for yourself when you leave a situation before it becomes bad.”. Streetlight is expected to include a visual release, as well as being released as a single.
While Branjae and her band mates have been working in the studio they have no plans to release a traditional album. Branjae is all about focusing on singles, allowing herself the space and time to fully create an experience that pays homage to the art forms of theatrics, music, and writing that make up her live shows.
A couple of the upcoming shows on the calendar for Branjae include a live recording session at the Woody Guthrie Center in September and a slot on the main stage at the Tulsa State Fair in October.
Branjae will be the only local artist, and the only female artist, participating on the main stage at the Tulsa State Fair in 2018.
Casey McLerran is the Literary Editor at the Black Wall Street Times. She is a Sooner State transplant from Forest Hills, NY. McLerran arrived in Oklahoma at the age of three shortly after gentrification displaced her and her family out of their home in New York. At first glance, many think they have McLerran figured out. To be frank, she’s a biracial American young woman that unapologetically embraces her half-African identity — a feminist-womanist she is. Her pen operates as her voice as well as her sword. Her accolades include the 2018 Rural Oklahoma Poetry Museum’s Oklahoma Poem Award, a business management degree, and her three beautiful children. Her objective with the Black Wall Street Times is to elevate and amplify the literary art of modern black American culture, pay tribute to African-American literary trailblazers, all while simultaneously linking and introducing children to the world of colorful American writers.