Call Him the Pilot, Because He's So Fly

Monday, 01 November 2010 14:57 Written by  Shardae D. Smith

From having his photo along the side of a city bus as part of a no smoking campaign in his early teens to writing a student theater production as a college graduate and hosting a friend’s gig at Chicago’s House of Blues, Brandon ‘Real Talk’ Williams—writer, playwright, host, director, poet and rapper—is now taking the time to focus on his ultimate business plan.


Download ‘Real Talk’s’ new LP, ‘The Sitcom,’ based on music in the format of everyday life, and don’t expect to findindustry beats” or any sound not some way original to Williams himself.


The 24-year-old prodigy of many talents sits down to talk about being the go-to-guy for anything entertainment and how promoting yourself can pay off and pay the bills



GMO: How do you describe yourself?


BW: An entertainer. Well, I would say a writer first, because I have a real passion for it. I’ve always been a writer, but I started seriously writing when I was 17. I’ve always been a fan of hip hop and could put rhymes together. I say like my junior year [of high school it] was like a couple of different turning points in my life, as far as family’s concerned, that influenced me and made me want to write more. That’s when I got into spoken word rather than rap, because I feel rap is confining you to a beat. But spoken word or poetry, you can write extended lines, it doesn’t have to be 16 bars.


GMO: You wrote a play, “The Yard.” Can you tell me more about it?


BW: “The Yard” is an a cappella hip hop musical. What I mean by that is, it’s similar to a musical where you transition from dialogue to singing but [instead] it’s from dialogue to a cappella rap and spoken word. The slogan is ‘College: mixing teenage adolescence with adult responsibility. What’s the worst that can happen?’ Me and a friend were having a conversation, talking about college and why so many crazy things happen, these weird stories about students doing this and [doing] that. It’s because you’re mixing adolescence; people who [are] 17 and 18 are put in an environment where they have no rules or limitations. It’s like sky’s the limit of what can happen good [or] bad. There’s no main plot, and I did that on purpose … it’s given a lot of different perspectives, such as [college students] speaking on finance problems, sex, suicide, alcoholism and drug abuse. Basically, the [college school] yard is exposed and tells a lot of things you won’t find in your college brochure.


GMO: How do you write from start to finish?


BW: I feel like any job that doesn’t have a certificate or a license, you can say you’re it or you can be it. When I began to write [“The Yard”], I didn’t take theater classes, I had taken a theater class before, but I didn’t study the whole structure of writing a play … I just knew that I needed a script, characters and a stage, dialogue and stage direction. I guess all of the other things; I guess they kind of just flowed through me.


GMO: You were featured in The Source magazine. How did that happen?b


BW: I released my first mixtape titled the “Mo’ Better” mixtape. I took movie quotes from the movie Mo’ Better Blues that matched the subject matter of the tracks. The samples along with my rap songs, played throughout the whole project. I put it on the internet … on different hip hop blogs, and The Source emailed me, and the email just said they needed high resolution photos of me ASAP. So I sent him the photos.


GMO: But you didn’t hear back from them for a month.


BW: A week after I finished the play, I emailed them back…and he emailed me back like, “Congratulations, you’re the next Unsigned Hype... we did a write up about your mixtape.” [The issue] actually came out the day after Thanksgiving 2009. I did an in-store magazine and mixtape giveaway at Barnes and Noble. I said I’m going to be in this issue of this magazine, can I set this up? A lot of stuff is within arms reach.


GMO: Are you looking to keep working with “The Yard”?


BW: The Sequel to “The Yard” is “The Graduate.” The reason why it’s not out yet is that I don’t like to force my work. Erykah Badu said a while back, “I make oven music, I get my ingredients together, and set my temperature and when it’s ready, I serve it.” Oven food always tastes better than microwave food, so I’m taking my time with part two.


GMO: What’s next for ‘Real Talk’?


BW: My desire isn’t to make money [right now]; it is to build my audience and eventually make money. Because once you have a target audience, you can do whatever you want to, you can go to labels and say I want [a distribution deal]. You just can’t demand it off top.


GMO: Are you looking for a label?


BW: I’m actually not. But I’m sending my music to labels. In a sense, to tease, and to gain more exposure, then increase my audience. But I’m not offering anything unless they offer a distribution deal, then I’ll take that. But I’m not signing any 360’s or 12 point deals to where they can get creative control of my music.

Shardae D. Smith

Shardae D. Smith

Shardae D. Smith is senior at Columbia College Chicago majoring in magazine journalism, and she's the assistant campus editor for The Columbia Chronicle. She's also an intern for on-air personality Special K at 103.5 Kiss FM and a campus correspondent for the Columbia branch.

She can be contacted at