CollegeCandy Exclusive: Austin Brown at SXSW
Austin Brown–this kid’s got it. I couldn’t have been happier to catch Austin’s show at SXSW, and would be a much cooler individual if I could learn his dance moves. The influence of uncle, Michael Jackson, is immediately obvious in Austin’s stage presence. Brown is definitely going places. Check out the interview we did after his set–he was super down to earth and friendly, and loved my Sorry For Partying sunglasses so much, I gave them to him!
CC: Can you give us a bit of back story on you as an artist. How you got started and the direction you see yourself going.
Austin: Everything we do is real organic. We got our start just being music lovers and music fans, coming together to create songs that we felt our generation would appreciate but aren’t used to hearing. We all have music backgrounds, we all have influences that range anywhere from jazz to funk, soul, hip-hop. What we like to do is fuse everything together and to give kids who normally wouldn’t know about this type of music, because they think that their parents would be into it or something like that, give them a chance to check it out and appreciate it from our point of view. Because we are just fans. We’re fans of all genres of music.
CC: Who would you say is your biggest influence?
Austin: Anywhere from Stevie Wonder, Miles Davis, Prince, the Jackson Family, George Michael, Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Brian Wilson, the Beatles. It’s all over the map.
CC: If you could do a show with anyone in the world–past or present–who would it be and why?
Austin: Ray Charles, because I got to see him perform when I was younger. I would personally love to do a show with him, so I could watch him play. A current artist would be Outkast. Andre 3000 is one of my heroes. Maybe N.E.R.D.
CC: Nice! Do you have any collaborations coming up in the future?
Austin: I’ve collaborated with Pharell. I did a song with Ryan Tedder from OneRepublic. He’s an incredible writer.
CC: That’s great. Is SXSW part of a tour that you’re on right now? Where can people see you?
Austin: I’m going on tour, yes. More dates will be announced on austinbrown.com. I’m actually going to do a college tour and go to a few campuses.
CC: Are you going to hit up the University of Texas after your time in Austin?
Austin: I will. You know, I would love to.
CC: I hope you showcase those dance moves. Where exactly did you learn to dance like that?
Austin: You know, I have always been able to dance. It came naturally. But then I started watching what I was doing, and then my uncle taught me a lot. I looked at the people he learned from. I studied James Brown, Sammy Davis Jr., Elvis Presley, all the people that he looked up to, I looked at. I just fused my own style. What I do is really rambunctious.
CC: It’s fun! We love it.
Austin: The problem with me is that when I dance, I’m not good at thinking, because I just want it to flow. I don’t really do choreography. I mean,I can for some stuff, but I like to just go and be free. To go off the cuff.
CC: So it’s hard to sing and dance at the same time?
Austin: Well, that’s why I like to do it the way that I do it. I pick my moments. When I’m singing, I’m singing. When I want to bust out and dance, I have that moment for it. It’s not forced. We’re singling live up there, so it gets hard.
CC: We can only imagine! So for college students going out to music festivals this summer, what advice would you give them?
Austin: You have to, have to discover new music. Go there and find a new band that you can dig. It may take some searching, because you might see a band, and you might not like them, but you have to find a new band that you like. Take the time!
[CollegeCandy, Chicka-d founder Lauren Polt and Austin Brown at SXSW image via Harrison Funk]