Do you think ‘movie star’ when you hear the name Brandon Pitts? Not to put too much pressure on him, but honestly, that’s his trajectory.
You want to talk about manifestation? This guy is so in tune with the universe, it’s unreal. And so inspiring.
I’ve known him for… mm, maybe three weeks now and it’s not like we’re best pals, but at this point, he’d definitely get the invite for Friendsgiving.
So, please, grab your CBD gummies and allow me to bring you into my interview with the ever-talented, Mr. Brandon Pitts.
“I didn’t sleep well last night,” he started, still sounding upbeat, as usual, although again I’ve known him less than a month – who am I to say what usual is.
“Wait, really?” I asked, sounding overly enthusiastic about someone’s lack of sleep. “I’ve slept poorly all week… I think the universe is trying to tell me something,” I responded quickly.
Turns out, he was just worried about what questions I was going to ask… damn.
Although we didn’t bond over the restless night, we did discuss how we both felt… heavy… all week; not anxiety-riddled, just heavy, which was odd, as everything in our lives has been running so smoothly. We wrote it off as Mercury being in Retrograde, setting an intention to connect deeper with the universe.
“Alright, my friend, start at the top… where did it all begin for young Brandon?”
“Yeah, so, I was born in Omaha, Nebraska… diehard Cornhuskers fan,” he smiled – the charm radiating through the screen, “I actually have the state tattooed on my arm,” he lifted his arm pointing at the tattoo with the recognized ‘N’ on top.
Also, guys, he’s a Packers fan. I KNOW – we like him even more now.
“I have two older sisters and two younger brothers, and my mom raised all of us,” he offered with a shrug. I mean, Superwoman.
[Do you have a picture of the whole fam that I could include? If not, maybe just a photo of you and a sibling, if they’re comfortable with it?]
“I know a lot of people think ‘white’ when they think Nebraska, but where I lived, up North, it was all black people in poor neighborhoods where drive-bys happened all the time.”
He continued, “I know better now, but still to this day when a car is driving slowly, I think someone’s gonna start shooting… that’s just how I grew up. There were gangs everywhere; I lived in a crip-block… couple blocks over was a blood-block. The neighborhood would actually come out to watch me fight,” he paused, watching my facial reaction, which was a combination of sadness and ‘yikes’.
“Yeah, I was like seven or eight and I’d be fighting… a couple places down, there’d be dog fights… I definitely grew up rough,” he laughed through the recollection. “So not long after that, my mom decided she needed to get us out of that situation and moved us to Colorado where more of our family lived.”
We briefly touched on his dad’s absence which I won’t delve into, because this story is about Brandon in all his glory, not about dad being MIA.
“Were you devastated to move at that age?” I asked, remembering the friends I had at eight… choreographing talent shows together for school.
“No, not at all, I loved all my cousins, so I was excited to be around them, and actually I just kind of slipped right back into the same environment I was in, in Omaha because that’s what I knew,” he offered casually.
Right… I’m trying to compare my little small-town white-girl upbringing with his life… of course he was ready to leave.
“Okay, so I know the tiny breadcrumbs Nadine gave me about your rap career, but fill me in… what happened when you moved to Colorado and what led you to rap?” I asked, resting my hand on my head as my laptop sat atop two couch pillows (still in my sister’s house) dealing with shotty internet.
He smiled (again, v charming) and I could see the wheels turning as he remembered young Brandon, growing up in glorious Colorado.
“So, I was actually a really, really good athlete… people thought that was gonna be my career, talking about how I was gonna go to the NFL and what not,” he shrugged as if it wasn’t a big deal. “But I got in with a group of dudes that took me down another path; they taught me how to sell weed… actually, I remember the guy (I called him my cousin) gave me my first cigarette and blunt when I was like ten, maybe eleven,” he recalled the location they smoked at, right outside his elementary school.
Yeah, wow… I’m picturing myself at ten in my orange stretchy tank top with tan shorts, posted up against the brick wall at my elementary school, just smoking some flower… quite the visual.
“Wait, did you like it??” I interrupted with an extremely necessary question.
“Oh yeah… immediately after, I was like, this is it for me,” he tried to cover his smile by pursing his lips, “but then my throat started hurting and I thought I had throat cancer, so I had to tell my mom… I was like, ‘mom I’m so sorry, I smoked a cigarette and now I think I have throat cancer’ and I was serious as hell.” We busted out laughing, because obviously.
We briefly talked about mom’s involvement; she was heavily engaged in their lives – so much so that when she saw Brandon going down a similar path he took in Nebraska, she moved them to a “real white neighborhood” in Aurora to try and set him straight.
“I’d never seen that many white people in my life,” his eyes widened, “I went to this all-white preppy school and it was the first time I started being interested in white chicks… I was like okay, heyyy,” he gave me a head nod.
“But I was still going to Denver all the time with the guys and I got my first gun when I was sixteen. Started selling weed and ecstasy all the time…”
“Tell me you sold to all your neighbors in Aurora,” I pleaded.
He laughed and shook his head immediately, “the amount of ecstasy I sold to those kids… unreal.”
“You started rapping around that time too, yeah? When you were sixteen?”
“Yeah, so my cousin from Texas – him and this other guy from New York were probably the most positive influence on me at that time… they would always do these freestyle raps against each other and they let me join them, and that’s when I started writing,” he explained.
Reader’s note – in fourth grade, Brandon won The Young Author’s award – he was against all the fourth graders in the city… AND, AND – he went to the Art Institute of Colorado, where they took $20K off his tuition because they loved his poems and artwork that much. So, I’m only slightly intimidated by his
judgement of how I transcribe this interview…
“Okay, so you go from freestyle rap battles to writing your own shit, to… how did you actually break into the industry??” I prodded.
“Yeah, so, in that mostly white school in Aurora, I met this skinny white dude that everyone called Madden, and he had this reputation for rapping so I just immediately didn’t like him. And then people were saying ‘you can’t beat that dude; he walks around with an encyclopedia’ and he legit did. But then I had a class with him and heard him rap for the first time and I was sold. He was incredible.”
Brandon remembered their relationship with this earnest appreciation that forced me to smile throughout his telling.
“We became brothers right away and started our rap career together. We were like Eminem and 50 Cent… we wrote all throughout high school and did all these rap battles, and then after graduating, we started really taking it seriously and hustled. We worked with Papoose, and Crooked Eye, and all these…”
“WAIT… wait, wait, wait, you’re jumping like eight steps ahead, bro!” I yelled, “how did this come about though? How did they discover you guys??” I pressed.
“I don’t know… some universe shit. Papoose just found our music on this website and reached out to us one day. Honestly, we thought it was a joke at first because he was one of our favorite rappers, but he reached out and we ended up flying out to New York and shooting a video for the song we wrote and performed… it was crazy,” he shook his head in disbelief.
Like I said… Brandon is a powerful manifester.
“Okay, so you and Eminem… or, Madden were on your way up in the rap scene… and obviously I know you’re not doing that anymore… what happened? Spill it.”
*Insert Brandon laugh* – I wish I could just include a little snippet in this transcription… if I’m tryna be extra, I’ll figure it out. If not, you’ll hear it on the big screen someday.
“Yeah, well we just started getting these promises that weren’t followed through on, like where our music would be featured, or people that wanted to work with us and once I had a better idea of how the music industry was run, I started falling out of love with it,” he answered.
He also shared a story of him forgetting the lyrics when they were opening for Young Dro – for a song he’d rapped hundreds of times.
“And that’s when I realized, yeah, my heart’s just not in this anymore…”
“Oof… so was your boy kind of expecting that or was it a shock?” I asked, knowing how tough that conversation would be.
He clenched his teeth subtly before responding, “oh, yeah, he was shocked… he said he never would’ve stopped rapping if I’d stuck it out with him.”
Just a dagger to the heart. Also, guys, Madden is now a news anchor?! Imagine if Eminem were reporting the nightly news… oh, the visual. (I tried finding him online to no avail. And by try, I mean I did a name search in Google, scrolled the first page and didn’t find anything and gave up)
Once Brandon left the rap game (is that the right way to phrase it?…) he went back to school and got his
degree, followed by his MBA.
Okay, can we just take a moment and give a round of applause?
“So, I got a degree in healthcare management…”
He went to continue, but of course I interrupted him (I need to get better about that) with a “why?!”
“Because I wanted to run a hospital,” he said matter-of-factly.
“Umm… you wanted to run a hospital?!” I leaned in closer to the camera and gave him a face like, ‘who are you?’
“I just had a fascination with business and healthcare, so I thought it made sense, but after a while in the industry, I realized it wasn’t what I thought it was; everything got so political and toxic, so I figured I had to do something that made me happy on the side or I’d lose my mind.”
Shortly after, an agent reached out to Brandon, wanting to potentially represent him for modeling gigs… I know, the man sets the intention and gets what he wants. Let that be a lesson, y’all.
“So, I went in and met this agent and was told immediately I needed to take an acting class because I was terrible at reading lines, so I started doing research and took my first class in June 2019,” he offered.
“Oh, wow, okay, so not that long ago at all,” I was amazed as I know how much he’s accomplished in the industry already.
“Yeah, I had to prepare a monologue… I didn’t even know what that was at first, and I was awful in class, like truly horrible, but immediately I knew it was something I wanted to do.”
I could feel the warmth from that memory come through the screen. Also, that’s when he met our mutual friend, Nadine (hey, girl) who we love dearly.
“I’m sure there were things you needed to improve on, but I also think your instincts were probably spot on,” I offered, recalling the few auditions I’ve seen him do.
“Yeah, you’re right,” he paused to consider, “I needed to work on annunciating my words and not holding back… I had to really get in touch with my emotions which has made me even more of a spiritual person, but like with anything, I put a lot of work into it. Like, every single day I spend time improving. I always evaluate myself and think ‘what could I have done better?’” his speech sped up with excitement.
I smiled as he continued, “I think about a look I gave someone, like, okay, what was I feeling in that moment to give them that look? Or if something shocks me, how do I react to that? I take mental notes of every single thing that happens to me in my life and use all of it when I’m acting,” he concluded. But not really – we actually went on much longer down this road because his energy was infectious.
In the beginning, Brandon wasn’t getting a lot of auditions, which is to be expected – he was a rookie that was still learning the ropes… and then, a few would sprinkle in here and there… and then COVID hit and he kept thinking, ‘this is never gonna happen for me.’
“Was that your mindset? That nothing was going to happen for you?” I asked, knowing the person he is now would never think that.
“Yeah, it was at first, but then I took a step back and knew everything would unfold how it’s supposed to, and once I accepted that, I booked a student film, and then after that, I started getting booked for project after project, and then I was getting feature films, and my confidence just kept growing… it was like ‘holy shit, I can really do this,’” he smiled at the realization.
Mind you guys, for a good chunk of time, Brandon was still at his job – he was able to work remotely while filming, but the two worlds collided, and he was forced to decide… he chose to stay in healthcare. LOL nah – obviously not.
He was able to drop the shit that didn’t make him happy and solely live off the income his acting was bringing in. We love that for him.
“There’s just this amazing energy on a set and behind the scenes. You have all these creative people working together and everyone just enjoys each other…” he trailed off for a moment, “that’s what life is supposed to be about…we’re supposed to enjoy it,” he said with a conviction that deeply resonated.
We talked about our spiritual connection to the universe and about how the more in tune we become, the more opportunities unfold. And of course, I asked Brandon what his plans were for the future, ‘cause our star surely isn’t gonna stay in Phoenix forever.
Alas, he’ll be in Atlanta soon, which is where it’s at these days… and at some point, I’m going to manifest us being writing partners on something, because imma need to collaborate with Denver’s fourth-grade Young Author’s winner.