Brian Powell, Signed Artist, Creates Music About Personal Experiences


Many of Powell’s songs are derivative of his own personal experiences. His most recent ones have been about his experience losing both of his parents within the span of two years.

Jenny Pierre and Kwadar Ray

While his classmates were likely more focused on PSATs and geometry homework, Brian Powell spent two months of his sophomore year of high school touring Japan. It was his very first musical tour out of the U.S. and he recorded his own music there from December to January, and released an album strictly for Japan.

Since then, Powell, now a sophomore at Pace, has written multiple songs, released a couple EPs, and been invited to red carpet events and movie premieres. He has also been to Coachella five times, and has sponsorships from the likes of Taco Bell and AT&T.

His musical prowess and the amount of success he has gained all began with the purchase of a karaoke machine.

Powell, a health science major, has had an interest in music since he was six. Alongside his father, he listened to JoJo, Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson and other stars while growing up. His dad eventually got him a karaoke machine, which led him to performing in the living room of their then-home in Huntington, California.

What started off as a hobby and general interest led to serious opportunities for Powell in the music industry. When he was 13, he competed against 12 contestants on a reality series called Majors and Minors on The Hub. On the television program, he met a host of major stars.

“For Majors and Minors, every week we would be introduced to a new celebrity, so we had like Adam Levine, Adam Lambert, Jennifer Hudson, CeeLo Green, we had Sean Kingston, who I did a song with once,” he said.

He also had the opportunity to perform with JoJo, singing one of his favorite songs, “Get Out.”

Though he did not win the contest, he was one of the final contestants and was recognized for his high pitch voice. That recognition led to a record deal.

“After the show, I got recognized because I could hit those high notes,” he said. “I was noticed, and so I was given a contract.”

However, after releasing one single with the label, they had the right it and wanted to “change everything about [Powell].”

“They wanted to change my whole appearance and my personality,” he said. “The songs I wrote weren’t actually mine. They wanted me to sing different songs.”

“I didn’t know about them changing me, but knowing that now, I wouldn’t agree with that,” Powell said. “So when I got out of that contract, it was hard to find another label, but I was able to go on tour with that contract and able to grow from that and make decisions on my own.”


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Powell values individuality and authenticity. He is not a fan of the industry pushing musicians to be something they are not, which he believes happens too often nowadays.

Instead, he wants the world and his fans to see him for who he is.

“I just want them to see me as me,” he said. “Just being real. I like to connect with my fans, I like to know about them. Every song I write, they’re written about my experience like my heartbreak and losing my parents.”

Powell’s parents passed away just a few years from one another. Throughout his career, they were some of his biggest supporters.

“I had a very strong relationship with my parents,” he began. “Like I always traveled everywhere with my dad. He bought me my first karaoke machine and my first guitar, and I would put on shows for him each time he got off work. And my mom, even though she was out of state, I would always visit her over the summer. They were 100 percent supportive for whatever me or my siblings wanted to do.”

He also believes his music helped connect him with his parents.

“I have a few songs written about them and their whole love story about how true love is,” he said. “Most parents go through a divorce or a bad thing, but it never happened. They were very in love with each other.”

Today, Powell is singed to a new label, fittingly called “Keep your Soul.” With the label, he is able to work on music and release it on his own time. He has a batch of music coming out very soon.

“I’m a little nervous,” he said. “It’s just an EP, with three songs on it and it’s about how people cannot change me and it’s just me saying, ‘I’m myself’ and it’s directed at anyone who’s criticized me in the past. I also have an album with covers I did over the summer that I’m releasing.”

Though he has planted the for seeds for a successful musical career, Powell’s backup plan is using his future Bachelor of Science in health science to become a physician assistant. He is looking forward to balancing his music, classes and his social life this school year.

“I’m excited to see how far I can go in the industry now and as well taking my classes for health science but I’m honestly just real excited to be here with my friends, and make more memories as well,” he said.

Despite being signed to a record deal, having multiple sponsors and releasing music on Spotify, Pandora and Apple Music, Powell would enjoy performing more on campus, no matter the audience size.

He has already performed at WPAW’s “Open Mic Night,” and “Pace got Talent.” He said he is just waiting for a request and he will perform.

“If I was reached out to, I’d definitely perform [at Pace],” he said.

And if he does perform live at another on-campus event, you will likely notice some writing on his hand.

“For every show I do, I write this thing called seven and eight on my hand,” he began. “It means fall down seven, but get up eight. So every time you fall down, you get up bigger.”