One West Magazine
B. Howard Dishes on Consumer Electronics Show with Rick Ross, Mainland China Tour
From the first moment, it was like meeting the live Michael Jackson. Everything Brandon Howard embodies, reminds everyone of Michael Jackson. Brandon Howard is, in essence, a reincarnation of Michael. And that leads some to believe that Brandon Howard is capable of doing what Michael Jackson did.
Even the Jackson family shows its love and support for B. Howard. From Jackie’s Jackson’s Twitter: “The magic continues.” He added: “Proud of B. Howard.” The tweets came after TMZ’s botched statement that the Jacksons did not know B. Howard. And in 2015, LaToya Jackson introduced B. Howard on her show, Life with LaToya, on the Oprah Winfrey Network.
The songwriter-producer and singer has been on the touring circuit lately. B. Howard headlined along with Rick Ross at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada. Jonathan “Sugarfoot” Moffett, Michael Jackson’s drummer who was also present at CES said on Facebook: “B. Howard was great! I enjoyed working with him on this venture. He is very talented for those who are still wondering, and for me to be honest, truthful, and real, MJ’s essence was there. There was uncanny chemistry between him and me in performing together [and it was] greatly reminiscent of Michael [Jackson].”
I had the opportunity to speak with B. Howard who is soft-spoken, eloquent, and driven to bring people together with his music. Here’s what’s next for the Billboard-charted star.
AO: Who is B. Howard and what makes you unique out of all music artists today in the music industry?
BH: I’ve really enjoyed my life, and I’m growing more every day. I started in 2002, working with artist Dru Hill on the Dru World Order album. Over the years I’ve written or produced songs for Ginuwine, Marques Houston, Lupe Fiasco, Ne-Yo, Emily King, Bow-Wow, Vanessa Hudgens, Koda Kumi and a host of other stars. More recently I’ve worked with Joe El and Charisse Mills and French Montana as well as Jason DeRulo.
All of them are wonderful and unique. And each one of them has lifted me, by allowing me to be part of their story. I’ve been blessed to write for and produce for so much talent, and it’s the experience that I’ve earned through my work that led me to the Nothing to Prove album. Very few artists have had the opportunity to write for such a variety of other artists, and make the jump to releasing their own album and succeed.
AO: Tell us about your new single “DSYLM” and how can your fans hear it?
BH: Don’t Say You Love Me is about personal, emotional experiences. DSLYM for short, is a fresh, new approach to my sound. It mixes in personal experiences–where I’ve had my heart broken–and I don’t want anyone to say she loves me because I don’t want that heart break to happen again.
A secret about this video that I haven’t revealed is that I’ve actually had this experience. I was talking to a twin. One was hot and one was cold. Both twins were singer-dancers. But each time I talked with the one I knew– and I thought there was only one– she had a different personality. Little did I know, she had a twin sister and she didn’t tell me!
So one minute she was hot and a day later I’d meet up with her and she was cold. I then realized she had a twin. I only wanted the one– the one who was really in to me.
AO: Congratulations for getting “DSYLM” to #11 on the Billboard Dance Charts. How does it feel to meet this milestone in your life?
BH: It’s motivating. I feel blessed and fortunate to be able to make it organically to this point. It is my first billboard entry. And I didn’t think I was going to make top twenty because there are so many great artists I respect: Imagine Dragons, Bieber, Lorde, and Adele–to name a few–that compete for that space. This is the first of many. I’m thankful for the support of all my friends for being there.
AO: You recently performed with Rick Ross at CES. How’d that go?
BH: I had a show at the Consumer Electronics Show, or CES, in Las Vegas with Rick Ross. He really fought for me to be on stage with him. I remember Ne-Yo, a professional and friend who we’ve both worked with saying about my single, DSLYM: “That was hot– that was cool,” right before we went onstage.
What’s also new: The CES show with Rick Ross was also shot in virtual reality. We shot the whole show with a 360-degree camera with a brand new technology from Nokia that’s not released yet.
The other people performing were the Jacksons– formerly the Jackson 5– as well as Aerosmith’s Joe Perry, George Benson, Ne-Yo, Rick Ross. Magic Johnson and Christina Milian were the hosts.
AO: What was it like back stage?
BH: It was like a class reunion. Christina Milian, Ne-Yo, and Magic Johnson– we were all there. Magic Johnson was excited to be there. He was proud of me and hadn’t seen me since the “Remember the Time” music video. He couldn’t believe how tall I was. Vassal Benson was there, who recorded recently with Jon Bon Jovi.
It was a great experience being among all of these people I came up with.
AO: How did the virtual reality bit go?
BH: We placed two cameras, deep in the set and in between the talent and the crowd, where there are usually microphones. Nokia’s technology will be released soon along with a next iteration of VR glasses.
We’re planning to shoot in virtual reality the music video to “One More Night”, a new single to be released this Spring.
AO: How is your relationship to your mother, Miki Howard, and your thoughts about her new TV One movie, The Miki Howard Story?
BH: My mom has a new film coming out about her life. I’ve been working a lot, so I haven’t been able to spend as much time with her as I would like. It makes me sad. However, we are pretty close. And we have a song together that will be released soon. It’s a very special song.
As far as the film goes, I’m happy for her. I’m very happy that she has at least a portion of her story be heard, and there are large numbers of people who I personally think she would want to have noted, if she could, for their contributions to her life. Nevertheless, I’m excited for her and I hope to create with her more music for us to enjoy together. And spend more time together.
AO: We heard that you were just in Europe? What was the occasion for that trip?
BH: Yes, I was at Felix nightclub in Berlin. The song DSLYM was doing well stateside, and people from Europe called for me. The party at Felix nightclub was a release party in support of the song.
The rapper, Tony Tuklan, has a song that’s number one in Europe that features Sean Paul. During my show, Tony came up to do the rap part of his song.
AO: You are building a hardcore following here in the U.S. How’s that experience and can it be overwhelming at times?
BH: Yes, it’s overwhelming because my following is strong overseas, but its the dedication and depth of my fans at home in the U.S. that is inspirational and motivates me. For every one person it’s like ten people, multiplied and amped up. You can’t pay for anything like that. The more music I put out, the more dedicated my first followers are. It’s true. My life is dedicated to my fans.
AO: It is said that you are the “Prince of Pop” in Japan. How do you feel about being labeled “The Prince of Pop”?
BH: For HMV to label me the prince of pop– it’s a double edged sword. On one end it’s an extreme honor. On the other end it sells me short. The prince of pop is not a King. And I don’t look at myself as the prince of Pop. I fancy myself the President. LOL. With my friends in New York and Los Angeles all call me the President. Like the President of the music industry, being that I’ve helped guide so many musicians along their careers. And I’ve helped people achieve success where they’ve often overlooked an opportunity. But I’m grateful for the title.
AO: Are you currently working on any new music and when can we expect to hear it?
BH: Yes, with Akon: We don’t have the name of the title yet. We’ll soon go in the studio to finish creating the full body of work. In the meantime, I’m releasing singles, and the video will be in virtual reality. The video will be on a platform for VR videos.
A new artist named Fabio, with Sony Columbia, with a song called Necessito Tu Amor, is coming out this Spring.
With Jason DeRulo: Jason DeRulo and I are coming out with some great ideas to be released soon. One possibility is a song for his next album.
With The Jacksons: A duet with LaToya Jackson is coming out that’s a really upbeat dance record with a mix of Spanish in it. It’s called “Solo Dimelo”.
AO: Are you going on tour anytime soon? How can your fans hear you live?
BH: Yes, I’m having a release party in March, in Shenzhen, China. It’s part of the mainland China tour. Akon is coming to support me.
I was going to be on the Little Wayne tour, and the Jackie tour, which is Ciara’s tour. Both first got postponed. Ciara’s show is postponed until April 2nd, which is my birthday.
The Little Wayne tour was later canceled. I’m very much bummed about it. I’m most sad about my fans that bought tickets for the show. And I hope to make it up to them.
AO: Do you have any people that you would like to thank for your success today?
BH: Shante Paige, Leonard Brooks, Robert Watson, Qadree El-Amin, Jonnie Forster, Perfection / Tribeca Management, and Phil Quartararo, my manager. I can never forget my family and friends because without them I would not be the man I am today.
AO: Where can your fans follow you on social media?
Antoinette Ortega is a Contributing writer for One West Magazine