Brandon James Gwinn will perform tracks from his album, BULLIT, at the Reflections mansion (73 Bay Walk) on Tuesday, June 29. He will also debut the music video for first single, "Cristal Conners."
“I started writing BULLIT while on the nationwide tour for my first record, opening for drag star Trixie Mattel,” Gwinn explains. “It was at the tail end and I was reflecting on the amazing and somewhat unexpected experience of traveling the country and how it would soon be over. At the same time I found myself at the end of a serious relationship. All that tumult made me look at where I was and where I was going.”
He describes the album as a lot like life. "It's a journey where you deal with all your problems, but then look around and realize the darkness you were complaining about is sexy and dangerous. You’re older and maybe a little tired, but you came out on the other side learning a thing or two. Sure, you made it by the skin of your teeth, while faking it just a little bit, but you smile because ultimately it doesn’t matter how you got there. You got there.”
Brandon James Gwinn was raised in the suburbs of Nashville, Tennessee. He recalls a big Southern and Italian-American family where there was always an uncle or cousin around. They were fairly conservative and religious, and he was forced to hide his queerness. “I secretly dated a boy or two in high school, but I didn’t officially come out until my freshman year of college at Middle Tennessee State University.”
“The gender journey has been really eye-opening,” Gwinn reflects. “Even as a young gay man, I found I always had problems fitting neatly into the cis and straight culture at large.” Today, he identifies as queer and gender fluid.
After graduating NYU with an MFA in musical theatre writing, Brandon James Gwinn enjoyed a prolific career in theatre, writing ten stage musicals that have had various levels of production from college to regional and even Off-Broadway. He was nominated for a Drama League Award and won the American Academy of Arts and Letters’ Richard Rodgers Award for his musical TL;DR: Thelma Louise; Dyke Remix.
He entered the pop realm with the production of two albums for RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars winner Trixie Mattel: 2017’s Two Birds and 2018’s One Stone; both of which he performed on. “It was really Trixie’s idea that I could sing my own songs on my first EP, Not Too Late, and then perform them at 2800 seat theatres. She believed folks would buy it, and they did!”
The success of Not Too Late and the nationwide tour led to Brandon gaining representation by William Morris Endeavor and encouraged him to consider that perhaps he had more to say in another album. “I want BULLIT to be fun when fans need it to be, and a devastating feel-fest, if that’s what they're after,” Brandon says.
BULLIT is being distributed by Indie Chameleon and will be available on Apple Music, Spotify and all digital platforms on June 30.
Drag queen Tammy Spanx will host the BULLIT premiere party at the Reflections mansion (73 Bay Walk, Fire Island Pines) on Tuesday, June 29 at 7pm. All are welcome. No cover charge.