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Brandon Colbein, songwriter for our faves, is shining all on his own, too

Jon Ali
·4-min read
Brandon Colbein
Brandon Colbein

Jon Ali is In The Know’s music contributor. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram for more.

Let’s get down to the simple “Truth”: Brandon Colbein is writing irresistible gems for a lot of our faves — and for himself, too.

You might not recognize him by name just yet — unless you’re a fellow pop nerd — but you most certainly already know some of his work. The 27-year-old Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter signed his first major publishing deal in 2016 under the mentorship of Justin Tranter, the superstar songwriter who also happens to be Julia Michaels’ partner in pop crime. The duo has written more than a few hits for the likes of Lady Gaga, Ariana Grande, Selena Gomez, Demi Lovato, Kesha, Dua Lipa and more.

In his short songwriting reign, Brandon’s already been able to build a name for himself, co-penning a bunch of tracks for some of our favorite pop stars, including ZAYN‘s “Tonight,” Bea Miller‘s “Brand New Eyes,” Terror Jr.’s “Terrible,” Liam Payne‘s “Home With You,” all three of Hayley Kiyoko‘s singles from her debut album, Expectations (“Feelings,” “Curious” and “What I Need” with Kehlani), and most recently, JoJo’s “Small Things” from her latest album, good to know. Not too shabby, right? 

On top of all that, Brandon’s also been keeping busy carving out some gems of his very own as a solo musical act with a number of high-quality tunes — including “So Bad” and “Mad” — over the past four years. Like most songwriters, he’s got his own stories to tell, too.

“Songwriting allowed me to explore different avenues of music depending on the artists I was writing for. I have written in so many different genres (though I hate that word) at this point that it almost feels like I was able to figure out my own style without even stressing about it, because I was spending the majority of my time helping other artists find theirs,” Brandon told In The Know in a statement. “In turn that has also helped me not give my own sound away like so many songwriters accidentally do. To help myself not do that though I do tend to have my sessions booked with a clear objective… like, today we are writing for me or another artist or to pitch. Sometimes sitting with songs also helps me decide.”

Judging by Brandon’s commitment to the trajectory of his own career as an artist in 2020, I think it’s safe to say he’s deserving of some of that spotlight for himself. 

We’ve had the great pleasure of receiving four singles from Brandon this year: From the brilliant “Mess” to “I.D.C.A.L” to “Mean To Me” and “I Don’t Want You To See This,” and they’re all killer pop confessionals armed with ear-worm hooks, powerhouse vocals and raw storytelling.

There’s simply not a single dud in Brandon’s 2020 collection. Not one! He’s doing the damn thing, and he’s doing it well.

His last serving of the year comes in the form of “Truth,” and this one is certainly no exception to his banner year.

The gorgeous power ballad dives deeper into the story that “I Don’t Want You To See This” had previously laid out for us. It’s beautifully tortured — as anyone going through the motions of a relationship gone awry can attest to — drifting along a brooding piano melody, dooming synths, a building pulse and full-bodied vocals.

“Oh man… So I only wrote ‘Truth’ a month ago after my relationship of 2 years came to an end. At the same time I also got myself sober. Today is day 44 ;),” Brandon told us about “Truth,” adding, “I wrote this song about all the lies I made myself believe consciously and subconsciously… about myself. I tried putting all the blame on my ex when in reality I was so unhappy with myself that there is no way he could have been happy either. I let myself go physically and mentally. This song describes that realization and the fact that no matter how much I tried, the truth was always there, no matter how deep I buried it.”

“Truth” is devastating in its own right, but when packaged together with all the other songs Brandon’s given us this year, there’s simply no questioning his potential and the quality of his storytelling. Brandon’s the real deal, and that’s on “Truth.”

Brandon’s latest single “Truth” is available to stream here!

If you enjoyed this article, check out Jon Ali’s spotlight of FHAT, the queer duo who is destined to go “MAJOR!”

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