SHOWELL RISES IN HIS CAREER AS A MUSICIAN
By Basma Humadi, Assistant Lifestyle Editor
Brandon Showell, a 26-year-old Mason alum, always had a drive for music. Growing up, he spent his after school hours participating in talent shows, joining chorus, and collaborating with other singers to create a four-part boy-group, 4Shore — who later ended up participants on “The X Factor”.
Now, Showell can say he’s been a solo contestant this year on NBC’s “The Voice”.
“I’ve always had this itch that’s told me this is what I’m supposed to do,” Showell said. “Once you get that itch and it relieves you- you can’t ignore it.”
For his blind audition, Showell wowed judges with a cover of Shawn Mendes’s ‘There’s Nothing Holdin’ Me Back’. Adam Levine was the first to hit the button and turn his chair around. Judges Jennifer Hudson and Miley Cyrus followed after.
Showell cites figures such as Usher, Bruno Mars, and Brian McKnight as some of his inspirations. He hopes one day to follow in their footsteps and envisions himself inspiring others through his music.
“I’ve seen how I’ve been able to inspire one youth or person my age or older, and I love that,” Showell said. “Just the direct response of people saying ‘Wow, you’ve really inspired me to go after what I’ve wanted to go after’ or ‘I was doubting myself and then I saw you.’ That inspiration and reception from people- that’s what I’d like to do in my music and my career.”
Ultimately, Showell chose to be on Adam’s team and is happy with his decision. Though he is no longer a contestant on The Voice, being on Adam’s team allowed Showell to learn valuable lessons as an artist that have and will stay with him.
“A lot of times we kind of question ourselves because in music we become vulnerable and have to give ourselves to everyone and hope they receive who you are as well,” Showell said. ”Adam definitely gave me the confidence and let me know my gift is something that people definitely appreciate and something I should be proud of.”
Showell revealed to the judges that he teaches seventh grade English in Arlington, VA. — and his students don’t know he can sing.
“Toward the end of last year, I had to keep leaving school for days at a time and my students were kind of worried,” Showell said. “[I had to tell them] ‘Listen, I’m a musician, I can sing, but mainly on the weekends. The opportunity I have right now is allowing me to do some traveling to California.’ That’s all I could really tell them.”
It made sense later, once camera-people came to their middle school and filmed shots of Showell teaching. His students put two-and-two together after they saw Showell on television.
Since then, Showell took the school year off to pursue music full-time and notes that he misses his students.
Showell is a Mason alum and double-majored in English and music, was president of his fraternity Alpha Phi Alpha, and began dating his soon-to-be wife, Perla during his time here.
“We met when we were 18 and 19,” Showell said. “I was a sophomore and she was a freshman. We carried on, stayed together and got married. That was the best part of going to Mason.”
For the struggling Mason students, Showell advises them to utilize Mason resources while they can and pick a career path they find fulfilling.
“My advice would be to exhaust all outlets while you’re at Mason – whether that be networking, with your professors, or if you have peers that have outlets I would definitely use that.” Showell said. “I know a lot of those times those four years are spent figuring out what you want to do but there’s nothing wrong with using the outlets you have while you have them.”
“My secondary piece of advice would be, whatever you decide to do, make sure it makes you happy,” Showell said. “For you to be in your twenties and not be happy, is not a good feeling. So whatever you go through, know that the stability will come and make sure you’re happy in doing what you do.”
Since graduating, Showell had the opportunity to return to Mason — this time to sing at Democratic candidate Ralph Northam’s election night watch party in the 2017 Virginia governor’s race.
“It was great because we heard Northam had just won so everyone’s spirits were high and it was a great experience,” Showell said. “I was able to sing five songs. I was supposed to be either the relief for bad news or excitement for good news. And I was glad I was the excitement for good news.”
Readers can follow Showell and his journey his social media accounts: @brandon_showell on Twitter, brandonshowell on Instagram, brandonshowell on YouTube, facebook.com/brandonshowellmusic, and at his website bshowell.com. His music is also available on iTunes at itunes.com/brandonshowell.
Photos Courtesy of Morgan McCarthy and Brandon Showell