Cheerful holiday cliches aside, Brandon Howard Roy is bringing the world an extra dose of joy this season by allowing us to ring in the New Year with his debut single Little Reasons.
Roy, originally from Montreal, started coming to PEI in 2014 to work as a musical-theatre actor during the summers. “Within two weeks I knew this was going to be home,” said Roy, about his first visit. As of April this year, he now calls PEI home.
Roy started playing the piano when he was five years old. Over the years, he realized classical piano wasn’t his thing and it wasn’t going to pan out. “I would never practice until about an hour before my piano lesson.” Just before when he was about to quit piano, his teacher started teaching him how to chord and notate melodies, which churched a new love for the instrument.
A vocalist first and foremost, Roy performed with various vocal-pop groups in Montreal during his youth. Later, he completed a two-year college theatre program, and then went on to graduate from Sheridan with a degree in musical theatre.
He started focusing more on writing music, making the transition from actor to musician, during the last two years of college, partly as a way of finding his true self. “I really want to invest in myself and when you’re auditioning, auditioning, auditioning you’re always trying to fit a certain mould or certain character, whereas I found with music I really have the freedom to build that mould and grow into it.”
Roy is the lead singer of his band and will be joined on stage by an all-star lineup including Evan McCosham on bass, Logan Richard on guitar, Ben Aitken on keys, and John Langille on drums. Though Roy recorded the piano for the band’s debut single, he wanted to leave the role to someone else in order to fully embrace himself as a singer. Little Reasons was produced by Colin Buchanan, and the song features Claire Byrne and Samantha Bourque as back-up vocalists.
Even though Roy enjoys performing solo, there’s nothing like the energy of having a band perform with him, he said. “I was blown away after the first rehearsal. I could have cried—just hearing them care so much about my writing. Having a band elevated it to a level I couldn’t have imagined.”
Little Reasons is about being a loveable mess, “but if you love me, then you love me,” said Roy. “I’m embracing all the messy parts about myself.” However, the song is anything but a mess—the vocal- and piano-driven debut is an instant, dancey feel-good banger. It’s pop music that you can feel good about, said Roy.
“My overall goal is that I just want as many people as possible to have fun with my music. If I go to a show I’m guaranteed to be at the front of the dance-floor grooving my heart out, so I’ll basically be on the other side doing the exact same thing. If people leave singing something that they’ve heard, to me that’s the art I want to pursue.”
Roy hasn’t taken on any acting contacts during 2020 so that he can concentrate on his music and record a debut EP. Brandon Howard Roy’s Little Reasons was released on all major streaming platforms on December 27. See him groove his heart out at Baba’s Lounge in Charlottetown on January 17.