Brandon Paris

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Brandon Paris
Brandon Headshot.jpg
Background information
Birth name Richard Lee
Born (1971-11-11) November 11, 1971 (age 42)
Origin Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada
Genres Rock, Pop
Occupations Singer, Bartender, Web Designer,
Years active 1999–present
Labels formerly Koch Entertainment, Nevada Records, currently Independent
Associated acts Brandon Paris Band
Website www.brandoparis.com

Brandon Paris (born Richard Lee, legally changed his name in 1998) was born on November 11, 1971 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada and is the lead singer and front man for Brandon Paris Band.[1] After graduating high school in 1989, he went to Red River College to study Criminology in hopes of joining the Winnipeg Police Service, but that same year dropped out. At the age of 18, Brandon started making T-shirts under a brand name he called "Express Clothing". He started selling T-shirts out of the trunk of his car; eventually, his clothing line was carried at two of the largest clothing chains in Canada (at the time), Bootlegger, and Below the Belt. The company dissolved after three years because of poor business decisions based on little experience.

A three-year relationship ended with his girlfriend during the same week of the official dissolve of his business, which led to Brandon's attempted suicide in 1993.[2] Brandon was admitted in St. Boniface hospital where he had his stomach pumped. One month later, his father talked him into moving to Surrey, BC to work for his multimedia company.[3] Paris worked for 7 years as a digital video editing/3D animator helping build his fathers home based business into one of the most recognized video production/duplication companies in British Columbia.[4][5][6] By 1998, Brandon became addicted to drugs which led him into a deep depression.[7] This depression helped him find a new love for music, that he claims, helped him find his way out of his two-year drug addiction.

In 1999 Paris left his fathers business to pursue a career in Music. He sold all of his belongings within two weeks, and moved to Long Beach, California with $7,000 cash in hopes of putting together a band. While eating only oatmeal everyday and living in cockroach infested apartments, Brandon immediately took vocal lessons and went to the library each day educating himself with books on song writing and the music business.[8] After running out of money within 1 year, Brandon became desperate for money, and attained an illegal green card and visa papers. Only 2 weeks later he was soon caught and deported back to Canada.

Brandon started writing and performing his own songs as a solo artist locally from 2001 to 2002. He independently financed the recording of his solo album which took two years to complete but released songs to radio with no success. With what took over three years, Brandon Paris's newly formed Band was completed. Brandon re-recorded half the album with Troy Samson of Hipjoint Productions[9][10] (Moka Only, Kreesha Turner, Snoop Dogg) and Jeff Dawson [11] (State of Shock, Kelly Rowland, Daniel Powter, Marcy Playground), Paris officially changed the name from "Brandon Paris" to "Brandon Paris Band" in 2006 and decided they were finally ready to shop their debut album now titled On My Own.

In January 2006, Brandon Paris Band signed a deal with Koch Entertainment[12] literally overnight just days after sending out their album to record labels across Canada, with many offers following. Their debut albums' first single, "Rewind and Start Again", was a huge success on commercial radio after being released on March 13, 2006. The song climbed up to top 20 on the Canadian CHR charts (tracked by Radio & Records (Billboard Information Group)).[13] The second and third singles, "Somebody to Hold" and "Give Me a Reason", were also well received in many cities but not enough to reach top 40 status in Canada. Topping off an already exceptional year, Brandon Paris Band was nominated for Best New Group or Solo Artist (CHR) by the Canadian Radio Music Awards in spring of 2007.[14][15]

Life and music career[edit]

Early life 1971 - 1988(Winnipeg, Manitoba)[edit]

Paris's mother, Junette Lee, was born in Singapore and father, Edward Lee, was born in Trinidad & Tobago. Brandon Paris's original legal name was Richard Brian Edward Lee. He was born in St. Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg, Manitoba Brandon has three brothers, one of which is an identical twin. All the children lived in an extremely strict household as his father once served in the RAF (Royal Air Force).

Brandon Paris, July 5th, 1976

Brandon grew up in a middle-class neighborhood in Southdale where he went to Shamrock Elementary school. Paris's mother and father moved to British Columbia in 1986 to start life over during a deep depression his father went into after losing his business of 30 years. Brandon and his twin brother stayed with his grandmother in Winnipeg to finish off the rest of his years in high school at J. H. Bruns Collegiate. For the next few years he struggled in high school while working a full-time job. Paris went in and out of depression many times as he was very much affected by the physical and abuses of his adolescent years.[2] Paris's family did not know of the sexual abusive neighbour at the time nor was the man ever charged as he moved out of the country before Brandon reached 10 years old. Brandon never realized how much all of this affected him until the later 90's. Aside from all the negative situations, Brandon was known to be a talented artist from a very young age and excelled in all his art classes all the way through high school. He also attained his black belt at Kangs Taekwondo [2] before he reached the age of 13.

1989 - 1993: The young entrepreneur[edit]

Surrey's Fitness World ad of Brandon's Before & After Picture after losing 126 pounds (57 kg) taken in Sept 1998.

During the late 80's in Winnipeg where young local owners of clothing companies like Mondetta Clothing Company and Chip and Pepper where flourishing. Brandon now 19 years old and still in high school, was determined to do the same and started making t-shirts in a friends basement with a brand name he called "Express Clothing" meaning, expressing ones self with clothing. He started selling T-shirts out of the trunk of his car at parties, high schools and nightclubs. As the demand became too high for the supply, Brandon could not make clothing fast enough and needed to get his clothing manufactured by a larger clothing manufacturer, Nygård International, who required minimum orders and deposits which Brandon could not meet. David Lee, Brandon's Uncle, became involved as his financial partner. Brandon heard that Bootlegger (At the time was Canada's largest retail clothing chain), was known for helping out local Winnipeggers. Luckily their main office for making purchases was in Winnipeg. Paris set up a meeting and came over with sample clothing articles to show to the company's purchasing executives. 1 week later Bootlegger faxed in their first order of Express clothing to be distributed within their stores across Canada. Eventually the second largest clothing chains in Canada (at the time), Below the Belt started carrying the clothing line. Paris set up sales representatives in Saskatchewan, Ontario, British Columbia, and Alberta. The company was growing too fast with quality being sacrificed which led to the company dissolving only 2 years later. Brandon's poor business decisions were to blame. A three-year relationship ended with his girlfriend during the same week of the official dissolve of his business, which let to Brandon's attempted suicide in 1993.[2] Brandon was admitted in St. Boniface hospital where he had his stomach pumped. Although the company did not even come close to the success of Mondetta or Chip & Pepper, it is now looked back as quite a success story in regards to what he accomplished at 18 years old on his own with no experience in the clothing field in such a short time.

1994 - 1996: Multimedia career (Surrey, British Columbia)[edit]

Brandon at 290 pounds (130 kg) with his nephew, Jordan Lee, at his job as a digital video Editor/3D Animator, June 2nd, 1996

One month later, his father talked him into moving to Surrey, BC to work for his multimedia company. "Edward Lee Productions Inc",[16] in Surrey, BC. In the summer of 1994 Brandon picked up and moved to Surrey to start life over again. Through training from his father, seminars, technical courses and video's, Brandon mastered many aspects of business (sales and marketing) and multi-media including, linear/digital video editing on Avid/Media 100, 3D animation (Lightwave 3D), Compositing effects using (After Effects), graphic design (Photoshop)and video duplication. Brandon started on wedding projects and soon after moved up to working on corporate videos, music videos, and TV commercials. In 1996 Brandon's father won Surrey's Entrepreneur of the Year Award and eventually expanded into a bigger location. In 1997 his father won "Vancouver Ethno-Canadian Entrepreneur Of The Year Award" which once again propelled the business into high sales.[4][5][6] At the end of 1997, Brandon started feeling the stress from the long 18–22 hour days, pressure from his father, and low pay. Brandon started taking medication to help cope with the anxiety. He also gained more than 100 pounds (45 kg) between 1996 and 1997 which caused him to developed type-2 diabetes.

1997 -–1998: The depression[edit]

Brandon at 157 pounds (71 kg) at a club during his depression years, Sept 20th, 1997

. By 1998, Brandon became addicted to methamphetamines and ecstasy which led him into a deep depression.[8] This depression helped him find a new love for music, "I would sing to songs on my stereo that dealt with the same thing I was currently going through at the time." Paris says. "Little did i know that my singing voice was getting stronger by the month. I started singing at parties for fun, Many people would compliment on my vocals or say i should seriously think about getting into a singing career. I rolled it off my shoulder at first but admit that the thought of becoming a singer started growing on me by the day." He claims music helped him find his way out of his 2 year drug addiction.[17] "I wrote all my feelings down on paper every night when i was coming down from my high. "It wasn't until close to the end of my addiction that it dawned on me why i was doing so much drugs. It was because i was masking all of the terrible things i went through as a child, one of them, being sexually abused (by nearby neighbor) at a young age for many years without my family knowing.[2]" Paris says. "singing and writing was like being at a session at the psychologists office every night.[18] I finally got all the skeletons out of the closet and dealt with it for the first time. This was the biggest turning point in my life. It was only then when I knew I somehow had to take both my love for writing and singing and make this a career." Brandon legally changed his name from Richard Lee to Brandon Paris in 1998 as he believed it was like starting life all over and a way of leaving all the evils in his past behind.[17][19] He chose "Brandon" as his first name because of his most loved actor and martial artist Bruce Lee, whose son was named Brandon. he chose the well known city "Paris" as his last name because he felt it was more marketable and thought it would be much too hard to market a popular, unoriginal Chinese last name "Lee".[20] Brandon also changed his appearance by losing 126 lb (from 302 pounds (137 kg) down to 176 pounds (80 kg)). Brandon was used in television and newspaper ads as a "success story" for several years for Fitness world,

1999 -–2006: Music Career[edit]

With absolutely no training, experience or knowledge in playing, writing or even singing music, in 1999 Paris left his fathers business to pursue his new chosen career. He sold all of his belongings within 2 weeks, and moved to Long Beach, California with $7,000 cash in hopes of putting together a band. Brandon immediately took vocal lessons and went to the library every day educating himself with books on song writing and music business.[21] Paris did not succeed at putting together a band. After running out of money within 1 year, Brandon became desperate for money, and attained an illegal green card and visa papers. Only 2 weeks later he was soon caught and deported back to Canada.

Paris immediately got a job with a nightclub in downtown, Vancouver in 2000, where he worked as a busser at night. This allowed him more time to learn guitar, take vocal lessons with Juno Award Winning, Patricia Dahlquist[22] and write songs. He started writing and performing his own songs as a solo artist locally from 2001 to 2002. He independently financed the recording of his solo album which took 2 years to complete but released songs to radio with no success. Brandon could not release many of the songs due to debt in the studio and co-writes he could not buy out, the songs still sit on the shelf.

Fall of 2002 Brandon was approached by Dave Devindisch (former bassist of the defunct Vancouver band called DDT) while performing at a concert at the Croatian Culture Center in Vancouver where he asked if he would be interested in recording a demo at his home studio. Brandon agreed and soon after, Dave and Brandon formed a two man band playing at local venues. In 2003, Paris decided to finally record a full album with Ninjabeatz Studios [3] in Burnaby, British Columbia, where reggae artist Dagriff was recording his solo album. Dagriff was approached by Paris and asked if he would be interested in collaborating on one song from the album he was recording. Soon after, Dagriff joined the band and became a huge influence on the band's music.[23] Dagriff was eventually featured on more than half the album which took over two full years to eventually complete. In 2004, Greg Ellis was asked if he would play guitar on a couple songs for the album which resulted in him joining the band as well. In 2005, Chris Murray Driver, who was friends with Dave Devindisch, joined the band, and only a few months later talked his friend Marc Gladstone (keyboards) into joining the band. Both Marc and Chris are former members of the band Doug and the Slugs.

In spring 2005, Paris tried to release the songs independently to radio with no success. A few months later he approached Vancouver-based record producer Troy Samson of Hipjoint Productions[24] (Moka Only, Kreesha Turner, Snoop Dogg) and Jeff Dawson [11] (State of Shock, Kelly Rowland, Daniel Powter, Marcy Playground), to rework six of the original recordings. This took the whole project to a new level. Paris changed the name from "Brandon Paris" to "Brandon Paris Band" and decided they were finally ready to shop their debut album now titled On My Own.

in January 2006, Brandon Paris Band signed a deal with Koch Entertainment literally overnight just days after sending out their album to record labels across Canada, with many offers following. Their debut albums' first single, "Rewind and Start Again", was a huge success on commercial radio after being released on March 13, 2006. The song climbed up to top 20 on the Canadian CHR charts (tracked by Radio & Records (Billboard Information Group)).[25] Their debut albums' second single, "Somebody to Hold", was released after its very successful first release Rewind and Start Again, which hit top 20. The song was also well received in many cities. It unfortunately peaked at #53 on CHR (tracked by Radio & Records(Billboard Information Group)). Koch Entertainment, Brandon Paris Band's record label, decided to release "Give Me a Reason" only a month after the release of Somebody to Hold, in hopes of getting better results, but to their dismay it was not enough to reach top 40 status. Only a couple months later it quickly lost its momentum on the radio once the funding towards radio promotion stopped. It was believed that the timing, and lack of funding for marketing the singles release was partially to blame. Topping off an already exceptional year, Brandon Paris Band was nominated for Best New Group or Solo Artist (CHR) by the Canadian Radio Music Awards in spring of 2007.[26]

2007 -–present: The Second Album[edit]

CD cover of Brandon Paris Band's second album.

In January 2007, Ellis and Devindisch were replaced by Brian Jasper on guitar and Brian Sanheim on bass. Paris started writing songs for the second album while working at his current job. The band members have all been working hard to follow up their break through album "Pocket Full of Holes". "We've been exploring all sorts of directions and have come up with an even more innovative sound with stronger lyrics and powerful hooks which we feel will get the attention not only from Canada again, but the USA as well", says Paris. Lyrics on every song are written by Brandon with two songs co-written with Dagriff ("masquerade" and "Twisted"), one song co-written with Marc Gladstone ("Don't Fade"), and one song co-written with the entire band, "Voice Inside My Head", All music is written by Bryan Jasper with additions and changes by the rest of the band, except three songs ("Don't Fade", "Voice Inside My Head" and "Never Get Enough")

From left: Brian Sanheim (bass), Brandon Paris, Chris Murray Driver, Marc Gladstone, Bryan Jasper & Dagriff, February 8th 2008

Pocket Full of Holes" was independently released in Canada December 1, 2008 in hopes of a big follow up of their breakthrough album On My Own. On November 3, 2008, Brandon Paris Band independently released their first single called "Say Goodbye" from their 2nd album titled “Pocket Full of Holes” to radio. "Say Goodbye", mixed by Mike Fraser (AC/DC; Hedley) and mastered by Adam Ayan [27] (Rolling Stones; Linkin Park), is currently receiving airplay across Canada, including reporting stations, digital stations and satellite. Additional credits on “Pocket Full of Holes” include Jeff Dawson[11][28] (State of Shock, Kelly Rowland, Daniel Powter, Marcy Playground; State of Shock), Sheldon Zaharko[29] (Salteens, Billy Talent, Smugglers, New Pornographers, Barney Bentall, Ridley Bent) at Vancouver's legendary Factory Studios,[30] (Juno-nominated) Joao Carvalho (Hedley, Alexisonfire, Protest the Hero, David Usher, Matthew Good, Holly McNarland) in Toronto.[31] To add to the success of "Say Goodbye",[32] a video was filmed for the song which was directed, shot, and edited by the lead singer himself with a $4.00 budget. The video has been downloaded thousands of times within weeks of its posting gaining quickly in popularity.

Current Personal Status[edit]

Brandon married Renee Lavigueur on July 28, 2007. Renee has also been involved with the marketing of Brandon's music to this present date.

Discography[edit]

Nominations[edit]

Brandon's pop/rock/reggae band, Brandon Paris Band, was nominated for Best New Group (CHR) in 2006 by the Canadian Radio Music Awards.[26]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "BRANDON PARIS "Solo Project"". Brandonparis.com. Retrieved 2010-02-20. 
  2. ^ a b c d Northshore Outlook newspaper Brandon Paris sees light on road to rock success Printed Thursday, November 17th, 2005
  3. ^ Edward Lee Video Productions Inc. listing Canadian Trade Index Directory ctidirectory.com
  4. ^ a b Edward Lee Accelerated Success by Edward Lee ProductivePublications.ca
  5. ^ a b Edward Lee Accelerated Success by Edward Lee humanresourcebooks.com
  6. ^ a b Edward Lee Accelerated Success by Edward Lee entinst.ca
  7. ^ Winnipeg Sun newspaper Troubled ex-Winnipegger rewinds and begins anew as a musician Printed Sun, May 4, 2006
  8. ^ a b Winnipeg Sun newspaper Starting Again Printed Sun, May 4, 2006
  9. ^ MapleRidge/Pitt Meadows News Artist from all corners create fusion Printed Wednesday, November 16th, 2005
  10. ^ Brandon Paris Band nominated for best new group Hipjoint Production 2007 News hipjointproductions.net
  11. ^ a b c http://www.jeffdawsonproductions.com
  12. ^ article on Reuters.com Canada's indie distributors start their own labels reuters.com
  13. ^ "www.tandemtracks.com". www.tandemtracks.com. Retrieved 2010-02-20. 
  14. ^ Canadian Music Week Canadian Radio Music Awards cmw.net
  15. ^ Brandon Paris Band nomination in 2006 for CRMA Canadian Radio Music Awards chartattack.com
  16. ^ Can Pages Edward Lee Video Productions listing Canpages.ca
  17. ^ a b Surrey Now newspaper Brandon Paris Band great therapy for demons Printed Thursday, November 17, 2006
  18. ^ Northshore Outlook newspaper Brandon Paris sees light on road to rock success Printed Saturday, March 11th, 2006
  19. ^ Surrey Leader newspaper Finding light out of darkness Printed Sunday, November 20th, 2005
  20. ^ "Lee" ranked 4th most used name in Taiwan Wikipedia Wikipedia, Chinese Names
  21. ^ Surrey Leader newspaper Reggae: Gives band signature sound November 20th, 2005
  22. ^ IMDB biography Patricia Dahlquist imdb.com/
  23. ^ Surrey Leader newspaper Reggae: Gives band signature sound, November 20th, 2005
  24. ^ "Hipjoint News 2007". Hipjointproductions.net. Retrieved 2010-02-20. 
  25. ^ "Tandem Tracks Promotions". Retrieved 2010-02-20. 
  26. ^ a b "Canadian Music Week 2009 - Canadian Radio Music Awards". Cmw.net. Retrieved 2010-02-20. [dead link]
  27. ^ "mastering engineer". Adam Ayan. Retrieved 2010-02-20. 
  28. ^ [1][dead link]
  29. ^ discogs Sheldon Zaharko discogs.com
  30. ^ news section Factory Studios thefactorystudios.com
  31. ^ Joao Carvalho Joao Carvalho Mastering joaocarvalhomastering.com/
  32. ^ "Brandon Paris Band - Say Goodbye". YouTube. 1 October 2008. Retrieved 2010-02-20.