SHEARE reflects the reimagined, revamped version of Brooklyn-based singer-songwriter Brandon Sheer. A performer since the age of 17, it wasn’t until he made the shift from Sheer to SHEARE this past year that he truly gained traction as a not-fully-classifiable addition to the indie-pop music world. In the past few months, he’s released two singles of the self-coined “Capri Sun Pop” genre. “Restless” racked up 30K streams within days of its release and follow up “THRILLZ” is approaching the same number. SHEARE's vocals have been featured in Benny Benassi’s “I Keep Running,” and his music videos have premiered on Teen Vogue, PopCrush, and Galore.
While gliding along the cusp between under-the-radar and next-big-thing, SHEARE talked with us about his new singles, what he plans to do on New Year’s Eve, and how to get points added to your cool card.
Rawckus: Tell us about your newest single out this November, “THRILLZ,” and the genre you call “Capri Sun Pop.”
SHEARE: I wrote “THRILLZ” in response to the ups and downs of being an artist. When I wrote the lyrics “I do it for the thrill of it,” I meant it almost in a sarcastic, tongue-in-cheek kind of way. I do music because I love it, not because there’s guaranteed success or glory in doing it.
“Capri Sun Pop” just kind of came to me. As a delightful sugary drink of choice for many kids of the '90s (myself included), it just felt fitting for the summer-y aesthetic of my new singles.
“THRILLZ” is more dance-y than your first single, “Restless.” What were the different processes and intentions behind the two?
S: “THRILLZ” was a unique process as it was the first time I wrote the song, produced the track, then sent it off to be mixed within a week or so. I wanted a song that lived in the same neighborhood as “Restless,” but felt a little more upbeat and shiny. If “Restless” was like a Prius, “THRILLZ” was a Prius with a fire-breathing dragon spray painted on the hood [laughs].
What do you have in store for us in 2017?
S: Right now I’m finishing production on my EP and then I'm going to start rolling out the first single from that in the early part of the new year. I’m really excited about the direction of it. It still has that sunny pop vibe but it’s a little darker. It feels like the transition from summer to fall.
Where will you be when the ball drops on New Year’s Eve?
S: Man, I was supposed to go to see Kanye on NYE. Really sad to hear what he’s going through right now, but I’m happy there’s more awareness and discussion about mental health as a result. It’s actually my brother’s birthday on NYE, so I’ll likely be doing something with him. NYE in NYC is kind of a shit show to be honest [laughs], so staying indoors with lots of wine is always a fun option.
How did you do with your 2016 resolutions? Any new ones for 2017?
S: I tend to not do New Year’s resolutions. I feel like you should treat every day like it’s a new resolution if you’re dissatisfied with something about your life. It’s good to work on yourself year-round.
Tell us about your love of fashion. Where does it stem from, how do you express it, and what’s your favorite cold-weather style?
S: I am a fan of fashion [laughs]. I think my Mom deserves a lot of the credit. She has the dopest style of all time. She really exposed me to fashion from an early age and it’s become a second love for me. I just love to layer. If I can look like a well-put-together person, who may or may not have also just rolled out of bed that day, I’ve succeeded.
You’re a born-and-bred New Yorker, from Manhattan to Brooklyn. How does the city affect your music, and how do you see your music as a part of – or set apart from – the current music trends?
S: I think if you’re an artist in NYC you automatically get five points added to your cool card. It’s just a harder lifestyle here in some ways. We’re all hemorrhaging money by choosing to live here, so the hustle is so alive. That’s what I love about New York. No one’s car is parked in the driveway at 3 pm on a Tuesday like in LA. Everyone’s out there grinding and there’s not really any time or room to become complacent.
I think musically I’m in a gray area. There’s not a ton of male solo artists doing pop on an indie level, particularly in Brooklyn. No one sits there and asks, “Is this Zayn record cool enough?”, because it doesn’t matter, he’s Zayn. But if you’re not Zayn, there’s a little bit of “too cool for school” snobbery that goes on here. NYC-based artists like Passion Pit can sell out MSG here but never be played on commercial radio, so it’s a bit of a trade-off. I will say, when NYC artists do break out it’s usually in a massive way and after a long time of struggling (i.e., Lady Gaga, Lana Del Rey, Rachel Platten, etc.).
If “Restless” was like a Prius, “THRILLZ” was a Prius with a fire-breathing dragon spray painted on the hood.
What is it about your “musical man crush” Max Martin that draws you to his work?
S: I’ve loved Max Martin’s work forever, Ace of Base years we’re talking. He just has the ability to make something so complex – writing and producing great pop music – seem simple. Everyone thinks pop music is simple, but I personally think it’s far more difficult to make something massively accessible than it is to make something uber cool for a small scale of people.
What was it like collaborating with Benny Benassi on “I Keep Running”?
S: It was great. I just saw him over the weekend actually in NYC. He’s such a lovely dude. His managers and the people at Ultra are all genuinely kind and supportive, which is a rarity in the music industry. I’m super grateful to have worked with him and hopefully will continue to do so.
What do you want your listeners to take away from your music?
S: That pop music and music with depth aren’t mutually exclusive concepts. You can have radio accessible songs that also have emotion and introspection. Adele has made a career out of doing just that–NOT that I’m anywhere close to her scale of greatness. She’s on another planet, while I’m still on Earth trying to figure out how to zip my space suit up [laughs].
How would you describe your musical progression so far?
S: I think a few years ago I was trying to make music that was a little grandiose. I still love stadium rock, but I realized I wanted to make something a little more scaled down. Not run before I could crawl, so to speak.
Anything else you would like to add?
S: I’m just trying to celebrate the tiny victories right now in my career and appreciate them while they’re happening. Hopefully I’ll be fortunate enough to look back at these times when I was relatively unknown and struggling and miss them. Until then, I’m going to keep swimming and releasing music I love and believe in. Everything else will one day follow.