Mom’s Choice Awards is excited to announce another post in our interview series where we chat with the inventors, designers, publishers, and others behind some of our favorite family-friendly products.
Hello, Mom’s Choice readers! We are delighted to have with us today the talented author of “The Beat in My Head,” Brandon Blackwell. This remarkable children’s book is not just a story; it’s a journey that resonates with every child who has ever felt a beat in their heart. With the power to inspire, it’s based on the true story of Brandon’s own path to becoming an audio engineer. He has created this tale to ignite the passions of young minds and encourage them to embrace their unique rhythms. For kids aged 4-7 and music enthusiasts of all ages, Brandon’s story is a harmonious celebration of finding one’s calling and following the beat that sets your soul on fire. Welcome, Brandon!
Hi Brandon, thank you so much for joining us today! Can we first start the interview off with you sharing a bit about your background and experiences?
From a young age, my unwavering passion for the music industry has been my guiding light. My journey began at the tender age of 9, where I found my groove mixing live sound for my local church in New Jersey. However, it was attending a transformative Sade concert in 2011 that crystallized my path, leading me to pursue my calling with full force.
My educational journey culminated in 2013 when I graduated from Full Sail University with a degree in Show Production and Touring. Armed with knowledge and fueled by ambition, I made a triumphant return to my hometown in New Jersey, where I planted the seeds of Blackwell Productions. This marked the inception of a remarkable odyssey that propelled me into the heart of the music industry.
My expertise flourished as I dived headfirst into the intricate world of monitor mixing for illustrious artists like Chaka Khan, Jennifer Hudson, The Isley Brothers, and Angie Stone. The pivotal moment arrived when I was summoned to mix monitors for the R&B icon Ne-Yo. This launched me into my first major tour, standing shoulder to shoulder with TLC as their Monitor Engineer and Production Manager.
My love for the road intensified, and I found myself on the stages of international sensations like Alicia Keys, Kendrick Lamar, Drake, Lizzo, Nicki Minaj, and more. Amidst my illustrious career, my heart yearned to give back. I extended my expertise to aspiring studio and live audio engineers, as well as students from pre-K to college, forging partnerships with Diversify the Stage, My Brother’s Keeper, and Guitars Over Guns Alliance through the Obama Foundation.
In 2023, my remarkable journey was etched in history as I was inducted into the Full Sail Hall of Fame. Alongside my wife Ariel, we added yet another accolade to our name – award-winning author. Together, we created ‘The Beat In My Head,’ a pioneering children’s book that demystifies audio engineering. My story is a testament to the power of passion, dedication, and the harmony of following your dreams and giving back.
Your journey in the music industry is undeniably inspiring. Can you share your journey to becoming a writer and what ignited your inspiration?
My journey into the realm of writing is a tale woven with personal experiences, passion, and a resolute desire to make a meaningful impact. The genesis of “The Beat Inside My Head” finds its roots in a fervent aspiration to illuminate a largely overlooked concern. As my wife and I embarked on this creative journey, our aim was clear: to bring attention to the struggles faced by children who grapple with focus-related challenges within the classroom. We understood that many of these children possess concealed talents and fervent interests, particularly in domains like music, that remain untapped due to conventional educational norms.
The driving force behind our book was the vision of a more inclusive educational landscape—one where both mothers and teachers play a pivotal role in recognizing and nurturing each child’s unique passions. Witnessing the transformative potential of embracing these interests, we were impassioned to create a resource that would not only spotlight the issue but also serve as a guide for those invested in a child’s growth and development.
What was your inspiration for writing “The Beat In My Head”?
Personally, my own journey through education was marked by difficulties in concentration, echoing the very struggles we sought to address. The rhythm and beat that consistently occupied my mind found their expression through desk-tapping and eventually led to my immersion in music. Overcoming academic challenges, I found my calling at Full Sail University, where I pursued a degree in Show Production & Touring. Graduating with a 3.6 GPA, I now stand as a testament to the potential that can be unlocked when passion and dedication are given the space they deserve.
Today, my journey has brought me to the remarkable role of a live touring audio engineer for some of the most renowned artists worldwide. This trajectory underscores the transformative power of recognizing and embracing one’s true passions. Through “The Beat In My Head,” we aspire to ignite similar transformations in the lives of countless young individuals, unlocking their hidden talents and guiding them towards a future rich with opportunities and fulfillment.
What has been the reception and feedback from your readers?
The response from readers to “The Beat In My Head” has been truly heartwarming and affirming of our mission. Many mothers have reached out, sharing their emotional stories and expressing a deep resonance with the challenges highlighted in the book. It’s incredibly touching to hear how our narrative has touched their lives and prompted them to reassess their child’s learning journey. This newfound understanding has led these mothers to adopt alternative approaches, nurturing their children’s interests by enrolling them in music classes and providing them with tools to explore their passions, like sound consoles.
Teachers, too, have played a significant part in shaping the conversation around our book. Their feedback underscores the importance of having a resource that recognizes the diverse learning styles and needs of students. We’ve been gratified by the appreciation teachers have shown for a perspective that emphasizes alternative pathways to learning, advocating against a one-size-fits-all approach or unnecessary medication. “The Beat In My Head” serves as a guiding light for educators, offering insights that empower them to reevaluate their disciplinary and teaching methods, fostering a more inclusive and supportive environment for every student.
Overall, the response we’ve received from readers reflects the profound impact our book has had on reshaping perspectives and approaches within both the home and classroom. It reaffirms our belief in the transformative power of recognizing and nurturing each child’s unique strengths and passions.
If you could ensure readers of your book walk away with one main lesson, what would it be?
If there’s one key lesson I would want readers to take away from our book, it’s this: your present situation does not dictate your future trajectory. I would encourage them to pursue their dreams with unwavering determination. The journey of following one’s dreams is a path marked by challenges, trials, and setbacks. It’s important to acknowledge that failures and rejections are not endpoints, but stepping stones towards growth and enlightenment. Each “no” or setback is merely a new opportunity waiting to be seized. Through embracing the difficulties, one gains invaluable wisdom and insight, ultimately realizing that the road to success is paved with determination, resilience, and a relentless pursuit of one’s passion.
What are your goals for “The Beat In My Head”?
Our aspirations for “The Beat In My Head” know no bounds. Ariel and I envision a future where the impact of our book expands far beyond its pages. We are excited to take our project to new heights by transforming it into an engaging and inspiring animation series that can reach even more young minds. Our goal is to create a multi-dimensional platform that not only continues to bring awareness to the challenges some children face in the classroom but also empowers them to embrace their passions and unique strengths. This animation series will allow us to connect with an even wider audience, enabling us to spread the message of embracing individuality and following one’s dreams on a larger scale. Beyond this, we are committed to exploring various avenues that will enable “The Beat In My Head” to create a lasting impact in the lives of children, parents, and educators alike. The possibilities are limitless, and we are dedicated to making a positive difference through our project.
Tell us about some of the future projects we can expect to see from you!
Ariel and I are thrilled to share that we have an array of exciting projects in the pipeline, all of which are fueled by our passion for education and creativity. While we’re keeping some details under wraps, I can give you a sneak peek into a few things to look forward to. We are actively working on expanding “The Beat In My Head” into an engaging and inspiring animation series, an endeavor that aims to bring its powerful message to life in a visually captivating way. Additionally, we’re exploring avenues to create more resources that cater to children’s unique learning needs and interests. From interactive workshops to supplementary educational materials, we’re dedicated to fostering a more inclusive and effective learning environment for students. Our commitment to empowering both parents and educators remains steadfast, as we continue to provide guidance and insights on nurturing children’s passions and potential.
We are truly excited about what’s on the horizon and can’t wait to unveil these projects to our readers. Stay tuned for updates, as we’re working diligently to bring our vision to fruition and make a positive impact in the lives of young learners and those who guide them.
You can learn more about Brandon Blackwell and his award-winning book, The Beat in My Head, by visiting his MCA Shop pages.