Is it possible to grow up in Malibu and not go Hollywood? Just ask natives Brandon Jenner and Leah Felder. Passing on the Sunset Boulevard nightlife, they chose instead to spend their time surfing and singing on bonfire-lit beaches. Today, as recording artists, Brandon & Leah try to capture in their music the balmy summertime spirit of their hometown. Judging by their debut album and single, “Life Happens,” they pull it off with ease.
Produced and co-written by Brandon and Leah, the new album showcases the duo’s high, bright sound: plenty of ukulele and upfret acoustic guitar, Caribbean-flavored beats and Leah’s honeyed lead vocals. They tend to write about the myriad connections and disconnections between people, but the mood is always light and fun. “Everything is groove based,” adds Brandon. “We like things with a positive, beach vibe. If our songs don’t make you want bob your head, then we haven’t done our job.” That explains the album’s first track and debut single, the upbeat “Life Happens.”
That spirit comes naturally to the pair, who have known each other since their school days in Malibu, which Leah remembers fondly as “a little surf town.” In their teens, Brandon and Leah starting writing and performing together, honing an acoustic pop style. Both loved what Brandon calls “beachy” music – Ben Harper and Bob Marley are favorites – which they wove into their sound, with Leah front and center.
Pairing up with ace songwriters such as Boots Ottestad and Rune Westberg, as well as co-producers like Jorge Vivo, Mario Caldato, Jr., and Jochem van der Saag, Brandon & Leah put together the album they’d always dreamed of. Notes Brandon: “Someone once said paying your dues isn’t getting in a van and driving around the country; it’s figuring out what you want to do sonically and finding your niche. We were always honest about how we feel.”
With the new album, single and “Life Happens” video from Funk Factory Films, Brandon & Leah are set to take on the world. And with so much momentum going for the duo, the world had better get ready for a captivating new musical vision. “We can’t wait on anyone to say yes,” says Leah, who is fired up and ready to go. “We’re responsible for our own future.”
We also support the Los Angeles Youth Network.