Brandyn Burnette, who now goes by EMAN8, is a soul-pop singer-songwriter and 3rd generation musician with music running through his veins like blood. And he’s written songs for big names in music from Charlie Puth to EXO.
Burnette was born in Florida and after moving around to various places, his family finally settled in St. Louis, MO. His family has their own long and wide musical history. His father was a Capital Records R&B artist in the 80s known as O’Bryan. He was most known for songs like “The Gigolo,” and Soul Train’s “Soul Train’s A Coming.” His great uncle was even in one of the first ever ska-reggae groups, The Folkes Brothers, in the 60s.
Music came naturally to Burnette. By the age of seven he was learning the piano, and by age 13, the guitar too. He even attended NYU for musical theater and acting. Around this time, he had started playing gigs and recording demos. His refreshing songwriting eventually caught the attention of industry execs.
He became a songwriter accidentally and was even signed to Warner Bros. Records. But after not being able to release his own music with his earliest songs going to other artists, the singer left in 2014 for bigger and better things. He now has over 80 original songs under his belt.
Burnette describes his music as, “Uplifting and organic. Soulful and eclectic. Passionate and conscious.”
His recent song “Inspired” that he wrote with fellow singer-songwriters Molly Moore and Lizzy Land, someone who just quit her job to pursue music full-time, is exactly those things. “I wrote inspired about the struggles of pursuing your passion,” he told The Michigan Journal. “[Lizzy’s] story inspired me to write a song depicting the struggles of artistry and the intentions behind chasing a dream.”
When talking about what inspires him, he talked about his family, songwriters like John Mayer and Sam Cooke, but also producers like Dr Dre and J Dilla. “A lot of my sound is influenced by growing up in the church too,” he said.
His single “Amen” came in 2018 with the debut of a new stage name, EMAN8, which comes from his middle name Emanate. A1234 says, “Genre bending, an uplifting vocal, exceptional production talents and playful lyrics. All of these things come together to demonstrate why EMAN8 is a real talent and has the capabilities to make a big impact on the music world.” The song even makes a reference to EXO’s “Kokobop” with a line that goes “shimmie shimmie kokobop.”
His most recent single “IOU” featuring Kid Quill is song you have to listen to with the windows down on a warm sunny day, the type of song that immediately puts you in a good mood. Burnette’s soulful voice and addicting melodies will be stuck in your head all day.
But if there’s a song you should listen to first before the rest, it’s “State I’m In.”
“I wrote half of it when I was 15 and the other half when I was 25,” he said. “It was also the first song I produced for myself.”
Burnette even got the opportunity to write a song for K-pop group EXO in 2017. After being set up in a session with EXO’s producers by his company Sony ATV, they wrote the popular track “Been Through” from EXO’s winter album “Universe” in 2017.
“The experience was incredible, EXO’s fans are so passionate and interactive,” Burnette told the Michigan Journal. “When I shared the song for the first time I’m pretty sure the EXO fan base broke my Twitter. To this day, EXO fans seem to be one of the most supportive and strongest fan army in the world.”
Burnette does hope to write more for EXO, but he did reveal that he’s been writing for other K-pop groups. He can’t talk about the details yet though, “Let’s just say that I am definitely working on more Kpop music!” he said.
Burnette has clear goals when it comes to his music other than selling albums and making money, “[I want] to help people heal,” he said. “To share positive vibrations through my music. Even if the subject matter is difficult.”
In 2019, the singer plans to release his first album, which is coming this summer. Even though he wants to release his own music, he still hopes to continue writing songs for other artists, and especially wants them to get on the radio. He also wants to go a on world tour someday, and even start acting in TV shows and movies.
Burnette’s advice for aspiring singers and songwriters like him: “Don’t give up on your great songs. Never stop writing. Trust your own voice. Be open to collaborate. But don’t change for anyone!”