Brandon Corder has a way of making things look easy.
Having “always been musically inclined,” he says he began producing songs when he was about 18.
Corder’s passion and talent evolved into a profession that gained notice for the Flint native, linking his work with popular cable networks including MTV and VH1.
Without ever leaving the city he began a career that resulted in collaborations with high-profile rap artists like Big K.R.I.T., after winning a nationwide music competition that drew 100 other contestants. His newest endeavor, a music festival, has been touring the country for about two years while Corder’s profile as a music producer continues to increase.
He will discuss his journey at 6 p.m. Aug. 2 as featured guest in the “Conversation Peace: A Creative Mixer” series at Foster Coffee Co., 615 South Saginaw St. The gathering is designed to promote ideas and inspire Flint’s entrepreneurs to succeed.
“I just feel like I have a responsibility in pushing things forward,” says Corder, 33.
Along with continuing his own professional pursuits, which involve traveling between Flint and other cities, Corder has taken on a local role as mentor.
“I see a lot of things that can happen here, but they’re not going to happen if there’s not somebody here to help,” he says.
In his earliest days of exploring music and entertainment he found few options for learning how to navigate the industry. As part of the Flint-based production duo, Foreign Allegiance, Corder and his partner mostly had themselves to depend on for resources and direction.
A pivotal moment arrived in 2009 when Corder produced music for Curren$y, an underground rapper.
“That was my first breakthrough,” he says. “This was like a next-level situation.”
In 2010 Corder briefly moved to New York and a few years later he produced an album, Beats x Beers, a title that inspires his ongoing live concert series.
“I like creating events and I thought ‘Beats x Beers’ could be more than just the name of an album. I thought it was a good name for a festival,” he says.
“Beats x Beers” premiered in 2015 at the South by Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas, which Corder attends annually.
“The smartest thing that we did was use our relationships with the artists we had,” he says. “So we didn’t have to go around trying to start a show and get performers with people asking ‘Who are you?’”
Since the first “Beats x Beers,” which Corder’s website describes as “a lifestyle brand centered around music culture,” the event has visited Los Angeles, Seattle, Atlanta, Memphis and other cities. The first event in Flint was held July 4, 2017 as part of the Flint Water Festival and featured performances by Lyric Da Queen and other artists.
“It went great. There were people saying they hadn’t seen that many people on the waterfront in a long time,” Corder says.
A highlight of “Beats x Beers Flint” was its tribute to late recording artist MC Breed, who helped put the city on the hip hop map in the late 1990’s.
“I want to have all generations come out to this event, so we can have something that’s for the 20-year-old and have something for the 40-year-old,” says Corder.
“Beats x Beers” nationwide promotion has grown in popularity. One of this year’s stops generated 20,000 online RSVPs, which Corder says is the tour’s biggest numbers for a single show. He’s also used the event’s profile to help educate communities that have supported it, launching “Beats x Books” in Atlanta at Morehouse College. The seminar is a platform that lets professionals discuss their success with those aspiring to learn more about the music industry.
Corder’s many other accomplishments include launching a monthly “Beats x Beers” party that was based at a club in Hollywood. California connections also led to Corder’s producing music for O’Shea Jackson Jr., actor and son of rap great Ice Cube. A video produced for Jackson’s track, “OMG,” has generated almost 1.5 million YouTube views and “Ain’t No Place,” a second track Corder produced, has generated 700,000 Spotify streams.
Corder has worked with gospel rapper Lecrae in Lecrae’s collaboration with Dee-1, and even become a self-taught deejay after scoring a commercial for United Kingdom-based company Hercules, which manufactures dee-jay equipment.
He’s begun using “Beats x Beers” to help expose Flint-based artists like Velly Beretta to the entertainment scene outside of Michigan.
“The world is so much bigger than Flint,” he says.
Corder hopes to do for artists like Audio Push, an act he advises, what Bernard Terry did for Corder when even fewer music industry veterans were within local reach. Terry produced Flint, 1980’s R&B act, “Ready for the World.”
“I give him a lot of credit for saying certain things that stuck with me for the course of my entire career,” adds Corder.
Themes of his “Conversation Peace” chat will include determination and focus.
“The message is – just because we’re from Flint and have all these things that we’re faced with, it doesn’t mean we can’t prevail, creatively,” he says. “I spent so much time recognizing and figuring out how I’d have to get things done.
“Whatever you desire, go after that. The only hindrance is you. Being in Flint isn’t an excuse, limited resources aren’t an excuse. It’s only an excuse if you make it one. I wouldn’t have anything on my resume if I didn’t just step out and trust that things would work out – and work at it.”
For tickets to “Conversation Peace” Aug. 2 please click here.
To learn more about Beets X Beers visit their website