The struggle of the artist is a story we've heard many times before. After all, not everyone can be successful. The world of the musically gifted is limited, and rightfully so - it is reserved solely for true talent.
Meet Michael Brun, a 21-year-old Haitian native who's been making a tremendous journey into the electronic music world. Teenlink recently sat down with Michael to talk about his past, his present, and his quickly arriving future.
Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Brun began playing music at a very young age. By age 6, he was learning to play the piano, guitar and violin, becoming versed in musical technique and art. Yet as he played his instruments, he also heard another tune—the tune of poverty instilled in Haiti.
Teenlink: Can you tell me more about your reality in Haiti?
Brun: "Haiti is a beautiful country that has gone through many hardships that have led to its current unstable state. I've seen the difficult conditions that so many people live through, and that has made me especially thankful for the blessings I have had in my life. I’ve become acutely aware of the need to help others who don’t have the same opportunities. The idea of community building is extremely important to me."
And so, in his sophomore year of high school in Haiti, Brun moved to the United States in hopes of becoming a doctor. Attending Indiana's Culver Military Academy, Brun saw many opportunities to develop himself in many facets. While his dream of practicing medicine was very much alive, it was then, at age 16, that he begun experimenting with electronic music. As time passed on, Brun become more directly involved with his hobby as he attended Davidson College in North Carolina.
Teenlink: How did the role of music production change for you from high school to college?
Brun: "It was sometime during my senior year at Culver that I realized how much I loved producing music, and that was when I started putting in extended hours to develop my technique and find my own sound."
To test his music, Brun began posting on different sites and blogs. It wasn't long before he saw interest. His unofficial remix of Angus and Julia Stone's "Big Jet Plane" achieved rapid acclaim on The Hype Machine, an instantaneous music-ratings aggregator. Soon after, Brun was contacted by several blogs, and as attention grew to him, landed his first contract with Revealed Recordings in August 2011.
Teenlink: How did your musical career finally launch?
Brun: "After my music started getting blog coverage, it caught the ear of a few artists. That led to the signings of my first singles on Revealed and Phazing records. It was a pretty amazing feeling to see those songs chart well on Beatport and also get support from some of my favorite artists. It was a big indicator for me that I was heading in the right direction. I took a leave of absence from Davidson, and decided to pursue music head-on."
By then, all sorts of DJs were playing his first singles, "Dawn" and "Rise," in their live set-lists. The prominent Ferri Corsten and Thomas Gold were among the first to recognize Brun's talent—but for Brun, most critical support came from the acclaimed Dirty South.
Teenlink: What was Dirty South's role in supporting your rise in the music scene?
Brun: "Dirty South had a musical direction that I really admired, so working with Phazing, his label, gave me an outlet to develop my sound and release music for a new audience."
As his career launched, Brun garnered a lot of interest from his listeners, and subsequently, from other labels. After performing in 2012’s ULTRA Music Festival, it was time for him to make a very important decision: his choice of manager.
Teenlink: What defined your choice in manager?
Brun: "I realized that I needed to find a manager that I clicked with and trusted, and Brun Sultan was the one that stood out for me. He believed in me from the beginning and shared my vision on how to direct my career. He was also the one who got me signed at WME. It's once I started working with him that my career finally became serious."
Now settled as an artist, Michael Brun's career is just beginning. But not forgetting his roots, he plans to give back to Haiti in any way he can.
Teenlink: What happened to your plans to become a doctor? (Do you think you'll return to Davidson? What are your plans for Haiti now?)
Brun: "School and medicine are very important to me, and I still plan on going back to school sometime in the future. I still want to help Haiti, and depending on my future, will make sure to do so."
In September 2013, Brun released his debut EP, Gravity EP, which hit No. 2 on Beatport, only second to Avicii. In the fall of that same year, he remixed official tracks for Calvin Harris, Tiësto, Armin van Buuren, and Alicia Keys. So this coming year is promising.
Teenlink: What are your plans for 2014?
Brun: "My focus in 2014 will be to release quality music and put on great live shows. I've been working hard on some new concepts that I'm very excited to debut."
Catch electronic music prodigy Michael Brun at next week's ULTRA Music Festival. He’ll be performing on Sunday, at the Main Stage.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun