Written BY JULIANNE UNGER
“Tonight we’re just here creating a bunch of beautiful ideas and mistakes. I think some of the best things happen from mistakes”. These are the words Brennen John spoke to a sold-out room of 200 people at Toasted Bar and Kitchen last Monday night as he celebrated the release of his debut EP, “Vanilla Espresso”.
John, who was in town on a break from his whirlwind tour as a member of Kanye West’s Sunday Service, kicked off the night doing affirmations with the crowd such as “abundance will seek and find me” and “turbulence will not disturb my destination”. You can tell by listening to John speak to the crowd that these are themes he utilizes both in his own life and music.
This project has been a long time coming for John. He tells me it’s been seven years in the making but he was waiting until he was in the right place spiritually and mentally to release it.
“I think now I’m the best person I’ve ever been and I’m more woke than I’ve ever been. I feel like God told me to do it and it was just easy.”
A carefully curated playlist of RnB and soul music flooded out of the speakers as people took photos in front of a step and repeat decorated with balloons and mingled through the crowd. The event was hosted by Taylor Morgan and Chavon B and featured live performances from artists such as Blanche J, Chris O’ Neil, Keisha Renee and John himself.
The EP features 4 songs including “When u call” and “i miss you”. These tracks are based off of personal experiences and life lessons John went through in his past, including the loss of a loved one and the end of a relationship.
When it came down to choosing the name of the project, John said he knew from the start exactly what it should be titled.
“My grandmother inspired the name. Vanilla cures fevers so when I was younger she would feed us vanilla as a cure for our souls and for fevers. A lot of time people go through fevers of emotion and they don’t know it. I wanted to mix that with my music so I called it “Vanilla Espresso”. The espresso part came from the mistakes and I make them a lot.”
John believes that both the mistakes and victories he has had in his life have led him to the path he is currently traveling down- including working with legendary recording artist Kanye West.
“Working with him has changed my life completely. I became a better Brennen, I became a better artist and businessman. Working for an icon like that is incredible. I grew up looking at him but I never thought I’d be able to work with someone like that,” John said about his now mentor, West. “To see him serve the way I do and in the same capacity I have is a beautiful thing and I’m overwhelmed to be able to experience it. We are not just a choir but individuals as well and he sees that. Being on the road is cultivating me and teaching me and I wouldn’t be here today. I pay homage to him because of the platform he gave me.”
You can tell by the way John speaks that he is currently living his dream. Passion and dedication encompass every word as he looks in towards the audience of people who showed up to support him. His face lights up as he scans the room. You can tell he feels an enormous amount of pride in the place he’s currently in and that journey he went through has been worth it.
But the journey for John isn’t over. He’s currently working towards his first album as well as continuing work with West and the Sunday Service choir as they embark on tour starting in early January.
“I think the future is bright for me. I want to see Oprah. The future looks like Oprah. It’s bright. The future looks like God and whatever it holds I’m ready. “
Photo by Eric McGill