When Brandon Pacheco first began posting covers of his favorite songs on YouTube in June 2009, he didn't have any reason to believe they'd garner much attention beyond his immediate family. Since then he's become an accidental star; garnering over 600,000 hits on his various YouTube videos, and attracting the attention of music industry heavyweights who, like his growing fan base, find the thirteen-year-old singer's talent and irrepressible charm impossible to ignore.
Although Pacheco has been singing as long as he can remember, initially all he wanted to do with his music was to lift the spirits of his mother, Manuela – who lost her sight at age twenty-nine owing to complications arising from a bout of Glaucoma – and to reconnect his father's family, who he sees less often since his parents' divorce.
His first post was Taylor Swift's 'Our Song', a track chosen partly because it was his favorite song at the time, but also because he felt it was appropriate. "I was mostly doing it for my mom, to show her not all was lost, but also because I didn't see my dad's side of the family, so I started putting my stuff up on YouTube. Then I got into singing a lot."
Soon enough Pacheco found himself taking requests from friends at his east end Hamilton school, and posting tracks by Justin Bieber, Lady Gaga and others. The more he posted, the faster and farther word spread. "I remember coming home and my step dad was like, 'you hit a milestone', and I was like, 'what?' He's like 'it's a laaaaarge number.' I checked it out and it was 300,000 views. I was definitely overwhelmed."
Almost immediately, the sheer number of fans viewing his YouTube channel attracted attention from local media. Over the course of two days in July 2010 the young singer appeared on the cover of The Hamilton Spectator, had one of his videos featured in a national newscast on CHCH Television and was interviewed live by CHML 900's Scott Thompson.
Enter artist manager, 'Parkside' Mike Renaud… While Renaud primarily works with indie rock acts like Imaginary Cities and Said The Whale, the Spectator piece caught his attention, and after viewing Pacheco's growing catalogue of homemade pop videos he felt compelled to make contact. Initially, it was a courtesy call, Renaud says; a no strings attached offer of a friendly ear to answer any questions Pacheco and his family might have about the music industry. Soon enough however, charmed by Pacheco's story, and by the depth of expression he already commanded at such a young age, Renaud soon began searching for others to help nurture Pacheco's talent. "He's the real deal, a deserving talent; worthy of cultivation, worthy of getting a shot."
"I don't give up easily and I think I've used that to the best of my ability, and Parkside definitely helped be become better," says Pacheco. "I didn't have much self-esteem for singing before I met him, but then I kind of loosened my grip and now I'm much more confident." In the interim, Pacheco has taken every opportunity to display that confidence; performing 'Oh Canada' to a nearly sold out crowd at the Hamilton Ti-Cats 2010 season ender; taking first place in the 2010 'Hamilton Idol' contest, and, more recently, recording a four song EP with superstar songwriter/producer, Rob Wells (Justin Bieber, Nick Lachey, Mika) entitled Broke Up.
Most people, regardless of age or their experience behind the mic, might find recording with the person responsible for some of their own idol's biggest songs intimidating. But once in the studio, Pacheco tapped into the core sentiments that helped him find his voice in the first place and nailed his parts like a pro. Whether it's a track like 'Broke Up', which takes on the heartbreak and loneliness that is so much a part of growing up, or the irrepressibly hopeful 'Take Your Time', Pacheco's independent debut showcases not only the young singer's vocal chops, but his unique ability for displaying a range of emotion well beyond his years.
Recorded at Toronto's Sony ATV studios with Wells at the production helm, and featuring co-writes by Wells and Shelly Peiken (Christina Aguilera, Selena Gomez, Leanne Rimes), the Broke Up EP proves that true talent doesn't stand there and take it when life hands out the tough stuff; like Brandon Pacheco, it steps out, stands up and announces itself.
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