A Bethany College graduate who now teaches music at the University of Kansas will spend a portion of 2024 in the recording studio.
According to KU, the way Brandon Draper heard it all his life, it was the impending birth of his older sister that cost his keyboardist father a chance to audition for the Rolling Stones. In reality, he learned a few years ago — only when his dad thought he could handle it — it was his own birth in 1979 that compelled Paul Draper to rebuff guitarist Keith Richards’ 1981 entreaties to travel from Kansas to jam with the “world’s greatest rock ’n’ roll band” at an East Coast recording studio.
Now an associate professor of the practice at the University of Kansas School of Music, percussionist Brandon Draper will try to make it up to his father when he makes their Draper Family Band’s debut blues-rock recording the first of 10 he will release in 2024 under a new deal with Symphonic Distribution LLC.
Brandon Draper’s own record label — Looking Up Productions — signed with Symphonic, a Tampa, Florida-based company that works with independent artists, in November.
Oz McGuire, KU music school graduate and friend of Brandon Draper, was named Symphonic’s vice president for artists and repertoire (A&R) and business development back in 2022, and he reached out to Brandon Draper to see what the multi-instrumentalist might have in his recording vault. McGuire had heard some of the ethereal music Brandon Draper has created to accompany meditation.
Brandon Draper said, “I told him, ‘Man, I’ve got more than just meditation stuff. I have 10 years’ worth of audio that I just recorded for me. I never had a place for it to go.’ And now he’s the conduit.”
Brandon Draper said that he released “Meditation Music, Vol. 1” on his own in 2018, but he planned to withdraw it from streaming services to re-release it through Looking Up via Symphonic.
“Me self-releasing it is like riding a scooter, and Oz releasing it is like a fleet of semi-trucks, and he’s in a Lamborghini leading the pack,” Brandon Draper said. “He has a way bigger reach. So the X amount of streams that I have received from my release … it’s done. It’s not gonna go much further. It had a bubble when it came out, and now it’s gone. But now it can have another life.”
The single “Aim All Around” by the Draper Family Band, with Paul Draper on the Hammond B3 organ, will be Brandon Draper’s first release on the Looking Up Productions label, scheduled for Feb. 2.
“My goal is that the first single from the Draper Family Band is released as soon as possible so I can start gaining some traction with that for summertime festival gigs,” Brandon Draper said.
Among the other recordings that Brandon Draper will release this year through Symphonic is one by Drum Safari, which has been his summertime job for several years. It’s a participatory, educational exercise in percussion for kids.
The other releases set for this year include:
- Draper-Towne – organ-duo jazz.
- DJB Nu Trios — jam band.
- Brandon Draper Quintet live — modern jazz
- Brandon Draper – “Meditation Music Vol. 2” featuring the hand pan, a type of steel drum.
- Brandon Draper – “Summer of 808” re-release featuring the Roland TR-808 Rhythm Composer.
“I never stopped recording and making all this music,” Draper said. “I just never had the energy or the time to put into getting it out to people. But it’s all done, and now I have the label that I can send it to.”
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Photo via University of Kansas