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Brandi Little: "The Essence OF Art, The Acceptance OF Pain"

Shronda Armstrong

Nov 1, 2022

Thank you so much for gracing this issue! You have such an infectious energy, the moment we finished our interview, I had to ask you to be on the cover! One of the main things that stood out about you for me was your sincere perspective on being an activist for hope. Can you tell us more about how you describe yourself as a “Hope Dealer?”

Thank you so much for having me be apart of this amazing movement. I was so honored when you asked me to be a feature. I consider myself the hope dealer for serval reasons, like many of us I have experienced a lot in life. Constant battles in the physical as well as mentally, and no matter the storm I have never given up on hope. No matter how dark the days have been I’ve always held on to the fact that brighter days were to come. I always relate my life to a story out of the Bible that has yet to be written, nothing was perfect but every experience I’ve gone through was on purpose to leave purpose and a sense of hope to those that come after me. To always remember that no matter the circumstances there is always hope for a better tomorrow. I’m the dealer of hope because I have never given up hope.

You are a singer, songwriter and actress that is on the move! Your new album entitled “Bloom” is an eclectic compilation of beautiful music. With song titles such as “Different”, “Pray for You” and “Fairy Tales” your style not only showcases such a unique, sensational voice but you also seem to speak to matters that all women can relate to: being different, dreaming big, and experiencing love. How has your music been a direct reflection of the experiences you have had in your life as a woman?

BLOOM is such a special project to me. Truly an expression of all I was feeling and experiencing during the making of the album. I was falling in love with my lover and myself. I was finding healing in my past wounds and courage to love again out loud. After so many failed relationships I began to self-inflict unnecessary pain and guilt onto myself. I blamed myself for all the pain I had endured throughout my life. That’s too much weight for anyone to carry. BLOOM was entitled that for a specific reason, I was finally growing through the mud, I was no longer allowing the shame to dictate my future. I saw the beautiful in the struggle. I finally saw the bloom. It was much more than an album to me it was an expression of healing through music.

Another part of the conversation regarding healing is the struggle in which many of us have with self-forgiveness. It is so hard for us to really embrace self-love and offer grace to ourselves which in turn can actually halt our healing process. How were you able to find a place of peace and in order to forgive yourself?

I was at my lowest when I found myself. I had no one to turn to, I couldn’t quickly pick up the phone and call one of my friends, I couldn’t google how to feel better, I didn’t even have access to all the music I loved. I had no escape from my reality. All I could do was get to know myself. I started journaling and expressing all my emotions. I wrote down everything I could remember about my day and some days I would write multiple times in a day. I started reading books on the mind and how to master your emotions. I started to find God on a level I had never tapped into before. I started to forgive myself and let go of all the responsibility of the pain I have endured. I decided that I mattered, and I was important, even if no one else in the world believed it I knew I had to. I knew that God had forgiven me and had given me grace when others could barley look at me. In that moment I knew I deserved to give myself that same grace.

The Essence of Art, the Acceptance of Pain” is an amazing quote of yours. Pain is an experience that can either make us, break us or take us. Pain can take us out with the scars of unhealed wounds, while breaking us when we operate our daily lives from a place of pain. The acceptance of pain is such a powerful tool. When we accept our pain, we can then begin to use pain to our advantage in gaining our purpose. Out of all the tracks, which song would you feel represents the notion of healing the most?

That was so beautifully said. I believe my Outro on the album entitled Bloom is the most healing song. I go on a journey from how my life started and some of the things I’ve endured, but the end of the song I say “she finally decided that she knew how to fly” that’s my favorite line off the own album. It’s amazing what setting your own self free can do. Once you let go of the shame and the fear you can live a life full of purpose and passion, you can motivate others, you can follow your dreams, you can fall in love. You can live life the way it was designed to be lived. We are all going to make mistakes, it’s apart of the journey. We have to let go of the perception of perfection.

I love the track “Different.” It’s such a fresh song! Who are your musical influences and what song(s) is currently on rotation in your playlist? And how important is it to not only create songs that entertain but also tell a story?

I have a huge range of musical influences. I grew up in the Deep South so all genres have a special place in my life. The first song I learned to sing was Achy Breaky Heart by Billy Ray Cyrus. I also have a heavy influence from church groups like The Canton Spirituals. I grew around music, I sang in the choir as a child, I played the flute in middle school and studying choir all throughout High School. Music is embedded in my spirt. It’s hard for me to say just a few artists or even one genre that has influenced me. But any music you can feel the moment you press play, that’s the music that has influenced me.

You seem to have a style of your own—not just in your music, but also in the way you carry yourself. You’re a gorgeous woman who stands out unapologetically! How were you able to not only gain confidence but also fight off insecurities—if any–in a world that sometimes thrives on conformity and unoriginality?

Thank you. So much that was so beautiful and kind of you to say, and honestly, it's taken me a very long time to feel that same way about myself. I feel that my unapologetic approach to living my life came from living the opposite way majority of my life. I’ve always felt like a fish out of water, and I never really fit into the mold that others did. I’ve always done things my own way, and I once thought that was a bad thing. Now I realize that’s everyone's superpower, genuinely being proud of who you are. Dealing with insecurities has been a part of my life for as long as I can remember. I've just started to find myself and accept myself for who I am. When insecurities do come up I remind myself of how wonderful and divine I am and not because of how I look but because of what is inside. It is truly everything that's inside of me that cultivates my beauty and makes me who I am.

“No matter how dark life may get, there is always a tomorrow.” It is beautiful how you have labeled your fans as “Little Lillies.” It is a perfect complement to album title “Bloom” and a wonderful representation of the spiritual meaning of lilies, which is new life and rebirth. As a “pusher of hope”, what affirmations could you offer to women who may be feeling a sense of hopelessness in their lives?

It's funny how I started calling my fans The little Lilies. A friend of mine told me that I needed to come up with a name for my supporters. She said, “you know, you can even call them the littles" We laughed and said it was cute. I looked up the spiritual meaning of lilies and when I looked it up, I was in awe, I was in amazement that the spiritual meaning of lilies is rebirth, to die and be reborn. To be replenished and made new. And so, it went from a joke to a whole movement. Some really great affirmations are, I am loved, I am love, I come from greatness and that’s all I create, I am worthy, I am healing, I am becoming more powerful than the day before. Talk to yourself and encourage yourself during the days that seem weary. Encourage yourself in the Lord. Remember that the season you are in is only but a moment even though some days it may feel like a lifetime. Know that the darkness is the only way to see your light, to honor it. When you finally see just how bright you are. How much power you possess. Find yourself in the place of brokenness.

Lastly, a huge part of healing is how we learn to embrace self-love. Self-love helps us identify our brokenness and opens up the opportunity to realize we are worthy and deserving of peace, happiness, love and healing. How has self-love played a role in your self-forgiveness, second chance and healing journey?

Self-love, healing and forgiveness all of these things are only possible by truly forgiving yourself. I believe that forgiving yourself is what activates self-love. So, for me, once I finally said I am not going to walk around in shame anymore that I was going to hold my head up high no matter what. It was when I decided I was going to be proud and not prideful, that I was going to be proud of who I am as an individual.

highly recommend you have a moment of peace with yourself, pull out your notebook write down all the things that you've done and read it aloud to yourself and forgive yourself for it all. It’s not your weight to carry. We were created to be able to be free in our expression and in our truth. And when we make mistakes, we have a creator who carries all of that weight for us. Set yourself free.

Thank you so much for gracing our magazine! Congratulations as well for being a cover feature for the first time! It is an honor for me to be a part of such a special milestone for you! I know this is just the beginning of many more cover features to come! What can we expect next from you?

Thank you so much for having me. No matter how many magazines covers to come there will always be my first one and I’m so happy that a magazine with such a powerful message is the way it started. I’m working on my second album now and looking forward to dropping a few singles soon. I’m planning on touring in the next few months. I’m also back acting and have some very special films I’m working on. Overall, I’m excited to continue growing the community of little lilies and what we all stand for. I want to continue pushing the movement of healing, hope and self-love.

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