Prince Ivan - 10 Questions Music Interview
Was there something (an experience) or someone in your life that was the "catalyst" for you to start writing music? Tell us about it.
In all honesty, we both wrote our first song together in 2009 just for fun, and really with no firm plans of pursuing a career in music. After that initial song, though, we started writing a little more and realized that we had a knack for it, and that eventually led to us having the vision for Prince Ivan. Our vision at the time was to create “Guilt Free,” Top 40 music, and our mission over the past decade has been to do exactly that. Our most recent album “The Preface” is our best effort so far and we’re super proud of it.
Let's get this out of the way. What is the CRAZIEST thing that has ever happened to you in your music career?
Well, we had to bail a musician out of jail one time for a gig. So, there’s that. We probably shouldn’t go into any more detail, but we were like, “Is this really happening?” That’s when we knew we were real rock stars.
Another one happened last January on the way to freezing cold Nebraska. The van pulling the tour trailer blew its transmission and we had to rent a truck and a car to get to the gig. And we were the only two who could drive the vehicles. And Brydon probably had COVID before it was a thing. It was miserable.
What has been the high point of your music path?
These past two years have been a rising high point. We were about to dissolve our group back around Christmas of 2018. We’d had a hard talk, and decided to take the Christmas break, come back together, then decide how we’d want to proceed. The blessing was that we came back together with humility and with renewed vision, and since we recommitted to pursuing our vision and our dreams, we’ve been blessed to have an upward trajectory in all aspects of our business since then. We’re excited about the progress that we’ve made up until now, and we see that the sky's the limit as long as we stay committed to the grind, to each other, and to our values.
So, how do you approach songwriting or what is your creative process like?
It varies a little bit, but most of the time it starts with a musical hook or an idea for a song title. Then, sit down at the piano and start figuring it out. Some of the music we’ve been writing lately has been fueled by us wanting to share a specific message about unity and bridge building, so that process has been a little different because the intellectual concept has come first, and we try to share the depth of the message while still having catchy musical hooks. Sometimes it’s easy to get caught up in trying to say everything you want to say, so another rule that we try to keep in mind is “If it sounds good, it is good.”
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Indie Artists today? Or, if you could ask the music industry to change one thing, what would it be?
The biggest challenge for any artist, indie or not, is to create a sustainable business, make music their full-time income and quit their full-time job. We’re blessed because we make all of our money in the music/entertainment industry, but we’re still trying to build our streams of revenue for Prince Ivan so that Prince Ivan can be our full-time income and we don’t have to take all of the other jobs we take to provide for our families. So, navigating the production, marketing, management and money elements of our business to actually make money has been the biggest challenge for us. As far as what the music industry could change, it would be great if it wasn’t so hard to figure out how to monetize your music from a publishing and royalties standpoint. There is a lot of money being left on the table for most indie artists and you really have to do some hard core research to figure out the puzzle. So yeah, demystifying the legal, licensing, royalties and publishing game would be great.
If you could share the stage with one other artist or band, who would it be and why?
For Brydon, it would be Earth, Wind and Fire. Our music wouldn’t necessarily mesh well, but I would love to sing some of their songs with them some day. For Aaron, I know it’s not possible at this point, but I would’ve loved to have been a background singer or even part of the tech crew for Michael Jackson. To feel the energy surrounding his live performances would’ve been a dream come true.
What are your rehearsals generally like? Or, how do you prepare for a live show?
We really try to put a lot of effort into our live show, so there is always a lot of strategy, flow analysis, script writing, lighting programming, video programming, etc. that goes into it on the front end. Then, depending on the gig, we just do as much rehearsal as we need to in order to be ready. We try to customize every show we do to the venue and the audience, so while the basic template of “The Preface” show is essentially the same for this album cycle, we’re always updating it with new content or specializing it for the gig we’re doing. We want our show to feel fresh whether it’s your first time or hundredth time seeing it.
Pick one song that was your greatest challenge to write. Tell us about it!
Actually, there’s one song that we still haven’t written that just continues to elude us. It’s just not ready to be written. Aaron got the chords for it years ago and we’ve had the concept and hook for a long time, too. But every time we sit down to write it, it just isn’t the right time yet. We think we have to grow as people before we can write it. It’s such a big idea that we’re both passionate about and we want to get it right. So, hopefully someday we’ll be able to grow into the song, write it, and release it. That’s definitely been interesting though.
What's coming up in the future?
We have A LOT of new music coming in 2021. We’re amped about it. The coolest thing we’re doing though is a new album called “The Unity Album.” Our goal is to bring some love, truth and unity to the conversation about racism, social justice and the heavy division we’re seeing culturally right now. We feel like this is going to be a special project and we can’t wait to finish it.
Tell us where fans can access your music?
Stream on Spotify
About Prince Ivan
In these troubling, divisive times, as we engage in more and more soul searching to found our way out of the darkness, we feel compelled to ask: Can the power of music soften hearts, break down barriers and unite the world? Can one ambitious duo’s multi-faceted indie debut album create that open door and start a transformational dialogue? Branson, Missouri based singer/songwriters/producers Brydon Brett and Aaron Space, collectively known as Prince Ivan, not only believe it’s possible, they’ve created several unique phrases to encapsulate their ambitious universal vision and creative aesthetic. Evolving organically from their wide array of influences and the multitude of styles that seeps in from living for years in America’s variety show capital, their epic 16-track album – promisingly titled The Preface – incorporates their passions for pop, R&B, hip-hop, EDM and gospel.
From the infectious, beat intensive and atmospheric anthem “If Love Doesn’t Win” to the explosive “take us to church” affirmative inspirations of “High Hopes,” their dynamic array of fresh new songs speak truth to a unique universal desire to overcome our differences and forge new bonds. More than simply crafting a sparkling, emotionally impactful, melody and groove intensive collection, the recording lays an impactful foundation for Spectra Pop – a mainstream musical output that combines elements of pop, R&B, funk, soul, disco, world, jazz, Latin, rock, gospel, blues, African, Electronic, hip hop and other musical styles into one soul infused whole designed to unite the human family. Spectra Pop is the musical element for the duo’s larger mission to forge their concept of SpectraCulture – a worldwide love, prosperity, joy, equality, peace and unity driven movement capturing the truth that we are all beautiful lights along a wide and connected spectrum. Their passion for bringing people together extends beyond their concerts at clubs, festivals and colleges and includes workshops and music programs via their offshoot organization Music in Schools.
At the root of Brydon and Aaron’s ambitious social consciousness is the simple desire to write and perform fun, heartfelt, dynamic, thoughtful and provocative music that is clean and appropriate for all ages. Originally launching the group back in 2013 with a third member, Brydon’s brother Garon they named themselves PrinceIvan when Brydon’s nephew Ivan was a toddler. Their focus was music that would reflect a spirit of fighting for him and his generation – and creating a better world for him to grow up in. Aaron says, “We’re fighting to create mainstream popular music that we’d never be ashamed or embarrassed to show him. His name is a constant reminder for us to stay focused on our mission. We want to make sure that everybody can listen to our music.”