Husband-wife duo creates SoCal sound


There has never been a shortage of criticism over the Kardashian family’s fame. The family is viewed worldwide as being beautiful, entertaining and, well, talentless.

Famous ties · Brandon Jenner and Leah Felder of Brandon and Leah decided against building their brand around their families’ fame. - Courtesy of Rogers & Cowan

Famous ties · Brandon Jenner and Leah Felder of Brandon and Leah decided against building their brand around their families’ fame. – Courtesy of Rogers & Cowan

 

The most talented member of the family, ironically, is probably also the least recognized. But Brandon Jenner, son of Olympian Bruce Jenner and brother of reality star Brody Jenner, is the lead guitarist for the musical duo known as Brandon and Leah, which released its first EP Cronies on April 9.

Interestingly enough, Leah Felder, the voice accompanying Jenner’s guitar, also comes from a famous family. Her father, Don Felder, was the lead guitarist for The Eagles. Felder inherited her father’s musical abilities but, like Jenner, passed on the opportunity to build her brand around her family name.

“We came down our own path. We don’t want to live in the shadow of our parents,” Felder said. “We don’t want to depend on others. It’s more gratifying to be our own people.”

Of course, Jenner is quick to add that he is not opposed to mixing family with business. After all, Felder is married to Jenner and it is a pleasant surprise to find that their relationship is as heartwarming as their music.

“It’s fun!” said Jenner in reference to working creatively with his wife. “It’s not whoever wins the fistfight makes all the decisions — we work together on everything.”

They are both on the same page when it comes to creating music, which is rare for a young pair of aspiring artists.

“We would both love to be in control, but we work better together when we play nicely,” Felder said with a chuckle.

When they first met at 11 years old, Felder was just a friend of Jenner’s younger brother Brody. As they got older, they each played with different bands, bouncing from group to group.

“Music came first. The sparks weren’t there yet, and we both had significant others,” Jenner said.

But the sparks eventually ignited, and the two started dating. They fell in love and eight years later, they were married in a private ceremony in Hawaii.

Almost a year after their wedding, their musical career is finally starting to take off with the band’s first EP, Cronies.

“This album is a long time coming,” Jenner said. “It’s our first real release, not just a single.”

A long time coming is an understatement. Despite the duo’s musical talent and undeniable good looks, the path to its first album release has been anything but smooth.

“Four years ago we signed with Warner Brothers, but we never released anything,” Jenner said. “We got off [the label] and connected with Red Light Management.”

Abandoning a record label is a risky move for relatively unknown artists. But both Jenner and Felder were determined to do it their own way, and they agree that the freedom to pursue music on their own terms is much more valuable than a recording contract.

“We were able to focus on the organic nature of our sound,” Felder said. “After that, we were able to just put our heads down and focus.”

Since opting for independence from Warner Brothers, the duo has been able to put out multiple music videos. The video for the song “Vaseline” is their most elaborate effort and, as a result, is easily their best. The Western-themed video includes all three of the Jenner brothers while still maintaining focus on a main strength of the duo: Felder’s seductive voice.

The music video for “Vaseline” shows that the duo have serious potential as artists. With a successful release of Cronies, the couple’s popularity could explode.

“This album is about finding the right songs to act as a window into our future,” Felder said.

The band has garnered attention and a small fan base by playing live sets in small venues around Los Angeles and on cruise ships. The casual listener would probably recognize the duo’s most successful song to date, “Showstopper,” which serves as the theme song for Kim and Kourtney Take Miami.

With this kind of publicity, it would be easy to think that the band has finally made it big, but Felder disagreed with that sentiment.

“There is never really a moment where you feel like you made it. It’s a continual process,” Felder said.

Cronies showcases Brandon and Leah’s talents not only as musicians but as songwriters. Delving into their Malibu roots and pulling from the intricacies of their experiences with success and defeat, the album has plenty to offer for listeners.

“Its not easy — it’s work!” Felder said. “But it’s incredible having him with me, experiencing the lows and highs together.”

  • Stacey Shaffer

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