Get To Know Grammy Winner Bizzythowed
Bizzythowed, Photo: Trevor Southard
It astounds me that the pool of talent in Houston feels like it stands above other cities, and yet can still go unnoticed. Recently, when Brandon Holleman, also known as Bizzythowed received a Grammy for his work with The Weeknd, no one in Houston seemed to sing the Houston native’s praises. The producer, performer, and multi-instrumentalist has been putting his touch on tracks for acts like The Weeknd, Nicki Minaj, Pitbull, and many more for the last decade while toiling away on his own projects in the interim. On his new EP, “Blank Check Vol 1,” the Berklee College of Music graduate mixes soulful guitar, trippy lyricism, and multiple genres to craft his own unique sound. On Saturday, April 16th he’ll bring those tunes and more to life when he plays Raven Tower at the Guilla album release party. FPH sat down with him to get to know him better, and introduce this city to someone who’s been making moves for the past 15 years.
FPH: For those who don’t know, can you explain the name Bizzythowed?
BIZZYTHOWED: Bizzythowed is the name of my Band I’m usually just known as Bizzy… It was given to me when I was in high school by one of my cousin’s best friends because I was always on the go… which is still the case these days, so the Bizzy nickname stuck with me.
Thowed is a word I have always liked as a youngster growing up in 3rd ward Houston and its meaning is something that I also really dig. Thowed is a word used to describe something really great or nice and it is also a word used to describe the mental state of being really High… I and my music are both of those things… so you put that together and you get BIZZYTHOWED
FPH: You’ve been playing guitar for a long time, can you run through the highlight reel of what all you’ve worked on and contributed to?
BIZZYTHOWED: I’ve been a songwriter, producer, and session player for a while in the industry and I’ve been blessed to have been apart of some great projects and worked closely with some great legends in music and also artists at the top of their game right now. Obviously my first major placement with 8Ball and MJG will be a highlight. The song is called “Trying To Get At You,” and it’s on the “Living Legends” album (2004). It was the first time I would see with my name in the cd liner notes credited as part of a album and the first time my music would be in stores. One time I found a copy of that album in Paris and it tripped me out. I did another 8Ball and MJG album and I also played and wrote on two Trick Daddy Albums, Pitbull’s second album, Flo Rida’s first album. I got to work with a new artist at the time named Mims and I ended up writing the rock remix to his smash hit “This is Why I’m Hot” with “This Is Why I Rock” and I got to debut it with him in front of millions of people on Jimmy Kimmel Live and also on The Tonight Show, and Regis and Kelly but it was a guest host instead with Kelly. The song was featured on a Microsoft commercial played everyday it was a huge hit and a huge moment for me as a performer and a songwriter. I also got to work on Nicki Minaj’s first album which was Grammy Nominated. I did a song on Fabolous’ “Loso’s Way” project. I worked with Belly who is now signed with Roc Nation and I ended up meeting a young talented singer named Abel or known to everyone as The Weeknd. I contributed guitars and bass on all of “Kiss Land” and he gave me my first single with “Pretty” which I co-wrote with him in a studio in LA in 2011. I continued to work with him over the next four years contributing guitars on many singles and finally the Best Urban Contemporary Album Grammy Winning and record breaking “Beauty Behind The Madness.” It was such a good feeling to finally win something.
FPH: Winning a Grammy for working with someone else is one thing, but working on and releasing your own work must be rewarding. Can you explain the concept behind your latest release, “Blank Check, Volume 1,” ?
BIZZYTHOWED: It is a rewarding thing to finally be apart of something that is awarded and cherished by people and a artist that has risen so fast. Of course I am proud of my contributions to making that happen and I will continue to contribute to the success of other artists as time goes on. But yes, working on and releasing my own music feels good and is rewarding. After all of those years working and creating in a certain vibe and a certain sound and style it’s good to do something totally different. I wanted to rock the fuck out, but make it jamming with elements of fun and pop and hip hop and metal sometimes all in the same song. You know, something that you can really nod your head to. Music you can smoke a blunt to and get rowdy to and fuck a bitch to or think about your life to. Just honest raw music.. no riddles or analogies is what it is musically and lyrically. I’m having fun just singing and performing my songs and people are digging it and it feels good because I really didn’t have any major intentions other than to just do something myself and actually put it out the right way and perform it. “Blank Check Volume 1” is that, and here will also be a Volume 2 dropping in June alongside a compilation project dropping afterwards featuring some of Houston’s finest.
FPH: You recorded some of the album here in Houston, was it just you and the mixing console, or did you collaborate with others on it?
BIZZYTHOWED: I recorded the album in Miami, LA, NYC, and Houston. I mostly did it myself, though I had a drummer come in and play some parts. But I recorded all of the guitars and bass i mixed the record and had it mastered in Houston.
FPH: Growing up in Houston, living all over the place, did you ever think you’d get to where you are today?
BIZZYTHOWED: I did and I didn’t. It’s like when you are a kid and you want to be a fighter pilot, a rock star, or an astronaut….and then you grow up. Well for me I never gave up on that childhood fantasy. I saw something I wanted to become and I went on an almost life long journey to prepare to be that person and it took me all over the world gaining the knowledge and experience to really fill that role and be that person. I just never gave up and let it go as most people do. Something in me wouldn’t allow me to do anything else other than what i set out to do all those years ago and that’s become known and respected for my music.
FPH: What should people expect from your live set at Raven Tower?
BIZZYTHOWED: Expect something raw, honest and entertaining. It’s from the heart and the listener will feel it. It will be electric, dynamic, and genre bending…definitely something to witness in person. Come and release your frustrations and inhibitions, come meet a new hot lady to take home, come and discover your new favorite artists.
He’s certainly one of those artists that every Houstonian should know and one that everyone needs to catch perform live. You can catch Bizzythowed on April 16th, when he performs on the “Children of The Sun” album release party alongside Guilla, Kyle Hubbard, Mojave Red, and more at Raven Tower. The 100% FREE show is all ages and will also feature DJ sets from ILL Faded and Mark Drew with doors at 6:00. More information on the show is available here.