Branden Negron, junior business management information systems zmajor with a minor in entrepreneurship, has started getting ready for his future by taking on two internships, creating a mobile application company with partner Jared Shlager, while still songwriting, recording and producing since the age of 11. Negron has performed for UT’s KingsFest, this year’s Midnight Madness and a few other events.
One time, he opened for the Cataracts at a club in Tampa and a bunch of venues in Long Island and once in NYC.
Negron was born in Staten Island, New York but grew up in Long Island with Puerto Rican roots from his grandparents.
The Minaret had the chance to interview Negron to learn about his company, his internships, his music, life threatening experience, his inspirations and his words of wisdom.
The Minaret (M): What is your company about?
Branden Negron (BN): It’s focus is a free mobile application compatible across all platforms, including tablets, that allows for a fast and secure way of transferring funds from peer to peer instantly while utilizing some newer technologies. It has to do with tipping or anything regarding any type of money transfers. It’s going well; the school has taken interest in it. They’ve asked us to represent the school in an interscholastic business pitch competition. We are also competing in the school’s Create Competition with it. We passed the first round.
M: Where are you currently interning?
BN: I am interning at two joint companies based out in Largo, Florida. One is an IT solutions consulting firm called, Benjamin Solutions Group. For them, I just handle new clients and work with them, getting them set up with all the technology that they’ll need for their processes. Then, I also do marketing for Orange Theory Marketing. I’m basically heading guerrilla marketing projects and just some project management type stuff.
M: How did you get into the music industry?
BN: One of my buddies, Pete Nappi, who plays almost every instrument, is currently studying music at Berklee College of Music in Boston, had a band when we were younger, around sixth grade. He already had all the equipment to record so he kind of just got me into it. We did a song together and it wasn’t too good but it got me into music. I’ve just been going with it ever since. I don’t like to put myself in the genre of rap because it limits you but I do more of that new age, new school type stuff. I mix in a lot of genres such as alternative, dub-step or jazz, really just a bunch of musical genres. Sometimes if I go to the studio, I’ll have an engineer produce my stuff but I also do a lot of my own work. I record mostly from home. I learned how to produce in high school; I took a bunch of courses on music engineering, producing and am still taking them now here at UT.
M: What kinds of messages do you portray in your music?
BN: I feel like this is my second lease on life because right before I was two years old, I spent my second birthday in the hospital. I had contracted the Flesh Eating Disease, also known as Necrotizing Fasciitis, which eats away at your organs, your skin, muscles and etc. The doctors didn’t know how to stop the spread of it but eventually they found a way. I wasn’t supposed to walk or just basically function normally again. I went through rehab and all that. It’s very rare – not a lot of people get it and not a lot of people survive it, which is what’s crazy. So, since then, I consider everyday as my second chance. I should be enjoying life as much as I can now so in my music, I just try to portray that and spread that message of appreciation, really just showing people that there’s a lot more to life than what people see. Times get rough here and people get down on themselves but then they don’t see that they’re probably in one of the most beautiful places on earth. The fact that you can wake up and not be in pain and just go on with your day is already a blessing.
M: What is your main focus in terms of music right now?
BN: We’ve been in the process of taking down my old music from the Internet and have been trying to put out this new album called “Judgment Day” so I’ve been focusing a lot on that. It’s really just a more mature sound, basically me starting to fit into where I believe I fit in. It’s called “Judgment Day” because I feel like even though we don’t notice it, we are living towards the end of times. I feel like it might not be the end of times but we sure are living like it as far as how people treat each other, what’s going on in the world, with all the natural occurrences, there’s just so much going on that many people are sweeping under the rug. I already have a single for this album and it got a lot of good feedback. It basically just showed how greed is ruining the world and how people not noticing those good things is ruining the world. I already have a bunch of the songs finished, it’s just a matter of finalizing it and I don’t want to put it out too soon. I want it to be perfect.
M: Do you take on a different name for your music?
BN: I go by Branden Chase while my real name is Branden Fabian Negron. My mom wanted to name me Chase when I was born and my dad wanted to name me Branden and I mean, it is what it is, I became Branden. Basically, the name came from my music and by me taking on Branden Chase is kind of an honoring to my mom, letting her know that she has helped me create this identity. I mean, my mom was always one of the people that supported me more with my music and always pushed me with good criticism. She’s definitely helped mold me in terms of what I should be talking about and how I should be presenting myself. She’s been very supportive overall, while my dad has been more towards the business aspect. He wants me to do well in school and focus on business, getting a job and things like that. Also, taking on the name Branden Chase isn’t considered another ego or something but it’s another side to me that a lot of people don’t get to see unless they listen to my music. A lot of people just see me and think, oh, he’s just another guy, he does well in school and this and that but they don’t see that music aspect. Once they see that, they see another guy because they don’t expect me to be aware of my emotions, which is the exact opposite of who I am. My name brings out that other side in me.
M: Have you/are you involved in anything else on campus?
BN: I joined my fraternity, Theta Chi, freshman year and am still active in it. I am on the public relations committee for the fraternity. I was really more into that and the social aspect of meeting people, enjoying life more. I have a couple of littles in it, like little brothers. I serve as a role model for them, helping them out. I haven’t been as involved in it because of the amount of work I’ve been doing but I still have a presence. And then this year, I just wanted to turn it up, start getting ready for the future so the fact that I’ve taken on this venture, this business and the amount of work, has definitely turned my life around. I became more mature through it all.
M: What words do you live by?
BN: If you want something you’ve never had before, you have to do something you’ve never done before. That’s basically saying just how I said before, I come from an upper-middle class family but I’ve experienced more lavished things and even though it’s not about that, it’s always nice to have nice things, but it would definitely be cool to reach that point in my life where I could look back and just say that I turned something into something even more. It’s as if half of what I do is what keeps me going so that I have a bigger and better future. I want to look back and say that I made it and did something instead of just coasting through life. I don’t want to just live. I want to try new things.
For more information about Negron, his company, internships and his music, you can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org, check out his website at bneg.weebly.com and follow him on Twitter @WasOnceBNeg.
Yasaman Sherbaf can be reached at email@example.com