Adorable Duo Brandon and Leah Met in Middle School
If you don't have a crush on Brandon and Leah yet, you might want to get on that soon. The two-piece, too-cute guitar and ukulele duo made of IRL couple Brandon Jenner (singing/songwriting son of former Olympic decathlete and current Kardashian-in-law Bruce Jenner) and Leah Felder (golden-voiced daughter of Eagles guitarist Don Felder) have been making big ripples with the new video for "Life Happens," the title track of their upcoming debut album, and they might get too busy to return your tweets by this time next year.
Between sunny butterfly kisses of ukulele, life-affirming lyrics and the couply cuteness that transpires around Brandon and Leah's Malibu neighborhood, the "Life Happens" video defies conventional applications of the word "adorbs." We called up Brandon and Leah while they were chilling in a Malibu park with their dog/co-star, Gus (short for Gustavo), to see what the bestie bandmates had to say about growing up together, wearing daily Confidence Pants, and how Leah keeps an emergency stash of freedom in her purse at all times.
SL: OK. So, your video is adorable. Just putting that out there. Was there much direction, or were you basically just told "act cute"?
Leah Felder: The company we worked with kind of followed our lives for a few days around our stomping grounds in Malibu and Santa Monica. They gave us light directions, but mostly that's just what we do in our everyday lives! Well, maybe not every day. We have to work, too (laughs). That's what we do on the weekends though.
It looked really natural. How long have you two known each other?
LF: We met in middle school. Brandon and I kind of grew up in the same town. He was a little bit older than me, but we went to the same school and hung out and had the same friends.
Brandon Jenner: We started playing in a band, toward the end of high school. We ended up playing in a few different bands together, and it always ended up where it was just me and Leah, playin' music, and it just seems like that was always how it was supposed to be.
You both clearly have weapons of choice in your music. Brandon, you love guitar, and Leah, you love ukulele. Why?
BJ: When I was young I played piano and saxophone, but I think I was too young for both of them. The reason why guitar struck a chord (pun intended) is that it allowed me to write songs. When I was a freshman in college a guy in the dorm next to me had a guitar and he taught me how to play "Sweet Home Alabama." And then I was hooked. I spent ten hours a day every day after that just playing and writing songs. I just kind of became obsessed with it.
LF: I love the ukulele for so many reasons! The reasons why I love it, A) Because it fits in my purse, B) Because it sounds like vacation, it sounds free—it's got this beachy sound that just sounds like freedom to me, you know? And C) I like how it has a little humor in it. You know, an acoustic guitar is big and it sounds gorgeous, and I like the sound of it, but there's this humor behind the ukulele that I really love.
BJ: But mostly because it fits in her purse (laughs).
Do you have one sticking out of your purse right now?
LF: Yes I do.
I don't know if that's totally amazing or totally dorky. What would you say your geekiest habit is?
LF: Wow. I have far too many to list! Brandon, you need to take this first while I choose one.
BJ: Well, I'm kind of an electronics nerd. I'm always on Gizmodo and I'm always big into new electronics. I mean, it's geeky but it's also part of my business, you know, using Pro Tools and electronic music making. I have to stay really current with that stuff, but even if I didn't have to I'd still be a huge tech dork.
LF: Okay, I'd have to say my geekiest habit is buying a whole lot of books. I have SO MANY books. Right now I'm totally obsessed with this Eckhart Tolle book called A New Earth. It's about going into your psyche, and a way of living life and how people interact with each other and the reasons they interact the way they do. Kind of like sociology. But yeah. In my purse I will have a ukulele and a book at all times.
Right now we're celebrating Confidence Pants week at SparkLife, where we encourage readers to be bold and step outside their comfort zones. Can you tell me about a time you've had to put on your Confidence Pants?
LF: I personally think it's a daily thing! More than getting confidence at a certain point in the day it's about remaining aware of who you are and who you want to be in the world. And that's a daily, moment-to-moment decision. If you're always aware of who you are, confident or not, you will be solid and happy in your own life.
BJ: I completely agree. I think that confidence is also very much related to self-awareness, and how you feel right at that moment. Focusing on the present makes you more comfortable. Sometimes looking into the past can make you sad and looking into the future can make you stressed out. The only moment when you're really just being, and focused on being yourself, is right now. That would be my biggest advice: take a big deep breath and just enjoy being wherever you are for just five minutes. Be yourself, and stay in the moment.
It can be super hard to not stress about the future. How do you keep things in perspective like that?
LF: One thing that really helps me is to remember that everybody has that same struggle—it's not just you! You know on Google Maps, how there's that zoom button that brings you out, and you can get farther and farther away from your street, farther away from your city, farther away from your country, and farther away from your world until you're looking down from space on just this little ball? I try to imagine myself and my life and my problems and all the little things that are weighing heavy on me from that perspective, in Google Maps. It really just helps me to realize there's so many bigger things, and even though I'm stressed and a lot of things are weighing on me, it's really relatively small.
What advice do you have for aspiring musicians?
LF: Stay true to who you are. Don't be too influenced by the people around you and find your own voice and your own sound. And Do. Not. Stop. Don't stop playing. No matter what, don't ever stop playing!
What do you think of Brandon and Leah's new single?