Brandon Leake is unapologetically himself. It’s the reason why he got so far on America’s Got Talent and the reason why so many people connect to him and his words. He’s honest, he’s genuine, and he’s the kind of poet who leaves you thinking about your own life and circumstances long after he’s done performing.
We got the chance to speak with Leake about his experience on America’s Got Talent, how his family has influenced his work, and how his fans can find themselves through their own work. And when you’re done, make sure to follow Brandon over on his Instagram and Twitter for his latest work and more!
Fangirlish: When you first appeared on the show, you talked about your daughter and the love you hold for this precious soul is evident. How has she inspired your work?
Leake: She’s one of my biggest motivations, to be honest with you. Because as a child my mom sacrificed the world for me to be able to do what I do, to have a childhood, and to be able to live a decent life. And I want to honor my mother’s sacrifice by ensuring my daughter has all the things that she needs to live a good life as well. So it’s a generational thing of honoring my mother’s sacrifice in hopes that one day my daughter will do the same thing for me.
Fangirlish: Poetry is an ever evolving medium that changes as we grow. Have you noticed a shift in your spoken word since America’s Got Talent?
Leake: I would say the only real shift is probably the drive I have to be better than I was before. I’m not one of the people who just likes to rest on his morals in general. I’m more so the person that once I attain success I’m like, “Ok, cool. What’s the next step, the next ladder to go to? And how do I try to elevate to be better than I was before?” So, annoyingly to my wife, I’m probably more dedicated to it now than I ever have been.
Fangirlish: In your first appearance you mentioned that you eventually wanted to do a one man show? Have you gotten close to that? Have you done your one man show?
Leake: So, yes. If you ever come to one of my live shows that I do now. I just got done doing a live show in Philly, Redneck, New Jersey, and Brooklyn, New York then you’ll get the chance to see my one man show. Or one of my one man shows because I’ve done a few of them. But also, in addition to that, I would say one big project that I’m working on right now is a short film that I wrote that I’m directing and acting in and producing. That will be debuted to the work either in December or January 2022.
Fangirlish: You got to share so much of yourself on America’s Got Talent. What has the response been with the people that have connected with your words?
Leake: It’s beautiful. It’s a chance to create and build connections between yourself and another person. And I think there’s a beauty to that where people can’t…you don’t get to hide behind a beat. You have to be authentic. And the most important thing that I’ve gotten from people is that they’ve resonated with the stories that I’ve shared. And that’s amazing because all I want to do is create a bridge from my soul to another, just using the words that I have and the experiences I’ve made. And it’s been a beautiful thing to see how many people from these different areas have related to the journey that I’ve been on. It’s been really fun to witness.
Fangirlish: What advice would you give to young poets that are inspired by you and want to follow in your footsteps?
Leake: I would say, study. Like for real, study. And not just spoken word artists. Like study good comedians, good rappers, good writers, good performers. Find the best version of yourself that you can and learn every step of the journey. Also, be you. You don’t have to be the next Brandon Leake cuz I was a bootleg version of a poet named Reed Francisco for a long time. And I found no success being somebody else. But the moment I started embracing myself and being myself is the moment I discovered the path I desired to have.
America’s Got Talent season 16 returns Tuesday, June 1st, 2021 on NBC.
(Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC)