In the vein of previous alumni, musician Brandon Fox returned to Elk Grove on Friday, September (date) to lend his voice and his story to students. In celebration of school spirit and to mark the first home football game, Fox sang with the choir during the pep assembly and again by himself after the game.
Fox was allowed the chance to socialize with current singers and reminisced about his own performances in high school including the musical, “Once On This Island,” which was performed again two years ago by students still in the building. This connected his high school experience to that of students in 2017, though he noted the vast differences.
As a student at EG, Fox primarily explored his passion for football and even pursued it at Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin. There, he formed his first band with his friends. Though he also learned to play the keyboards, he was foremost a singer taking inspiration from, in his words, the greats like Michael Jackson. Yet, paying homage to his idols did less for him than singing about his own experiences. As with many performers, the emotional core of his music comes from times of darkness in his life.
“Everybody goes through hard stuff, and a lot of people keep that inside,” Fox said. “After my father committed suicide, I kept it inside for so long. I shut down, but music saved my life.”
Rather than emulate songs about drug addiction and drinking by musicians he aspires to be like, Fox focuses on themes of faith and family in his music. The songs, “Hallelujah, Our King,” and “Bring Me Back” are two that he considers to be expressions of his deepest feelings.
Junior Nate Kraemer, a choir student who performed alongside Fox noted that, “it’s really cool to see someone overcome challenges like that and make something of their lives because it’s like, ‘Hey, I can do that.’”
Not only did Fox undergo the emotional trauma of his father’s death, but he also dealt with the wakeup call to reality that comes with trying to be successful in an industry that is already very crowded particularly in the Chicagoland area.
“Because I was told no so many times, the road to get here has been crazy,” Fox said. “Building your own brand, starting your own business, finding your own sound [are the hardest things] to do.”
Returning to EG has reminded Fox of how far he has come as a person. He joked about his own arrogance in high school and how his growth is reflected in his music. He hopes that will be lesson for those with high aspirations for any sort of career.
“You can never give up on your dreams because people will tell you no so many times, but all it takes is one yes,” Fox said.