Getting to Know You: Brandon McSwain

During the past year we’ve had various people help lead us in worship on Sunday morning. I’m grateful for those who have helped. God has been good to us. I’m always reminded that worship isn’t about our preferences, but a person. It has been our desire to find a part-time, permanent person to lead us on Sunday mornings. That desire hasn’t changed. I also mentioned we hoped to:

  • Find someone who is able and equipped to lead.
  • Find someone who will be an active part of our church body.
  • Find someone who loves Christ and seeks to show his worth.

I’m grateful that Brandon McSwain has stepped in and been a regular part of Sunday mornings over the past couple of months. While he is not currently in a position to commit to us long term he has agreed to provide some consistency for the next couple of months both on Sunday morning and in scheduling our team. I’m grateful for the job he has done. It’s been a joy to have him around.

I’m trusting God to continue to lead us. God’s timing is always perfect. We can trust him as we walk together. I hope you will too.

I know many of you may not know Brandon so I sat down with him to ask him a few questions. Barabara Walters, your job is safe.

Where are you originally from? I’m originally from Florida. I was born in Jacksonville, Florida, but was raised in North Carolina.  

How many jobs do you have? I currently have three part time jobs, own two businesses (Brandon McSwain Band and GroovePros), have opened a non-profit organization called “The William Foundation,” and freelance audio production work for five different production companies across the US.  (I stay a “little” busy)

How long have you had a beard? I have had a beard since 2007.  I grew it out when I left the corporate world to pursue music full-time.  I used to grow it so I would look older, now I think I should shave it so I look younger.

I noticed sometimes you close your eyes when you sing. Why? Sometimes I close my eyes when I sing because I get lost in the music, the words, and the feeling behind the song.  And sometimes I close my eyes when I sing to try and remember the words, the music and the feeling behind the song.  

Why do you have a tattoo of a unicorn on your ankle? Because I felt that the Care Bear tattoo I have on my lower back wasn’t “MANLY” enough.  (by the way….I currently have no tattoos)

When did you came to Christ? I was 8 years old. I grew up in church (Dad was a minister of music and mom was the church pianist).  I remember praying with both my parents next to my bed when I was 8 that God would come into my heart.   Once I was “of age” (15) I rededicated my life to Christ, and He has held me up through many hard times, and beautiful times alike.  

Why do you love leading worship? I love leading worship because for me singing and playing has always been my way of expressing emotions, and communicating.   I love to be able to express to my father that I am grateful for His love for me, and that I love Him.  I feel right when I am leading others to do the same, because I know God gave me the gift of music, and I feel that I want to use the gifts He gave me to glorify His name.

What is the hardest part of leading worship? The hardest part of leading worship is criticism both musically and personally.  Everyone these days has an opinion of what worship is or should be. My opinion is that worship is more than music, it is a lifestyle of recognizing who God is, and those that are called to lead are simply following what God has called them to do.  

What is one thing you want Renaissance to know about you? One thing I want Renaissance to know about me is I truly love people and also have a deep burning passion to help those in need.  I know it sounds like a “good thing to say,” but I truly feel other peoples pains in a lot of situations.   I believe this sensitivity stems from my relationship with my own father.   My dad has struggled with mental illness and a degenerative brain disease for the last 20 years of his life.   Almost 7 years ago my dad was committed to Northeast Florida State Hospital (a state run mental institution).  Before that, he spent 2-3 years sleeping on the street, living in homeless shelters, crashing on my couches, in and out of mental hospitals, and in and out of jail.   Now, he is confined to a wheelchair, has a feeding tube, and the disease is slowly taking away his physical functions, and eventually will take his life.  Through all of my father’s sufferings, all he has ever talked about is helping other people, even though he was in the same situations they were (homeless, sick, poor, hungry, misunderstood).  I feel it is my legacy to make a difference in peoples lives, and help them.  (I am still figuring out how, but the William Foundation is part of it, and music is a part of it as well)

Is it true James made you purchase a sweater vest the first time you led worship at Ren so you would fit in with our suburban culture? No, I already owned one.  (Granted it was from middle school and I found it when I was going through old boxes).  James has the photo, if you’re nice to him, I bet he would show you the proof.  (actually he would probably show you just for the joy of it)

Thanks, Brandon. It’s good to have you around. And I’ll save the picture for another day.