Brandon Corder will never forget about Flint. “Flint was a great place for me to grow up,” he says. “I want to give back to the place that has given me so much. I get wrapped up in it sometimes, maybe a little too much.” Since his graduation from Flint Southwestern Academy, Corder has been on a mission that has taken him to New York, to Los Angeles, and to Las Vegas where he currently resides. “I make sure to head back to Flint every couple of weeks,” he adds. At the age of 12, Corder chose his mission: to become a media mogul – and through his Beats X Beers brand, he is getting close to reaching that goal. “I always looked up to the music industry moguls and it is something I always knew I wanted to be,” he says.
I want to be the go-to for organizing events, to organize the best festivals and be a staple for that.
For Corder, it all started with a love of music. “It interested me growing up. When I was 12, I got a keyboard and started learning to play,” he recalls. “In high school, I started to take music production more seriously.” He continued to develop his production techniques but after graduation, he wasn’t sure of his next step. “I didn’t go to a music school. I went to a traditional college like the rest of my classmates,” he explains. “Producing music isn’t a normal profession in Flint. We were raised with the GM (General Motors) mindset – work a regular 9 to 5 job every day. Our parents never considered music as a possible career.” He bounced around to several schools and continued to upgrade his production equipment whenever he could. Lacking any formal production program options, Corder was self-taught and learned the process wherever and however he could. Eventually, he made the decision to try his luck in New York. He would eventually return to Flint; but not before he had a confidence breakthrough. “A professional musician from New Orleans used the music I produced,” he proudly remembers. “That was the first time I knew that people enjoyed what I could do.”
I want to give back to the place that has given me so much. I get wrapped up in it sometimes, maybe a little too much.
After returning home for a spell, he set off for Los Angeles to work on projects with other musicians and then got his big break when he won a national contest sponsored by Vibe Magazine. “They flew me to Atlanta where I was able to work on TV scores and with VH1. I got my feet wet,” he says. Corder began making valuable contacts and getting miles of experience. After returning to L.A. he started a project that would be a turning point in his journey. In 2013, he collaborated on and produced an album entitled “Beats x Beers” that featured a bevy of Flint and Michigan musicians such as Jon Connor, This Life. We Lead., and Mama Sol. “After that, I started seeing Beats x Beers as a festival concept,” says Corder. He acted on that impulse and in 2015, organized the first Beats x Beers festival in Austin, TX during the annual, multi-day SXSW Festival. Anticipation for and participation in the event has been off the charts and this summer will be its 7th year. “There were some hiccups at that first event, not gonna lie,” Corder laughs. “I had great relationships with artists from the producing world and that wasn’t a problem. Most of the issues had to do with operations. I learned and improved upon it.” With his first festival in the bag, Corder continued to produce in L.A. and took some deejay gigs on the side. “I was working at a bar and was asked about doing a small-scale Beats x Beers event there,” he remembers. “After that, I started imagining what more I could do.” He started doing small events in L.A. and in 2017, decided to bring it back to his hometown. “I started imagining doing stuff in Flint – pop-up social events here and there. I decided to expand the brand to other cities.” To date, Beats x Beers has held events in more than ten major cities and each year, Corder hosts a variety of events in Flint. He works with charities such as Gift of Life Michigan and with Kettering University and the Mott Foundation. This year, Beats x Beers has six upcoming events in Flint with more possible.
Upcoming Flint Beats x Beers Events for 2023
- Beats x Beers
Weekend/Beats x BBQ
- Beer Fest
- The Block Party
(August date TBD)
- The Night Before Thanksgiving
(December date TBD)
Beats x Beers has continued to evolve and even more exciting for Corder is the launch of his non-profit organization, Beats x Books. “It’s a program that teaches kids about music and music production,” he explains. “It is designed to be a part of the regular school curriculum – music learning in a different capacity than what we are used to – teaching digital skills as well as those needed to be a producer and eventually a mogul.” In other words, everything he lacked growing up. The program is in the early stages and has been implemented in Georgia where Corder’s business partner resides. “We are working towards proof of concept. We want to see what we can do with it before expansion,” he smiles. “I would love to bring it to Flint.”
Brandon Corder is on his way to achieving his goal of becoming a mogul but acknowledges that he has further to go. “I want to be the go-to for organizing events, to organize the best festivals and be a staple for that,” he states. “I have big things coming up and I have made big partnerships that I cannot disclose as of yet.” This year alone, he has events planned in Birmingham (AL), Las Vegas, Philadelphia,
Miami, L.A., and at the BET Hip Hop Awards in Atlanta.
Wherever he takes Beats x Beers in the future, the one thing for certain is that Flint and its local arts and music scene will be included. “The music scene is good in Flint. It’s in a good space and local artists are getting recognized,” he admits. “So many remember what Flint was when we were growing up and see what it can be today. It just lacks infrastructure and resources. Most of us cannot give up on the city.” Corder certainly never will, and Beats x Beers events will continue to showcase the best of Flint’s music and arts scene well into the future.
Beats x Beers serves as an example of what could be accomplished by any Flint youth who has the passion and drive to become something great – to become a mogul. And, with more and better education and experience opportunities, that dream can be easier to realize. “I’m working on it,” says Corder with a smile.