inBrampton Spotlight: Brampton Says Shows Brampton Off
If you live in Brampton, chances are you know how much creativity, innovation, leadership, and talent comes from here. Brampton Says has only been around for a year, but the dynamic trio - Jesse Flynn, Rupen Bhardwaj, and Vijai Kumar - is already making waves across our city. Together, Flynn, Bhardwaj, and Kumar throw a spotlight on all of the talented people from Brampton, from politicians, to singers, to actors, to rappers, and beyond!
Jagmeet Singh, YouTwoTV, 4Yall Entertainment, N-Rimes, and KayRay - that's just a snippet of the people from Brampton that Brampton Says has interviewed. Kumar, Bhardwaj, and Flynn have amassed well over 500 YouTube subscribers and Facebook likes, and over 1400 followers on Instagram in their year of interviewing and emceeing, and it's only up from here.
They're laugh-out-loud funny, down-to-earth, and they inspire everyone from Brampton to be a little more creative every day. We recently sat down with Brampton Says to chat about Brampton celebs, origin stories, and what they love about Brampton!
How did you start Brampton Says?
Bhardwaj: Should we start with the origin story? So…Vijai got bit by a spider, right.
Kumar: Well, a friend (Aamir) and I were sitting in Garden Square here and we were just taking in the vibes. Downtown Brampton became sort of where we hung out and, actually, he said you know what, there's something going on in [Brampton]. There's something bubbling up here and we should really try to capture it. We should really talk to people up here. And I was like, do you have a camera? And he was like, yeah. And I was like, let's do it, next week, let's just shoot something.
I write freelance, so I was writing an article - the top ten artists from Brampton. I listen to a lot of local artists, and as soon as I published that, the reception it got was insane. A lot of people were [direct messaging] me saying, hey, can you interview me, can you do a story on me? And then it got to a point where it was sort of inefficient to just write stories on these people, so I thought, let's just take Brampton Says and interview people, and share their stories, and make it an online platform for conversation with the arts. So that's what Brampton Says turned out to be. It's ongoing conversation about arts and culture in Brampton.
Did you all go to high school together?
All: Central Peel.
Bhardwaj: It's funny - Jesse and I actually have a video together from when I was in grade 10 and he was in grade 12, and it was called Awkward Moments - it's still on YouTube - but that's the first time we were ever working together creatively. Then we were all super busy, so for years we didn't do anything together. But [all three of us] finally all came together doing Brampton Says and we were like, it only makes sense.
What's your favourite interview that you've done so far?
Flynn: For me, I became a fan girl when we interviewed 4Yall Entertainment. I didn't realize, but when they walked in the room, I kind of got sweaty palms, and I was trying to make a lot of jokes, some of them were working, some of them were not. But that was probably the biggest one that had an impact on me, just because it's 4Yall, and a lot of people know who they are and they have a big following. We were in their vlog too. It was a good day.
Bhardwaj: I still really love our interview with VILLA. That was the first interview I ever shot with Brampton Says, and that was even before I came on as a member, so that's what really made me want to join Brampton Says. When I came into the space, it was such a great experience being able to meet this artist, to know that if he blows up one day, this was his first interview. And even after the interview, we stayed and we talked for such a long time, and he told us more about his art and his creativity and the vibes were just like, I need to be doing this.
Kumar: It's hard to pick a favourite for sure, but I would say what was really cool was the very first interview that we published, with Noyz. For me, throughout my adolescence, throughout high school, I listened to Zoo Babies and Noyz and D-Magic, and all these Punjabi emcees, and when I met Noyz, he's just the most down to earth dude, and we just talked, and he told me later, he said, that interview I had with you was probably the hardest interview I've ever had because we were talking about things like racism in the U.S., and the politics of Punjab, and we got so deep into it, and this is exactly why I wanted to start Brampton Says - to have conversations you normally wouldn't have on an interview platform.
What's the coolest opportunity you've had so far?
Flynn: I’ve got it. We had just met the Brampton Boys and YouTwoTV, we had just sat down to do the interview, and they told us, we have Buffer Fest tickets - do you guys want to go? JusReign will be there, 4Yall will be there, all these people will be there, we're like, of course!
[At the event], halfway through, Trey and Jae Richards from 4Yall Entertainment walk in, we're like - “Brampton!” And so we're dancing, trying to get their attention, and then we went up to them after, and they're the coolest guys ever. And we were like, it's a Brampton ting, you know.
How do you decide who to interview?
Kumar: We value story first. Angle first. It doesn't matter how big you are, or how prolific you are, it's if we like your stuff, or you reach out and we like your stuff, we meet with you first, talk to you, get to know you before we proceed with any creative projects, and if we see room for inspiration, if we think we can do something that creatively has value, that's when we proceed. That's just always been our method.
What advice would you give to an aspiring YouTuber or entrepreneur from Brampton?
Flynn: The same thing that we heard is to just do it. You have to just get out there and do it. And there's going to be so many iterations, and then it's going to be your one year celebration, and you're going to be sitting there with your own stories from your own path. Maybe, for YouTube, if you don't feel comfortable enough to just put yourself out there, maybe put it on private and send the link to friends, and then do the iterations before it actually goes public.
Kumar: We had periods where we would just go to events and hand out business cards. And we were those guys. I'm sure it was irritating to some people, but the reason we did that - and didn't have a problem doing it - is because it was incredibly fun. So, be patient. You have to be patient. Because it will happen. People want to see good content. People are attracted to a motivation, or a message, or if there's purpose behind what you're doing. It always comes back to something that's a lot bigger than any of us.
What do you love about Brampton?
Kumar: I have so much. Brampton has this diamond in the rough kind of feel. Drake kind of represents this glamorous side of Toronto, he's synonymous with the CN Tower, he's an icon. And then, Tory Lanez comes in and he represents the unglamourous, the rougher suburbs like Brampton, like Malton, like Rexdale, and I like this underdog mentality that Brampton has, and at the same time, it's radically diverse. Brampton is like this incubator for great talent. And I think that's represented in just the proportion of talent in Toronto that's actually from Brampton. And, there are 600,000 people in this city, but you still have this small town feel.
Bhardwaj: Same thing. Just the creative community in Brampton. It's so easy for me to approach people in Brampton and say, hey, I want to collaborate. And vice versa. People are always coming to me like, how can we collaborate? Definitely because we put ourselves out there as creative artists, but at the same time, you see so many people coming out from Brampton, so you're inspired to do something as well. And that's the idea we had when we started Brampton Says - we'll never run out of people to interview, because, hopefully, from our interviews, and from people that are coming out of Brampton, there are more people that are inspired to do things. And so, we're just going to have generation after generation of creative community. And we just want be there to do everything we can to feed into that community and to inspire more artists.
Flynn: I would say Brampton is just a beautiful place to live. You walk into downtown Brampton and it's just filled with incredible art, and Gage Park is beautiful, it's all a perfect canvas to do whatever you want to do. If you're an artist, just paint it however you want to paint it. That's what I love about this city.
You can catch Brampton Says on Youtube here!