BRAWLEY – North County Coalition of the Arts and The Desert Review are proud to proclaim Braden Rollins as the March Artist of the Month. Braden, a senior at BUHS, plans on attending Northern Illinois University next year to pursue a career in jazz, and to become a teacher.
Braden began playing the piano at five years of age. He credits his mother, Tori Rollins, as his inspiration and as his first teacher.
“My mom has always been my biggest influence, not only was she my first teacher, but her passion for playing piano, as both an emotional output and a community service, has shaped my life as a musician.”
Rosemarie Wood, executive director of NoCCA said that Braden received the most community nominations to date for the Artist of the Month Award.
Braden started playing the piano, but soon branched off to many other instruments. He now is mastering guitar, euphonium, trombone, drums, and xylophone. However, his “go to” instrument is the saxophone.
Just as Braden acknowledges his mother’s influence, Tori Rollins truly is impressed with her musician son.
“I think people should know how hard he works. He spends hours practicing, he takes every gig that he possibly can, he takes lessons and advice from other musicians in the Valley, and he teaches lessons to younger kids and thoroughly enjoys all of that.”
Braden believes he grew up in a nurturing environment, not only in his home, but the community overall.
“My goal for the future is to become the best musician and human being I can be, while at the same time freely sharing everything I can with others,” Braden said. “I want to pay forward all of the help that has been offered me by my teachers, parents and fellow musicians, without whom I would have never been the person I am today.”
The Valley’s musical diversity has broadened this young man’s cultural view.
“Playing music with other people from different cultures has always been my favorite experience. Even though my focus is jazz music, some of my most enjoyable gigs have been playing with Cumbia bands from around the Valley or playing oldies with snowbirds down from Canada for the winter.”
Besides the language of music, Braden has mastered Spanish. According to his mother and high school counselors, he is the first student at Brawley High to be from a completely English-speaking household and be in AP Spanish 5. He is fluent in reading, writing and speaking Spanish.
“Music has given my life a clear direction, and a strong motivation to succeed in general. Jazz, in specific, has offered me a strong connection to history and to cultures around the globe that has helped to shape my future plans and my perspective toward other people,” Braden reflected.
“When Braden performs, I think the best part is that he doesn’t perform so you will love to hear him play, he performs so you will love to hear the music. He wants to play the song well enough that you will feel a connection to the intent and emotion of the composer,” Tori Rollins said about her son’s performances.
Congratulations, Braden Rollins, you, like the rest of the award winners, personify the grit, talent, and work ethic of our Artists of the Month winners.