Born in Philadelphia, lived in Japan, raised in Maryland, and now resides in Brooklyn. His Father was a drummer and his mother directed the choir. So it’s no surprise that Brandon Camphor has music running through his veins. So much so that he won his first national song competition at the age of 10, has helped to launch three college tours, and was leading praise and worship for a congregation of 2,000 plus, at age 14. Brandon Camphor is leaving his mark in music wherever he goes and he is just getting started.
Shenelle Wallace: Where did this musical journey begin for you?
Brandon Camphor: I always had a fascination for music. But I didn’t think I was a great singer at a younger age. I never got that shot. I begged my mom for a solo in the kid’s choir, but I only remember her shushing me and telling me to be quiet (laughs). Then one day, when we were driving in the car, I was singing a song by Karen Clark Sheard, and I did a riff from the song, and my mom looked at me in shock like ‘Whoa! Good job!’ I’ll never forget that moment. It was the first time [in music] that I had gotten a compliment.
Shenelle Wallace: You’ve done so much within the past 5 years. Let’s go back to the time when you were in college, and you were putting together a gospel group.
In 2007. That’s when it started. Some of my college years were painful, because I was dealing with the demise of my parent’s marriage. I was brought up in church but during that time I wasn’t as dedicated in my [Christian] walk. Even with singing. I just stopped. In 2007, I went to the Impact Conference, which is a national college movement. While I was there I rededicated my life to Christ. You know that [Bible] verse “There is now no condemnation…?” I realized that I was not condemned, I’m still lovable, and God can restore everything. When I got back home [to Maryland] from the conference I wrote this song called “You Gotta Have Faith.” A friend of mine ended up hearing it and asked me to perform the song at his grandmother’s church. I was so happy about my first gig. My friend suggested I get a band to back me up. So I got a band, which consist of people who are in the group [One Way] now. It didn’t start as a group it just happened by me calling on some friends that I had to help me out. After that one gig that we did together, I lie to you not, my whole summer got booked up with events. People were like “Come here, sing here.” So by the end of that summer we just decided that we’ve been doing this for a while now, it’s working, so we officially become a group.
Shenelle Wallace: You started a couple of college movements yourself. The Encounter, Jesus Rocks, and Be Like God. Where do these ideas come from?
Brandon Camphor: One of the visions of the group is to offer tangible ways for young adults to express the righteous lifestyle, and so the ideas were based on trying to accomplish that. The Encounter is a night of worship that we did monthly. We aren’t doing it currently, but we are trying to revive it. It’s just a gathering of young adults experiencing God’s presence in a fresh way. The prompting to live right is experiencing God and knowing him and loving him because when you love someone you want to please them. The more you’re in his presence the more you fall in love with him. Jesus Rocks was to express the excitement that “Jesus Rocks!” Let’s go out and live that out loud. So we just gathered together and had this big concert series where we invited young innovative artists to just motivate and excite us about Jesus. Be Like God, which is our latest effort, is us trying to tap into the heart of God in more practical ways. It’s a more community based effort. The word “God” in Be Like God, is actually an acronym for “Giving to Others Daily.” Jesus lived a life completely giving of himself. So we wanted to adopt that heart and mindset. You know how they say we are the body, and without one part functioning, the entire body is not being fully effective. This is our chance to be the hands, the feet, the head, the heart, and the mind of Christ. Be Like God.
Shenelle Wallace: The group name “One Way” is so simple, yet means so much.
Brandon Camphor: One way is based on the scripture John 14:6. There is no way to the father except through Jesus Christ. That also applies to our lifestyle. I believe that there is only one way to live, that’s right. It’s not about adjusting his word to fit your lifestyle; it’s about adjusting your lifestyle to do what God’s word says. We’re young adults, so we tell people, hey, you don’t have to be perfect, but you have to choose to be obedient. We’re a generation that’s so comfortable. We have everything available to us by the touch of our fingers or the touch of a screen. We want everything Now, now, now! But the word of God is not like that. We can’t download the app to make it fit our needs. It’s just doing what it says. There is one way to do right and that’s God’s way.
Shenelle Wallace: You won yet another gospel competition with One Way, and landed a chance to work with Matthew Knowles and Music World. That’s huge!
Brandon Camphor: Yeah, we won a competition called “The Most Powerful Voices” and the prize for that was to work with Music World and do a single. That single is called “You Are God.” We released a couple of versions, including one that’s acapella, and it did well. We released a music video for the song too. Right now we’re just trying to figure out our next move with Music World. But I definitely valued the opportunity to work with them.
Shenelle Wallace: I know you have a few albums out, where can we hear more of your music?
Brandon Camphor: We have one full length album, but we released two EP albums. A Christmas album, and what’s called a maxi EP, which is basically 8 tracks, but one song. That’s the You Are God album. But if you go on iTunes, you’ll find a couple of albums that we are featured on.
Shenelle Wallace: I have the privilege of hearing you sing with the Transitions ministry at Brooklyn Tabernacle every other Friday night. Let me just say, I love Transitions! I think the movement is amazing. What’s it like when you’re up there encountering the presence of God?
Brandon Camphor: I love my church! When I experience God, one of the things that happens the most, is that I reflect on all that He’s done. We know the character of Christ, He’s forgiving compassionate, He’s merciful, He’s loving. We say all these things [about Him] but when you personally identify and experience these things, it’s a different response. Not just a call and response where someone is telling you what to say, but it’s your heart’s response to what you just experienced.
Shenelle Wallace: Lastly, what is your dream for yourself?
Brandon Camphor: My dream is to stand in every country and be able to proclaim the name of Jesus through song. That would be great. I love traveling, I love music, I love God. So to be able to travel to different countries, and sing songs with the name of Jesus in it, that would be a dream come true.
Catch Brandon Camphor and One Way on August 10th, for a night of music at the Metropolitan room in NYC. See our news and events for more details.
Purchase their album here.