Music Alumni Spotlight: Branden Sipes ’06
Music, Music Alumni, University Center for the Arts | February 06, 2013
Troubadour of the Rockies: Branden Sipes ’06
As the music program at Colorado State University grows, so too does the number of accomplished CSU music alumni. As a double-major with music and business administration, Branden Sipes has taken his love of performing and song-writing and launched them into a blossoming music career.
“By high school I knew I wanted to be a professional musician, but I also realized there was no easy way to do that. So I knew I had to become an educated musician and strive to be the best performer I could be,” says Branden. “My dream was to perform my own music and have people enjoy it.”
Graduating from CSU in 2006, Branden maximized his time by concentrating in both voice and guitar to maintain his focus on songwriting and performance. But Branden says that in addition to the technical musical training he received at CSU, the lessons he learned during his time here have helped to shape the musician he has become.
“Coupled with my business major, there was rarely a dull moment,” Branden remembers. “So many of my voice lessons with John Lueck were about larger life lessons in how to approach music and life. And studying guitar with Alex Komodore inspired me to strive for technical excellence in performance, but also to learn how to overcome obstacles in order to share my music.”
Branden will return to campus on Wednesday, April 3 for a special concert as part of the UCA’s brand new Contemporary Artist Music Series, sponsored by Bohemian Foundation.
“I am so excited and honored to have this chance to perform my music at CSU – especially in the new University Center for the Arts, since I never got to perform there as a student,” says Branden. “This is something I’ve worked at for a long time, and CSU played a large role in helping me craft it in my own way.”
Hailing from Berthoud, Colo., Branden decided to focus his career in his home state along the Front Range. After graduating from CSU, he knew that the road to becoming a professional musician would be long and difficult.
Putting his business education to work for himself, Branden decided to purchase his own recording equipment. As he learned about recording and prepared demos, Branden taught guitar lessons and took every gig opportunity he could find, getting his music out there and building his network.
By 2010, Branden was receiving so many engagements that he stopped teaching lessons and was able to focus on his performing and recording full time.
“My approach is still pretty much the same, though, as when I first started,” Branden says. “My goal is to keep growing in this industry and chasing my dream: to continue writing and performing my own music.”
Check out Branden on the web at brandensipes.com
All about Branden:
Ensembles at CSU: University Singers, Men’s Choir, Guitar Ensemble
Favorite spot to practice/perform: Playing guitar outside on the Oval
Favorite professor/director: Both John Lueck as my voice teacher, and Alex Komodore as my guitar teacher helped shape my experience and musicianship.
Favorite performance at CSU: My senior recital, incorporating voice and guitar. It was the culmination of my career at CSU, with planning and rehearsals leading up to the performance.
Why CSU: I knew CSU had good music and business programs where I could become the best performer I could be and also learn about business to support my career.
Favorite memory at CSU: Normally, there is little appeal to an 8 a.m. class. However, this music history class was the highlight of each day since I got to sit next to a really cute blonde. I finally built up the courage to ask her out. Eight years after our first date to Walrus Ice Cream, we were married!
When did you get into music: My mom made me take choir in middle school, and while I didn’t really like it at first, I discovered I loved learning about music notation and interpretation. It was then that I learned to play guitar and started doing more pop music.
Favorite artist/group: Tough one – but I’d have to say John Mayer and The Beatles.
Major influences for your music: There’s such a broad range, but I grew up listening to James Taylor’s clean acoustic guitar and amazing vocal control and Jackson Brown’s great original music. But I also grew up with power bands like Nirvana and Sound Garden, along with some blues mixed in there, too.