DMV native Brent Faiyaz popped up on folk’s musical radar in 2016 after appearing on GoldLink’s smash hit “Crew” with rapper Shy Glizzy despite releasing music before that on SoundCloud. Since then, the singer-songwriter has released several solo projects and albums under the band Sonder. His sophomore album Wasteland was positively received and peaked at number two on the Billboard charts.
This year Brent earned himself a nomination at the Soul Train Awards 2022 for Best R&B/Soul Male Artist. He’s up against several talented acts, including Burna Boy, Chris Brown, Giveon, Lucky Daye, PJ Morton, and veterans Babyface and Charlie Wilson. Before we can find out who wins at this year’s ceremony hosted by the funny Deon Cole, get to know Brent better.
Brent was born to parents of African American and Dominican descent in Baltimore’s Columbia, Md suburbs. The singer-songwriter was relatively introverted as a child, often recording music behind closed doors.
His stage name is a mixture of his name and an Arabic word
Born Christopher Brent Wood, the rising star went by the moniker “Faiyaz,” an Arabic word for “artistic,” after a Muslim classmate suggested the term. Words appear to have also influenced the artist who named his band and solo album “Sonder.” According to Pigeons and Planes, Brent was inspired by a tattoo that read Sonder: “the realization that each random passerby lives a life as vivid and complex as your own.”
“’ Is funny ’cause we named the band after the tattoo,” he said, referring to the three-piece he formed with fellow musician/producers Dpat and Atu. “It was all just organic. We all had our own thing going on, and we crossed paths, and we made something beautiful out of it. I think it’s perfect. It sums up the lifestyle.”
He also takes inspiration from films.
“I’m super big on [Quentin] Tarantino films with blood and sh*t like that,” Brent shared. “If I’m not making music, I’m watching movies, so I can’t really, directly find a way that it affects it, but I already know it does.”
The Soul Train Awards 2022 premieres Saturday, November 26 at 8 pm ET/PT on BET and BET Her.