Artist to Watch: Brenn! Weaves a Buoyant, Bittersweet Folk-Pop Reverie in “Valapriso”

Brenn! © Chase Denton & Working Holiday
Brenn! © Chase Denton & Working Holiday
A buoyant, bittersweet folk-pop reverie, “Valapriso” aches with soul-stirring passion and pain, charm and churn as Darkroom-signed Tuscaloosa native Brenn! channels raw feelings into warm, radiant sound.
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Stream: “Valapriso” – Brenn!




Even the most wondrous places can turn sour when our hearts are broken.

Valparaiso, Indiana’s founder was so moved by the area’s natural beauty that he named it the Vale of Paradise, but for Brennan Keller, the city is cold and haunted; forever associated with painful memories of a lost love. It’s a story most of us are all-too familiar with, and an experience which 19-year-old Keller – better known by his stage name, Brenn! – further enshrined in one of his latest lovelorn songs: A buoyant, bittersweet folk-pop reverie, “Valapriso” (an affectionate, intentional misspelling) aches with soul-stirring passion and pain, charm and churn as Brenn! channels raw feelings into warm, radiant sound.

Valapriso - Brenn!
Valapriso – Brenn!
Lover tell me more than I can take
I love her but the more she tells me
the more I seem to break
Her words reached me
like Adam reached for God

All that she tells me goes in one ear
and comes out all wrong
And Valapriso is too cold for me
Oooooohhhh oh oh
Valapriso is too cold
Oooooohhhh oh

Released in August 2023 via Darkroom Records, the spirited “Valapriso” is only Brenn!’s fifth career single, and it served as his first song since last April’s “4runner” – his debut with Darkroom – went viral, making him an overnight sensation and the talk of the town in many pop- and folk-adjacent circles (to date, “4runner” has amassed over 55 million streams on Spotify alone). A young heart with an old soul (and a truly stunning voice), Brenn! is a storytelling songwriter: Each of his pieces has a narrative that takes listeners deep into his world, bringing us back to lived moments of connection, of longing, of reflection, reckoning, romance, and more.

Brenn! © Chase Denton & Working Holiday
Brenn! © Chase Denton & Working Holiday



“Valapriso,” it would seem, is about all of the above: Buoyed by the bustling chorus lyric, “Valapriso is too cold for me,” this stunning additions to Brenn!’s burgeoning catalog is an eruption of loss, closure, and lingering memories. It’s the story of a Southern boy chilled to the bone by the Midwestern breeze – metaphorically and literally.

Your fingers linger their way up my neck
That train passed by your house
I said I wonder where it’s headed next

We’ll go where it’s going if it’s going anywhere
I’ll go as long as it’s with you

It’s freezing cold here love my hands are shaking
and your lips are turning blue
Valapriso is too cold for me
Don’t matter where you go
Valapriso is too cold
Don’t matter where I am

As Brenn! candidly shares, “‘Valapriso’ is a song modeled after a smaller town in Indiana named Valparaiso. Someone I loved was there. I was never able to say or spell the town right, but the song came out okay. Hopefully, that makes up for it.” The lyrics tell the story of losing oneself in a harmful relationship, “and becoming self-aware of how much it has changed you,” he explains. Love, pain, and longing often feel like one in this track, as he looks back not in anger, but with recognition and appreciation of the good and the bad that came out of this now bygone relationship.

Don’t wait for me darling
I don’t need ya, no I can’t
Valapriso is too cold
For me to stay here
I don’t need ya, no I can’t
Don’t matter where you go
Valapriso is too cold
Don’t matter where I am
Valapriso is too cold for me
Mmmm, you’re too cold for me

Brenn! followed “Valapriso” with two more songs to round out the end of the year – both of which continued to reflect on love and loss in his past. September saw the release of the cinematic slow-burn “Rearview,” an impassioned eruption of stirring Americana that grew from a whisper into a shout over four minutes time. Early December brought us “Looking For,” a beautifully brooding folk-pop upheaval of “longing and emotional turmoil,” as Brenn! put it. “Don’t know what you’re looking for, but I know what you’re looking for ain’t me,” he sings in the chorus, his ragged voice a beacon of angst against a glistening palette of banjo and acoustic guitar.



At the end of the day, any one of Brenn!’s four 2023 singles could have been the one to go viral; they all have that special spark that makes the pop. From his vividly intimate lyrics to his instantly engaging melodies and intense, charged singing, Brenn! has firmly established himself as an artist-to-watch in 2024, and we can’t wait to see what this year brings for him.

‘Til then, we’ll be winding back down the roads of “Valapriso,” joining Brenn! as he dwells on the highs and lows of his teenaged love life: What is, what was, and what will never be again.

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:: stream/purchase Valapriso here ::
:: connect with Brenn! here ::
Stream: “Valapriso” – Brenn!



— — — —

Valapriso - Brenn!

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? © Chase Denton & Working Holiday


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