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The industry's best-kept secret

Burbank man is up for seventh Grammy, producing and playing bass on Robby Krieger's album 'Singularity.'

February 01, 2011|By Lance A. Wawer

He was born in Compton with two club feet and a displaced hip. He wanted to play drums, but his father was concerned that his disabilities would discourage him. He was given a bass at age 9 to play with his older brother in his band. He then went on to play with a publicly funded big band group through high school that caught the eye of a couple of members of Tommy Dorsey’s band. They persuaded him to come to New York at age 19 to play with the famed band.

After a year he decided to get back to his own visions of his career. Then came the “Queen of Soul.” Although he wanted to pursue his own musical aspirations, he was asked by Aretha Franklin to be her touring bassist. “How do you say ‘no’ to Aretha?” Brandino said.

“I did 22 years of loyalty to the queen. I then decided to devote myself to my nonprofit work and let some other young kid come in and do what I did.”

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In between working for Franklin and getting on with his charity work, Brandino managed to mix in three Emmys for his music for the soap opera “Santa Barbara,” Grammys for his work with Outkast, Justin Timberlake and Mary J. Blige and his latest work with Krieger. He has also worked with James Brown, Stevie Wonder, Bonnie Raitt, Ray Charles, Barry White and Paul Simon, to name a few.

The nonprofit work was born out of his upbringing and an unfortunate series of events. Within two years after 2000, Kevin lost his mom, teacher and preacher. “I became a new Brandino,” he said. “I began to reflect on life and ask ‘What would make them proud?’”

Through his nonprofit work, he brings music to underprivileged, disabled and developmentally challenged children. “You Can Do It If You Try” (youcandoitifyoutry.org) is devoted to the concept that music improves people’s quality of life.

+++ Infobox

What: You Can Do It If You Try Where: www.youcandoitifyoutry.org

Contact: Lora De Mars or Kevin Brandon (818) 843-3154 or youcandoitifyoutry@pacbell.net

What: The 53rd annual Grammy Awards When: 8 p.m. Feb. 13 Where: CBS

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