BRAXI is Musical Esemplastic.
“We looked right at each other and knew it. This is exactly what BRAXI does, but with music! And so, our term Musical Esemplastic was born. I suppose if you had to describe us with other words, you would hear things like: different, experimental, theatrical, edgy and sometimes controversial…. But to us, BRAXI is an experience. It’s so many different inspirations smashed together as one, and that is BRAXI.”
Brandi and Max Himmelreich are the musical duo known as Braxi, performing classical crossover pop music with theatrical influences, and always delivered with a passionate flair. Their shows integrate elements of theatre, pop music and opera, showcasing their versatility and a lifetime of training – a surprising feature that doesn’t often make its way into traditional pop or classical crossover performances. The element of surprise figures prominently in their work, drawing influence from artists who are well known for taking chances and bringing unique entertainment value to the stage, such as the iconic Kate Bush, David Bowie, Freddy Mercury, Bette Midler and Cyndi Lauper as well as modern artists such as Lady Gaga. Classical and crossover influences are drawn from artists such as Andrea Bocelli, Sarah Brightman and Lara Fabien, as well as the music from Cirque du Soleil.
Individually, Max and Brandi each have extensive experience in classical theatre and musical theatre. Brandi Himmelreich, formerly known as Brandi Russell, is the first winner of Dutch television show Popstars in 2008. Born and raised in America, she spent her early years singing for Walt Disney World and Universal Studios in Orlando, FL, as well as performing various leading roles in different American musical theater productions. In 2006, she moved to The Netherlands, where her career took a turn into pop music. She has performed and recorded official songs for various festivals and events, including the Ride for the Roses, Stockholm, Amsterdam and Antwerpen Pride, and the Tour du France. However her desire to break boundaries and adapt her classical training and theatrical influences into her music and performances drove her to focus only on BRAXI, and take the past three years to study, develop and experiment.
Her husband and fellow BRAXI member, stage performer Max Himmelreich, is a graduate of the Musical Theater program at the Amsterdam University of Theater Arts. Max has also worked as a model for brands such as Diesel, and has performed with various theater groups in The Netherlands, such as the all male acting group HELT.
The two lives came together in 2011, at a Theater Restaurant in Amsterdam, where they fell in love at first sight. They were married within a year and devoted their lives to making music together. In 2013, they brought out their first album of acoustic covers, called Two Souls, Two Lives, One Voice. Since then, they have spent the past three years performing on cruise ships and resorts, studying different cultures and languages to find the sound and brand of what BRAXI is today. They are currently working on an album of original music that combines 4 different languages, pop rock and opera sounds called Musical Esemplastic. The first single from this album, “IL NOSTRO AMORE (Our Love)” has recently won 1st place in the international songwriting competition Unsigned Only in the Vocal Performance category.
Together, the two are not only a musical and theatrical tour de force, they are also a married couple, whose undeniable chemistry lights up the stage in every production they take on. From the moment they met, their powerful connection has been enchanting audiences far and wide, from intimate living room concerts to festival stages performing for thousands, around the Benelux and beyond. They are always fighting against bullying, and want to spread the idea of embracing individualism and love within their music, which is why they try to promote GLBTQ rights and education for children in under developed countries.
“Our mission is to combine genres, techniques and theater within our music. To promote equality and individualism – and avoid the statement: “normal.” Why can’t you sing pop and opera with glam rock makeup? We do. And we love it.”