FLINT, Michigan — Music pulsed throughout the building as natural light flooded in from an opening that led to an outdoor patio. As we gathered in a dining area near the rear end of Soggy Bottoms Bar in downtown Flint, both of us were dressed in black from head to ankle and colorful sneakers that accentuated our personalities before we could verbalize who we were.
Brandon Horton, known musically as Fortunxte
, was raised on the northside of Flint, on Allison and Chateau Dr., and played JV and Varsity basketball for Flint Northwestern during high school. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Exercise Science from Central Michigan University and a Master’s Degree from the University of Southwest-New Mexico.
He recalls his roommate making beats in their dorm room during that time of his life, but it was Horton's post-academic journey where he says he experienced more enlightenment through trial and error to triumph. Today, Horton and his wife Kiara are the parents of two boys, Mecca (age 4) and Omen (10 months).
He shares a compelling panorama of his life as a husband and father on one of his recently released singles “Just Breathe” which encourages listeners to “just breathe”
through moments of feeling inept. Flintside was able to sit down with the talented, elusive musician to talk about his growth as a man and artist, the reason behind his name change, and being a quiet force on Flint's local music scene.
“I feel like we learn more from our obstacles. I’ve learned to take things on the chin." - Fortunxte
Flintside: Why is music your weapon of choice?
“Since I was a child, I’ve been writing out lyrics, but I’ve been rapping since 2011. I was so locked in on basketball, I never gave myself the time just to make music. When I went away to school, I sort of lost my love for basketball which compelled me to become more involved with my music. I played around with it more and realized that I was good at it. I would always write in my free time and just rhyme.”
Flintside: I remember knowing you as “Finesse” during the early parts of your music career. Tell me more about what prompted the name change.
“It just sounded good, honestly. I decided to change it because it’s very common if you type “Finesse” into streaming sites, and I wanted something more unique. I also wanted something that would encapsulate my growth. Fortunxte is more sure of himself and more confident. Fortunxte is a reminder that I’m blessed.”
"I believe that all blessings come on time and in order." - Fortunxte
Flintside: Your music is so cerebral. Who influences you? I’m not asking you to compare your work but rather to describe what influences the way you deliver your music.
“I have a lot of love for Jay-Z, Drake, and J.Cole. I’m big on lyricism and versatility. I’m also an Aries, so I’m impulsive. I get a thought, and I go with it. I think that influences my music. I’ve been a lot more active on TikTok
. I keep writing these dope freestyles over other people’s beats, and I’m good at it, but I can’t keep giving away that creativity. I can channel that energy into my own songs. TikTok helps me to stay consistent.”
Flintside: I want to dig a little deeper into your business. If you will, illustrate the inspiration behind your self-produced single “Just Breathe” which was released in May
“I lost my job in December 2021 after using up all of my FMLA (Family and Medical Leave) eligible days, which was crazy. I had been taking care of my wife, who is diagnosed with Sickle Cell disease, s
o it was either work and not be there to support her or call off. That was a no-brainer to me. I was always going to choose to be there for my wife and children.
Once they let me go, I would get caught up on my age and where I thought I should be around that time. I started thinking every day [that] I got out of school, have my degree, and didn’t even get into my field. I felt that I should be farther than I am. I had to sit with myself and reflect, and ‘Just Breathe’ was born.”
Flintside: I’ve been able to experience young men allowing the “idea” of what a man is to inhibit their confidence to express their emotions. Do you feel you have a safe space and support when you are compelled to be vulnerable about things you may be going through?
“Music is my safe space. I can be as creative with it as I want. I also talk to my dad a lot. But I’m still getting to a point where I can be comfortable opening up to others. I had to lock in on what it means to be a man because I’m a father of two boys, and I don’t want my sons to be afraid to show their emotions like I was.”
Flintside: How does life compare to how you were raised as a young boy, emotionally, to how you’re being groomed into a man?
“I loved my childhood; my dad is one-of-a-kind. He taught me the game. He taught me how to conduct myself under pressure. My boys are teaching me how to respond and not just react to situations. I don’t think my dad or uncles meant any harm by it, but I was taught not to outwardly show my emotions. Thanks to my wife, I’ve been focusing on being a healthy father and husband by honoring those same emotions.”
For more on Fortunxte
, find him on Instagram and TikTok, and check out his music on Youtube and all streaming sites.