Brennan Villines is a rock star on the rise. Within just a few short months of arriving in New York City, he landed a spot on P Diddy’s popular music competition show, The Four. With a passionate rendition of The Proclaimers hit “I’m Gonna Be 500 Miles”, Villines floored DJ Kahled, brought Meghan Trainor to tears, and left Diddy speechless. Despite the stellar reaction, somehow he wasn’t able to garner the requisite votes needed to nab a seat on the stage that night. It is a reality show, after all.
Not all was lost, however. Having been exposed to millions of people, Villines formed a special bond with his new fans. They were wowed not just by his performance but by his willingness to share his struggles. Villines has opened up to his fans about his life as an HIV-positive man, and life after his addition to crystal meth.
“I accomplished what I set out to do.” he says with confidence. His appearance on The Four garnered so much attention after the performance aired, his social media accounts overloaded causing his cell phone to shut down.
Now five years clean, Villines never forgets the hardships he overcame to achieve his success. Getting sober wasn’t easy. His first attempt to get clean happened while he was performing on a cruise ship with his partner. “For the year I was on the ship I stayed clean, but my partner at the time wasn’t, and once we were back on dry land things went back to the way they were.”
He continued to use meth, not realizing that his saving grace was around the corner. Over five years ago, Brennan set off to see his family for the holidays with a backpack filled with drug paraphernalia. The startling moment his parents discovered the bag’s contents changed his life.
“I thought, ‘Okay this is obviously a problem’ and I was willing to get help right away.”
After conducting an evaluation, specialists suggested he join an outpatient program. In most cases such as these, addicts are sent to an inpatient facility but the recovery team took note of his ardent determination to achieve sobriety, and decided to go another route.
“Even though I grew up in a semi-religious household, twelve step programs didn’t appeal to me. In treatment, I was educated on how the brain handles addiction.”
Villines abstains from drugs, but enjoys the occasional alcoholic beverage in moderation. He’s in awe of his friends who are sober from alcohol. “I think it’s astounding for someone to go through rehab for alcoholism. You can’t go to a bar, restaurant or grocery store and find crystal meth on a menu or a shelf, but alcohol is everywhere.”
Rock and roll may have been synonymous with sex and drugs for Villnes in the past, but nowadays his music focuses on conveying a positive message that inspires people to live their best lives.
“It’s a struggle to be a pop artist when a lot of music is about drinking and drugging.”
With three songs dropping over the next few weeks, Villines shows no signs of slowing down. “Make It Work”, “Kaleidescope”, and “Nothing to Lose”, all contain inspirational messages.
“I want to be remembered for being a positive influence in people’s lives. My father asked me why I have my HIV status as part of my bio. Up until my diagnosis, I was living a reckless and carefree life. It’s beautiful being able to speak about it on a national platform.” He still receives messages on a daily basis from fans on how his story has truly inspired them.
Brennan hopes to continue to inspire his thriving fan base by becoming Soberocity’s first Brand Ambassador. Every week, Brennan will be posting about things that have inspired him from the sober community and his personal life. As he continues his sober and musical journey. Stay tuned for Brennan’s takeover of our Soberocity socials along with his LIVE interview with me on Soberocity’s Facebook Page and Instagram Page on Thursday 10/18/18. You can view the interview by clicking here on the 18th for a direct link to the live interview.
Watch Brennan’s latest music video, “Better Than We’ve Ever Been” here.