Student musician explores avenue for self-expression in Cordoba band

Singer Songwriter Brando Lezzana smiling after a productive practice. PHOTO COURTESY: Averie Zant

By Erika Kuehl | Staff Writer

When San Antonio senior Brando Lezzana decided to start sharing his music beyond his computer, he needed a name for his project. So, he clung to his mother’s birthplace: Cordoba, Argentina.

Lezzana began his official music career in 2021, launching Cordoba as his form of self-expression.

“I’ve been making music since I was in high school,” Lezzana said. “And now in college, I’ve just started to release stuff. And it’s always been a big passion of mine, and it’s always just something I can do.”

Lezzana is not only a self-taught guitarist but also played saxophone in his high school marching band. He said he gives his band director credit for his decision to start his career.

“My band director was a big musical influence for me,” Lezzana said. “And so, I mean maybe that pushed me a bit to make music.”

Lezzana is a member of the Baylor Jazz Combo, which he refers to as the “chill version” of the jazz band. Because his major — management information systems — doesn’t involve musical endeavors, he said it’s a great way to keep playing the saxophone.

Plenty of bands inspire Lezzana’s music. He particularly noted the Beatles and indie-pop project Dayglow.

“Someone who’s really inspired me in everything is Dayglow,” Lezzana said. “I just really liked how he does everything himself. And he’s able to produce his own music and mix, be a multi-instrumentalist and everything. Just a huge inspiration for me.”

Lezzana does all of the writing and producing for Cordoba on his own. He said he learned how to produce through YouTube and has aspirations for a future in Austin or another urban setting.

“I think maybe being a producer would be pretty cool if the whole Cordoba thing doesn’t blow up or anything,” Lezzana said. “So yeah, I guess just producing music for other people or just being a songwriter would be awesome.”

Lezzana said he describes his style as indie rock and has plans to put out two new singles by the end of August. One upcoming single is about how his relationships changed from high school to college.

“It’s really just about how my friendships around me have changed and how some relationships have just gone away and stuff,” Lezzana said. “Just how I guess it makes me feel like a new person because the people around me are different.”

Lezzana said his ideas are sporadic, with “1,000 voice memos full of ideas” waiting to be transformed into finished songs.

“I usually just pick up my guitar or play the piano and just try to hum a melody,” Lezzana said. “I usually just say random words until something kind of fits into the melodies and just write the song around that.”

While Lezzana said he doesn’t know specifically how his image will change in the future, he said it will probably shift depending on the genre he is catering to. For example, his upcoming music discusses heavier topics than he previously approached, such as a disagreement he had with his girlfriend.

“It’s about how small arguments can be made out of nonsense,” Lezzana said. “And once you talk it over, you can work out any issues you have in your relationship.”

Leah Bullinger, Lezzana’s girlfriend and a 2022 Baylor graduate, said she was initially hesitant toward the song, but loved it when she listened to the finished project.

“I think initially, it could have turned into an issue: ‘Oh, you’re writing a song about having a disagreement. That’s probably not good,’” Bullinger said. “But he was saying he wanted it to reflect more of the positive side of being able to work through things together as a team in a way that he hadn’t experienced before. Then I was like, ‘OK, yeah, that makes sense.’”

Bullinger said she wishes people could see how much time Lezzana puts into his music and how he incorporates the stories of his friends and loved ones. She emphasized how much joy it brings him to share what he loves with others.

“Even if he’s humble about it and doesn’t, you know, speak out about it a lot, I know he really appreciates everyone,” Bullinger said.

Lezzana said he has been working toward a live show in the fall, with the addition of bass and drum players. He also said he helps run the sound at Common Grounds on Eighth Street and hopes to get a gig there soon.

“I want people to be inspired to express themselves better, because I feel like I’m a pretty reserved guy,” Lezzana said. “And whenever I’m writing music and stuff, I’m able to express what I’m actually feeling better. And so if I could, [I want to] try to inspire someone to express themselves in the same way and not be scared to hide their feelings.”