South Mississippi Strong: Ocean Springs man nominated for a Golden Globe

Brett McLaughlin, aka Leland, has worked with big-name musicians like Ariana Grande and Selena Gomez

South Mississippi Strong: Ocean Springs man nominated for a Golden Globe

LOS ANGELES, CA (WLOX) - An Ocean Springs man is making his mark in the music world. In fact, he is nominated for a coveted Golden Globe Award.

It's a dream come true for 31-year-old Brett McLaughlin, who has been singing, playing and writing music for as long as he can remember. Now, he's nominated for Best Original Song in a Motion Picture, along with other nominees like Dolly Parton and Lady Gaga.

Brett McLaughlin has been pursuing his dream since he was a child in Ocean Springs. Now, he's living in Los Angeles and making quite a name for himself. (Photo source: Facebook/@LelandOfficial)
Brett McLaughlin has been pursuing his dream since he was a child in Ocean Springs. Now, he's living in Los Angeles and making quite a name for himself. (Photo source: Facebook/@LelandOfficial)

Brett, along with Troy Sivan and Jonsi, wrote the song "Revelation," which is featured in the film Boy Erased. When Troy Sivan called him with the news, Brett said it came as a big surprise.

"I looked up the prediction list the night before and we weren't really on any of them so I went to bed, not getting my hopes up," McLaughlin told WLOX via Skype from his home in Los Angeles. "I woke up to a phone call from Troye. He said, 'Guess who's been nominated for a Golden Globe?' And I said, 'Lady Gaga?'

"'Yes, but that's not all,'" Troye told Brett. "'You and I are going to the Golden Globes.'"

The film Boy Erased stars Nicole Kidman and Russell Crowe, along with Troye Sivan. The song “Revelation” plays at a pivotal point in the film, which is based on the true story of a young, gay man whose parents try to change his sexuality and identity by sending him to conversion therapy.

"I'm grateful it's happening with this specific project, this specific song," said Brett. "It feels very purposeful, very fulfilling. Like it's meant to be with this song."

But this Golden Globe nomination is just one of many successes Brett has had in the music industry. In fact, many know him by the name Leland, a singer-songwriter who has worked with many big-name artists and continues to grow in popularity with his latest single, "Middle of a Heartbreak."

Some of the notable projects Brett has worked on include composing the score and writing 11 original songs for the Netflix original movie Sierra Burgess is a Loser. He also co-wrote Kardashian: The Musical, VH1 Divas Live, and Kitty Girls. Additionally, he has been featured on VH1′s RuPaul’s Drag Race. Other musicians he has worked closely with include Daya, Selena Gomez, Andy Grammer, Kelsea Ballerini and Ariana Grande.

"That's been incredible," he said. "They're masters at what they do and so to be able to be in a room with someone who is a master at what they do, I love it."

It's a love for music and entertainment that began right here in South Mississippi.

Brett McLaughlin graduated from Ocean Springs High School. (Source: McLaughlin Family photo)
Brett McLaughlin graduated from Ocean Springs High School. (Source: McLaughlin Family photo)

"I had a very supportive family and they would drive me to rehearsal, buy me a trumpet if I wanted to try that."

The Ocean Springs High School graduate played gigs around town as a teen and appeared in community theater projects at venues like the Biloxi Saenger from the time he was very young.

“I always knew I wanted to be in music but it took a long time to get here,” he said.

Seven years ago, that journey took Brett from Ocean Springs to Nashville to Los Angeles. Now, he says he has reached a point where he can be more selective.

"At the beginning of your career, you have to say 'yes' to everything," he said. "Now, I'm able to be more picky about what I work on. I want to keep working on projects I'm passionate about with artists I respect. I just want to keep putting music out there that I'm proud of."

Leland's latest single "Middle of a Heartbreak" was released Nov. 30, 2018, and is now available for download. (Photo source: Facebook/@LelandOfficial)
Leland's latest single "Middle of a Heartbreak" was released Nov. 30, 2018, and is now available for download. (Photo source: Facebook/@LelandOfficial)

That includes music like “Revelation,” which is also starting to get Oscar buzz. Just this week, he found out that “Revelation” is on a short list for an Oscar nomination. It’s a very inspiring twist to Brett’s story. Just four years ago, he was working as a caterer at the Golden Globes Awards. Now, he’s competing with some of the most popular artists of this generation.

"It's very surreal. It's musicians and songwriters I respect so much who are nominated, so to even be in the same category feels like we already won."

The 76th annual Golden Globe Awards will be held Jan. 6, 2019.

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