NewsInspiring South Florida


Gwen Stefani sets stage for Port St. Lucie teen's life

6 years after encounter in West Palm Beach, Brandon Burford reconnects with singer in Las Vegas
Brandon Burford and Gwen Stefani
Posted at 9:36 PM, Nov 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-11-22 21:36:13-05

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — A unique experience was repeated for a Port St. Lucie Gwen Stefani fan.

Six years ago, Brandon Burford went viral after getting pulled on stage at a Stefani concert in West Palm Beach.

His sign about being bullied and saved by Stefani's music caught the star's attention, and now Burford's story has come full circle.

The now-18-year-old went to a Stefani concert in Las Vegas this November and this time his graduation cap caught the superstar's attention.

"When she pulled me up [on stage], that helped me through my whole school life, so I wanted to say, 'Thank you,'" said Burford.

His story goes back six years when Stefani spotted his mother's sign at a concert in West Palm Beach.

"'My son was bullied every day from first to fifth grade,'" read Stefani. "What? 'He would come home every day upset and he'd go to his room and listen to your music and smile.' Get up here right now! Right now!"

Stefani welcomed a then-12-year-old Burford on stage. After that moment, his life would never be the same.

"She helped me believe in myself. She made me feel more confident about myself," said Burford.

On his worst days, Stefani's music would transform Burford.

"As soon as I turned it on, I felt better already," said Burford.

With her advice, Burford graduated high school this year. His graduation cap was decorated with bananas and flowers to represent some of Stefani's popular songs and style. Burford brought the cap to a recent Las Vegas concert and grabbed the superstar's attention once again.

"We follow each other," Stefani said to Burford on stage. "I've watched you grow into that. I am so proud of you, of your journey."

"It was crazy. When I went up, I felt like I was dreaming," added Burford. "It did not feel real."

Back in Port St. Lucie, his room is filled with memorabilia and all things Stefani.

"That's her Las Vegas show called 'Just a Girl'," pointed Burford at a poster framed on his bedroom wall.

These things keep reminding Burford that long after high school, he's not just a boy. He is whatever he wants to be.