RB first met Emotion Brown as the soulful backup singer for Jonathan Tyler & The Northern Lights, but there is much more to this multi-talented artist. She is a published author, poet, novelist, playwright, and a musician worth keeping an eye on. Emotion herself gives us a little insight into her music and poetry as well as a stream of some of her music after the jump. Check it out.
Can you give our readers a little description of your sound?
I describe my sound as Soulternative. It’s the Soul Alternative. It’s not Soul. It’s not R&B. It’s not Neo-Soul because it’s not completely soul music. I usually tell people it’s what you get if Mary J Blige covered a Ricky Lee Jones tune. I grew up on Michael Franks, Ricky Lee Jones, Average White Band and Spyrogyra as well as The Ohio Players, Minnie Ripperton, Aretha Franklin and Stevie Wonder. Then when I entered the middle grades, I was listening to The Beatles, Sting, Run DMC, Isley Brothers, Cyndi Lauper, Michael Jackson, and Elton John. Finally came Hip Hop and Jazz. I studied Jazz in college and all along, I was singing gospel in church. So the influence of my sound comes from a very clear mix of what is and was going on musically from the African-American and European influences in my life. It was never one or the other for as long as I can recall. These are just a few examples that I hope expresses what I do. The first albums I ever bought were Kraftwork, The Go-Go’s, Diana Ross, and the soundtrack to Grease. I was a geek to my friends. My music background never made sense until I was well into adulthood and able to record what I was hearing. I spent alot of time failing at singing just rhythm and blues. Failing miserably. Lol!
You’ve been playing with Jonathan Tyler and the Northern Lights for a while now, but you were performing on your own well before that, what was it like going in and making a solo record?
My solo project is forever a work in progress. I actually had an album before I knew I “had” and album. Friends were starting recording studios and doing a lot of messing around learning softward and board usage. I was usually around and offered myself up as a guinea pig. I didn’t even have studio experience and was astounded at hearing my voice in the booth. My DJ friends gave me tracks for free and I’d just go in and lay random notes and pieces that I had in my poetry book, the entire time not taking into account that I was doing what it took to get an album done. For instance, Neptunes Rising is dummy lyrics that never got changed. The studio I recorded in folded and I was stuck with this random, youth and drug heavy song, but it rocked so I roll with it. I didn’t consider the songs as songs. Then I developed and started to really pursue getting an album done, but by then people needed money which I didn’t really have. I used up my final favors taking the songs that I considered unfinished, gathering them together, got a loan from my dad and put out a five song disk so that I could have something to sell and represent what I do. I used to be really embarrassed with it and would try to do all this explaining when people bought it, but now, I look at it as the miracle CD. It’s good for what it is. I’m looking forward to the next project.
You are a multi-talented artist: a writer, musician, poet, etc. Are there any other projects you’re working on that we should know about? Are you more passionate about any single pursuit?
I would LOVE to complete the novel I’m working on to close out my writing, but there’s no one form that totally owns my passion. I’m halfway done with the novel, but can only work on it when I’m home and have the time. Writing novels is the most isolated craft I involve myself with. I am addicted to creating. I recently had poetry accepted to the, SAY IT LOUD: James Brown Anthology edited by Dr. Mary Weems for Whirlwind Publishing. The book released in July of 2011. Also, I have an essay in CHILDREN OF THE CHANGING SOUTH: Accounts of Growing Up During and After Integration, edited by Foster Dickson for McFarland Publishing. The book will be available in January 2012. Just tonight, I submitted an erotica story for an upcoming e-book anthology, but it hasn’t been accepted yet. I try to stay published as much as possible. JT and I will embark upon my next solo project in February of 2012 which will have a mix of Afro Beat and Funk Soul influence. I’ve been listening to alot of Blundetto, Budos, and even Rodrigo y’ Gabriela. It’s going to be an open project – higly experimental but loaded with groove. I just hope to wake up one day and be all over the place. Ubiquitous!
What’s up next for Emotion Brown?
To be honest. Only the Cosmos knows. I try to do one thing and it fails while something I’m not even concentrating on runs a touchdown. All I know to do is create and help others create. I know that if I stay low and keep firing, I can’t lose. I’m always submitting my writing to various publications, composing songs on my guitar, and making myself available for chances to be exposed. What’s next is always happening in my world. Thanks!
Check out these three tracks from her album Emotion & The Cosmos:
Emotion Brown – “All Messt Up”
Emotion Brown – “Uninterrupted Life”
Emotion Brown – “Ms Match”