Rachel Brown is a singer-songwriter born and raised in New York City, with Ethiopian, Bermudian and Southern roots. With her guitar and ukulele, Brown’s unique voice combines sweetness, sultriness and vulnerability, enchanting the listener. When coupled with her band of talented African and Caribbean musicians, Brown’s music fuses pop, Caribbean, Hawaiian, country, hip-hop and world sounds into a captivating groove.
Peers and established veterans alike quickly recognized Brown’s natural talent. She was the 2010 recipient of the prestigious ASCAP Foundation Robert Allen Award for songwriting as well as a 2011 recipient of the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame Abe Olman Award for Excellence in Songwriting. She also received a very coveted showcase slot at the National Association for Campus Activities’ national convention, leading to a 40 date college tour.
1) For those who may be unfamiliar with your work, tell us about how you got started making music and the process of creating your debut EP, Building Castles.
I took a year off between graduating high school and starting college, and in that time I purchased a guitar and started teaching myself and writing songs. Over the next few years I worked at it and worked at it until graduation, when I was in a place where I could give it a shot full-time. Since then, I’ve built my band, which includes a blend of influences from Caribbean music to hip hop, as well as West African instruments like the kora and talking drum. Building Castles is a collection of six songs I wrote and recorded in New York and LA.
2) We saw that you not only attended Harvard, but were named one of the “15 Most Interesting Seniors”. Talk about transitioning from what must have been a rigorous academic lifestyle into creating and performing music.
Even though I was busy with schoolwork, I would devote my free time to songwriting. When I graduated and realized that I could now devote all of my time to music, I pretty much hit the ground running. Having to ration my time for music while in school made me that much more eager and driven to immerse myself in it post-college.
3) You perform regularly at The Darby in New York and have a show next Thursday at Rockwood Music Hall. Page Six in the New York Post frequently spots some big name celebrities at your shows. What’s the craziest story from a live show (that you can tell us)?
I think the most surprising was last spring when Wyclef Jean joined me on stage unannounced and performed a full set with me and the band. On top of it all, he wasn’t the only stage crasher I had that night! ELEW jumped on the piano and rocked out with us, too.
4) What artists inspired your music style? Are there any contemporary musicians you’d love to play with?
I always have my ears open to interesting melodies, clever lyrics, instrumentation, et cetera. Some artists I find inspiring include Bob Marley, Smokey Robinson, Jason Mraz, Sam Cooke, Wyclef Jean, Andy Grammer, the list goes on. I would love to work with Bruno Mars!
5) It’s no secret technology is becoming more and more of a necessity for artist development. What are your thoughts on the emerging digitized industry and how do you find time staying up-to-date and connecting with fans?
I think it’s great that there are so many ways for artists to connect with their listeners, and that listeners can communicate directly with an artist. And as an artist, it’s pretty incredible that you can instantaneously send your music out to every corner of the world and it’s suddenly accessible to anyone with an internet connection. But between Twitter and Instagram and Facebook and whatever else comes along next, it can be difficult to both stay up-to-date with online communication and have time to create music and carry on with your daily life. As with anything, it has pros and cons, but I think the benefits of being connected far outweigh having to add one more thing to your plate.
This straight forward and no bullshit approach is one of the trademarks of this band from Rio de Janeiro formed by Renato Pagliacci (guitar and production), Jayme Neto (guitar), Guilherme Dourado (bass), Kelder Paiva (drums) and Sabrina.
Like its members, the sound of Kita is very well-resolved: a potent electronic rock and pop driven, ready to conquer all kinds of spectators, in other words, any audience. “One of our main goals is to perform in every continent of the planet,” says Renato.
The sound of the band - in the studio and on stage - is robust and assertive as the names of some of the artists that have inspired them, such as Nine Inch Nails, Foo Fighters, Incubus and Guano Apes. As for the lyrics, they have that “Leave me alone, I speak what I want” in an Alanis Morrissette kind of vibe.
Winter Music Conference is a weeklong electronic music conference and festival, held every March in Miami. DJs, promoters and fans from around the world make the trip each year to see EDM’s biggest and emerging talent.
We caught up with Sariah, who’s latest single “Kill The Lights,” is igniting dance floors and one of our “must see” artists for this year.
1) You recently released the new, infectious dance track, “Kill The Lights.” How would you say your sound has developed? Give us an insight into your writing process.
I love that word, “infectious!” Beginning with the writing process, I have grown so much as a singer, actress, friend, daughter, and lover that I really feel it all connects with my music. I really wanted a POWER house record. I wanted something that would make my audience feel alive, sexy, courageous, and unique! This track, “Kill The Lights” did that for me the second I began working on it with Marisol Credle and DJ Cova. My sound has developed into more than just a dance track and I want it to become an anthem heard around the world!
2) Many argue that in today’s music industry, it’s better to release fewer tracks more frequently. What are your thoughts on this? Also, I’m sure I speak for a great deal of your fans when asking if there are plans for a full album of tracks?
I really feel that it is important to constantly be working on the next. I love my producer, DJ Cova, because he always teaches me that it’s about your next song. Keep pushing forward and creating because that is how you grow and continue to find yourself as an artist. It is important to focus on each track you release and give it its journey for your fans, the crowd, the DJ’s and radio. But, I honestly feel there are no more rules! Artists should do what they want to and release however many songs they feel is great for them. I’ve been exploring into film and theater which is constantly inspiring me to write new music!
3) I’ve noticed you’ve been receiving quite a bit of press in Miami surrounding WMC (Winter Music Conference). Can you tell us a little about the festival and your previous experiences performing there?
I always have a wonderful time at WMC! My first year was the best because I met SO many DJ’s and producers from around the world. That’s why I love it so much. Then, each year I am able to catch up with them and meet more people they are connected to. I met Jellybean Benitez who produced many of Madonna’s early tracks, David Guetta and many more! This year should be a great time as well. I look forward to “Kill The Lights” being a part of the Promo Only record passed out this year, too!
4) Rumor has it, “Kill The Lights” will be debuted live at WMC. When and where can fans catch a live performance?
Your rumor is true :) I will be performing at The Palace on March 24th and a few others! Please check out my Facebook page for all of the events I will be performing at LIVE! www.Facebook.com/Sariah
5) Final question, is it really “All About Sex”? :)
Isn’t it?! :)
For this week’s installment of our artist interview series 5Q, we sat down with LA’s sultry, dance-pop princess, Emii! From her collaboration with rap icon, Snoop Dogg, to her multi-million view music videos on YouTube, Emii is quickly rising up through the ranks to the top of the dance charts. As her latest single, “Time To Move On,” makes the rounds on MTV and major press outlets, expect big things in 2013 from Emii.
1) For anyone just discovering your music, how would you describe your overall sound?
An upbeat blend of soulful pop/dance!
2) Your new single, “Time To Move On” (released today), has been described as a “sugary-sweet, synthed-out pop tune.” What was the inspiration for this track? Take us through your approach to songwriting.
Sometimes we all need a little push to move on from the bad situations we get stuck in. I was inspired by my own past experiences as well as the experiences of close friends, so I had to get the message out through my music. Never settle for less than you deserve!
3) On your previous record, Snoop Dogg (aka Snoop Lion) made a cameo appearance in the song and music video for “Mr. Romeo.” What was it like working with such a legendary music icon?
Snoop was amazing to work with and he’s definitely one of the coolest cats in the music biz. I’m incredibly thankful for that experience and I look forward to future collaborations.
4) Your song “Time To Move On” just premiered on MTV. That’s got to be pretty exciting! How has this exposure impacted your music career?
I AM excited! It was incredible exposure for the new single and it’s definitely the best way to kick off the new release. I have a lot of great things in the works and I can’t wait to share them with everyone!
5) Last question, will you be touring any time in the near future and if so, where will fans be able to catch a glimpse of your live performance?
Absolutely! I am working on the details now, but NYC is looking like my first stop on the list. Check Emii.net for updates as my team will be posting events soon!
First and foremost, congrats to all of the ONErpm artists performing this year! What a great accomplishment!
The wait is over! The SXSW Music Festival Schedule is now live!
The SXSW Music Schedule is being updated daily so stay tuned for additional bands, dates, and venues. You can also check out sessions, parties, lounges, and more.