Annette Brown, Lifetime The story of June Carter Cash comes to life in the…
- Posted on Mar 8th 2010 6:15PM by Wendy Gould
Describe the sound of your music in your own words.
Organic, soulful pop.
When did you decide to start making music?
From the day I was born, I cried like a goat. I sounded as though I was trying to sing opera in my cradle. I started dabbling at the piano when I was about seven. I would listen to the radio -- usually while people were talking to me -- and then run into my room and try to figure out on the piano how to play the chords I had just heard. To this day, if the music is on, it's very hard for me to listen to anyone. My attention goes right to the melody.
What music were you inspired by growing up?
All kinds. gospel was my primary influence. At about the age of seven, my father introduced me to gospel music. A hairdresser at the time, he would bring me up to Harlem on Sundays and sit me down with a group of people he either knew or didn't know but with whom he felt comfortable leaving me with while he would take off to cut someone's hair. Sometimes I would sit through an entire service. I remember loving every minute. After a while, I began memorizing songs. One day, an older lady saw me mouthing the words to a song and asked me to come up on stage and sing. That was my first time performing in front of an audience.
Who are some of your favorite musicians today?
Stevie Wonder, Belle X1, Kim Burell, Smokey Norful, Damien Rice, Bon Iver and so many more.
Tell me a little about the time you spent away from home.
I spent time exploring the world. I got into a bit of trouble in New York and decided that the only way out of it was to focus on music. I met Crystal Johnson (producer, R&B singer, songwriter) whom I pretty much moved in with. She became my musical mentor. Since then, my goal has consistently been to be completely self-sufficient. Crystal was the first person to teach me how to sing, write, produce, and engineer.
Did that time inspire the music you create now?
Yes. I believe that everything I have ever been through has either consciously or unconsciously influenced my music. I can't help but write what I feel. If I didn't have music as a means of expression, I would be lost.
If you were a flavor of bubblegum, what would it be and why?
Mangostein gum. I don't even think that exists. It is the greatest fruit! I discovered it in the Philippines, where my mother was born.
What are your other hobbies?
Eating dark chocolate, having laugh contests to see who can laugh the longest and hardest, horseback riding, martial arts.
What has been the highlight of your career thus far?
The highlight was when I sang in a hospital as part of Lifebeat, an organization that helps people suffering from AIDS. A man was wheeled into the main cafeteria, where I was performing. He couldn't move much. I was later told that he had barely uttered a sound for several years. While I was singing in Spanish, I heard his voice coming from the audience. It was as if he were trying to sing with me. He started to shed tears, and so did I. The nurses couldn't believe that he was trying to speak. I went over to him afterward and spoke to him in Spanish. I don't think he understood English. He took my hand.
That was one of those rare moments when everything superficial slips away and the exchange between two people becomes the most meaningful thing. That's when we see that music can be the highest form of communication.
Wendy Gould is a contributor from Seed.com. Learn how you can contribute here.