Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Artist Profile: Rachel Brown
Born and raised in New York City, 23-year-old Rachel Brown combines both her hometown's multi-cultural atmosphere and her Bermudian and Ethiopian heritage to create a sound that's equal parts pop, folk and reggae.
While she's only been performing since her junior year at Harvard, and is not classically trained in any instrument, Brown managed to learn the guitar and ukulele on her own. "My songwriting process—which started about five years ago— consisted of grabbing my guitar and learning to play it while I wrote these songs,” she said. “I just kind of play things until they sound right.”
This simple-can-do attitude spills over into her songwriting as well. The bubbly reggae-fused pop of "Bumblebee" finds her head over heels for a new infatuation, while "Diamond In The Rough" strikes a slightly more seductive tone, with the lines "Your smile is like a bonfire/It melts all my cares away." But Brown can also sing the break-up blues as well, as proven by the somber live track "Lullaby," where she tries to her best not to break down. "No that's not a tear/I swear/I just got somethin' in my eye."
Such emotional honesty has earned her opening slots for acts like Mary J. Blige and Robin Thicke, as well as an impromptu performance with her musical idol Wyclef Jean, who asked her to join him onstage for a cover of Bob Marley's "Redemption Song."
Brown is currently working on her debut album, set for a late summer release. Until then, click on the links to listen to a few tracks below:
Diamond In The Rough