Michelle Brooke Interview

 Michelle Brooke Interview by Christian Lamitschka for Country Music News Internation Magazine & Radio Show

 

Lamitschka:
Music has many new fans throughout Europe who may be hearing about you
for the first time. How would you describe yourself and the music you
play to someone who has never seen or heard you?

Well
first of all, hey new friends!! I’d describe myself as a goofy, loving,
outgoing, and friendly human. I’m very passionate, a touch eccentric,
and I make music about moments and experiences that have happened in my
life that I hope will touch and comfort others. Musically, (I can only
hope) I feel if Sara Bareilles and Chris Stapleton had a music baby, it
might be mine. We are still waiting for the paternity test, though. 😉

Lamitschka:  Do you write the songs yourself? If not, how do you go about finding the songs for your album?

I
usually start a song by myself and then bring in a co-writer. I really
enjoy collaborating with other people. I’m very lucky that I have a
multitude of talented friends that have many different writing styles.
Each song feels like a different chapter of a book I was writing and
living.

Lamitschka:  Please tell us about the songs on your album (influences, etc). 
The
songs on the album are a mixture of the lightness and darkness I’ve
experienced in my life. Some songs like “Dark Water” and “Lonely
Tonight” were written in times of deep confusion and sadness. “Storm” is
an anthem that was created out of a breakup, “Get Away” and “Find Your
Love” are both groovy, dance records, and “Light It Up” is a boozy,
slinky, blues ballad. I wanted to have something for everyone on my
first EP, and these songs happened to feel like they could all sit
together at the dinner table.

 

Lamitschka:  What moments in your career stand out in your memory as highlights and achievements which you are proud of?In
September of 2019, I was asked to sing background vocals in a
multi-artist benefit for Hurricane Dorian at the historic Ryman
Auditorium here in Nashville. One of the featured artists was Charles
Kelley of Lady Antebellum, and Hillary Scott wasn’t able to be there
that night. The band started their song “You Look Good” and I began to
sing her part, and Charles walked back to where I was standing, grabbed
my hand and lead me to the front of the Ryman stage, where I proceeded
to duet with him to a SOLD OUT crowd. It was an amazing career
highlight, and I was grateful for all of the preparation I’ve had in my
career thus far that enabled me to hold my own. I was also very relieved
that I didn’t throw up or trip on a microphone chord!

 

Lamitschka:  When you get time off, how do you like to relax?
Relaxing
is not one of my skill sets because I love to be creative and I love to
be busy. However, when I have the time, I really enjoy hiking and
working out. I love exploring and finding new places to adventure in
Tennessee. I also oddly like cleaning and organizing. I wish I could say
I would go to the bar and have some drinks and nachos, but nope, I just
love to organize my life and work out!

Lamitschka:  What has been your greatest challenge in music business?My
greatest challenge thus far in the music business has been navigating
the BUSINESS side of things. As an independent artist, we need to wear a
lot of hats. This includes being an agent, manager, marketer, social
media savant, all while finding the time to create amidst doing a lot of
administrative work. Time management has been a big learning curve for
me. My artist career is still fresh, and I am learning as I go. Patience
is also a big challenge. Rome wasn’t built in a day, and neither was my
artist career!

Lamitschka:  What drives you?

I’m
driven by self-motivation, determination, and the creativity of others.
I’m constantly amazed at the incredible art that is produced daily.
Living in Nashville has forced me out of my comfort zone, and I’ve been
pushing myself to create in ways that I never imagined. For example, my
first music video was released in October of 2019 for my single “Storm.”
If I didn’t move to Nashville, completely start a new career, and
witness how my friends here pushed the boundaries of what you could do
independently, that never would have happened.

Lamitschka:  How did you choose the title for the new album?  Is there a story behind the name?
I
was having a really tough time deciding the title of the album. I went
back and forth about just using the name of one of the singles, or self
titling it. A friend of mine gave me the advice that it would just come
to me. I went to a workout class here in Nashville and the teacher was
so inspiring. The sun was shining into the studio and she told us to
“let the light in.” A few of the songs on the record symbolize darker
times in my life, so I really resonated with this title. I think it’s
important to understand that there are ups and downs in this life, but
to never sit in the darkness for too long.

 

 

A modern torch record, Michelle Brooke’s new EP Let the Light In gets into the intricacies of love and loss with soul-infused style and aplomb. It’s neo-R&B with a big, beating heart, and doesn’t shrink from confronting the pain of those relationships – those matters of the heart – that define us. But the pain is balanced with optimism, making Let the Light In a record about light and dark, desire and regret. Now a Nashvillian who has shared the stage with notables like Lady Antebellum’s Charles Kelley, Brooke is currently an integral part of the famed house band at Nashville’s celebrated Lower Broadway venue Acme Feed and Seed. You can hear the experience: Michelle brings serious vocal and songwriting chops to her latest release.

Michelle has indeed found her place in the hyper-competitive Nashville music scene. In 2019 alone, she sang background vocals for a multi-artist benefit show at the Ryman Auditorium, learning 30 songs in two days for the event. This super-professional versatility, and Michelle’s well-honed musicality as a singer and songwriter, informs Let the Light In. 

Recorded at Nashville’s Sputnik Sound studio with producer Mitch Dane, Let the Light In proves the concept of torch records, which includes classic albums like Dusty Springfield’s Memphis-recorded 1969 album Dusty in Memphis and Mandy Barnett’s I’ve Got a Right to Cry, is alive and well in Nashville.  

 

Lamitschka:  What is your favorite song among all the songs you have recorded and what’s the story behind it?

I
feel like that would be asking a parent to pick a favorite child!!
“Storm” is very special to me because it was the first single off of my
debut EP, and written with two of my best friends and favorite
co-writers, Jordan Phillips and Adam Stark of the band Apollo LTD. I
loved the song so much that I had to make a music video for it. I kept
having dreams about being on a farm and chasing a storm, and that’s
exactly what we did.

Lamitschka:  Who inspires you musically and how deep do your musical roots run?
I’m
inspired by so many people musically. Sara Bareilles stands out as my
personal musical hero. She is everything that I aspire to be. I started
in this industry by doing music theatre, and to me, she is the perfect
blend of music industry/theatre. She has such a strong gift of melody
and natural ability, and she also seems incredibly down to earth and
funny. I recently saw her live when her “Amidst the Chaos” tour came to
Nashville, and it was one of the best live shows I’ve ever seen.

I’m
named after a Beatles song (guess which one?) and my parents and
Grandparents were musicians and music lovers, so I’d say that my musical
roots run very deep. Growing up in the metro Detroit area,  I’m lucky
that I was introduced to great Motown melodies early on, because I’m
very proud of my musical taste now. I hope that the history of the music
that moved me continues to inspire my musical journey now.

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