ARTIST SPOTLIGHT: BROOKE VALENTINE
When Brooke Valentine was first introduced to the music world, over a decade ago, she was poised to make an immediate impact. After all, she’d been classically, albeit informally trained, by some of the greatest R &B legends who ever opened their mouths to sing.
“I grew up listening to artists like Anita Baker, Chaka Khan, Stevie Wonder, and Teddy Pendergrass,” she told us. “Everything they put out was amazing. It was a good time to grow up, musically.”
Fans and critics alike were enthralled have been enthralled with her ever since her dynamic and explosive single, “Girlfight.” The song, featuring ATL rap stars Lil Jon and Big Boi, was taken from her debut full-length project, Chain Letter (Virgin Records), and helped propel album sales to 300,000 copies worldwide within the first 3 weeks while remaining steady on the top of Billboard charts.
Now the feisty vocalist and Houston native is back after a brief hiatus with her sophomore effort, Forever (Subliminal Entertainment/Universal), an album layered with hypnotic and harmonic overdubs. Forever is a composite of dazzling club anthems, powerful R&B joints, emotive ballads and mid-tempo tracks – a comprehensive expression of Brooke Valentine’s life experiences. The title track and first single was released in spring and highlighted a “family is forever” theme, featuring the vocalist’s 2 year old son, London. Valentine says the writing of “Forever” was extremely organic, almost accidental but was taken to the studio and later mixed by DJ Quik who was responsible for engineering 11 other songs off the new album.
The second single “Don’t Wanna Be in Love,” written and produced by Deja the Great is a sensual mid-tempo ballad layered with harmonies over a backdrop of driving strings; underscored further by the usage of Isaac Hayes’ ominous classic, “Walk On By.”
“As you know I tend to be extremely random, rare and or weird however I have no plans of changing that so let’s just get the party started shall we?”
Stand-out tracks on the album include, “In the Air,” an ultra dance-driven tune laced with a spiritual theme. On the darker melody, “Down for the Count” Valentine sings about losing her step, following in love and allowing herself to surrender.
From the opening bars, listeners will note the recurring theme of love in Valentine’s latest offering. As the songstress pointed out, that’s neither by coincidence, nor accident.
“For me, love is spiritual. It’s the first theme in the Bible, in the story of Adam and Eve: God created the world because he loved it,” she shared. “We all would like to think we were created in love. I don’t want to ever see the day when we don’t have to love to sing and talk about.”
It should come as no surprise that the process of making love through her music is an intimate expression – one that Brooke Valentine only shares when she’s absolutely ready.
“When I’m recording, I like to kick everyone out of the studio and just get it done,” Brooke laughed. “I invite everyone else in for feedback, after that because I want to make sure I’m staying true to my ideas, instead of being influenced too much by others.”
Valentine cites current stars like Sade, Lauryn Hill, and Big Sean among the luminaries with which she’d one day love to collaborate. But, when asked if she has any plans to, like other artists, launch into fashion or acting projects, the gorgeous songstress, in true Brooke Valentine form, played it close to the vest.
“I have other aspirations beyond music,” she replied. “I have a lot of ideas that excite me, but, at the same time, I am all about substance, quality and structure. I’m extremely dedicated to whatever I’m a part of.”
And while she may not be sharing any of her future plans publicly, it’s clear that for this R & B diva, the sky isn’t the limit – it’s just the beginning.
“With prayer, anything is possible. I didn’t think I could record new music and be as hands-on with my son as I have been, but it’s been okay and it’s been working out, she shared. “I’m excited to share my journey. I took a long break but I’m back, now, and I’m doing what I love to do.”
To keep up with all of the latest Brooke Valentine news, follow her on Twitter at: twitter.com/4everBrooke