Check out our interview with Los Angeles based talented singer-songwriter Brooke Stephenson.
In 2019, after earning a spot on Kelly Clarkson’s team on NBC’s The Voice Season 17, Brooke worked one-on-one with Clarkson and her chosen advisor Normani, refining her musical palette. Additionally, her background vocal credits include Andy Grammar’s track “I Found You” and Christone “Kingfish” Ingram’s track “Rock & Roll”.
Pre-covid, Brooke spent much of her time performing at some of LA’s most prominent songwriter venues, and writing songs for her debut Americana EP “Backbone”, produced by John Spiker (Tenacious D, Beck, John Carpenter). The first 5 singles were released in 2020, and the full EP will be released Spring 2021. “Backbone” is a body of work incorporating American roots influences, and detailing the curious mind of a 20-something year old, trying to navigate through life, while humbly clinging to her roots.
Follow Brooke @BrookeStephenson
Hi Brooke, please tell us a little about you?
Hello and thanks so much for having me! I’m excited to be chatting with you! I am a singer-songwriter from Los Angeles, born and raised in a tiny town in the woods of Connecticut. I have an Americana EP called “Backbone” releasing on May 14th, and my single “Cry To Me” releases April 16th.
We’re sure you have been asked this million times but how did you get in the industry?
I’ve been singing and writing songs since I was about 12. In 2014, I graduated from Berklee College of Music as a singer with a major in Music Business/Management. After graduation, I moved to LA. My dream at that time was to be working in the music industry and singing on the side. I got a job at a record label, but as time went on, I grew more and more restless. I felt like I was helping the careers of a lot of artists I didn’t fully believe in, and I wanted to contribute something greater to the music world I love so much. So without any other job lined up, I quit my job, and since then I was able to be on The Voice, write and record this album, and grow my presence as an online remote singer.
Who influenced you and why did you choose to make music?
I chose music to make music because it’s what I’ve been doing all my life. There’s never been an alternative for me, it’s a part of who I am. My parents aren’t musical, but they did influence me in that they let me choose whatever path came most natural to me. I also grew up listening to incredible singers, like Whitney Houston, Celine Dion, and Bonnie Raitt, who had an enormous influence on me.
Best advice ever given?
Some of the best advice I’ve ever heard is “Be you – everyone else is taken”. I love this piece of advice because it reminds us all not to take anything too seriously, to just remain true to yourself and follow your own unique path. No one has ever walked the same path as you, so you might as well just own it!
Do you play any instrument?
I do! I play piano. I took lessons when I was very young, but then taught myself chords and how to accompany myself in high school.
Tell us about your new single “Cry To Me?”
This song is the final single on my upcoming debut EP “Backbone”. The EP was recorded and produced by John Spiker (Tenacious D, Beck, John Carpenter) at his studio in LA. The song is a laid back but hard-hitting alt-country tune mixed with blues and soul, and some big vocals including a gospel choir. “Cry To Me” releases April 16th, 2021.
What’s the story behind the song?
“Cry To Me” is about unconditional love. It’s about having someone whose shoulder you can cry on when you need it, who will be there through thick and thin. This song is for those who have been lucky enough to experience an unconditional type of love, and also for those who aspire to find it someday. This song becomes a retreat for those who harbor broken hearts or at least share the room with someone in need of emotional sustenance.
What’s the feeling of the success you had on The Voice Season 17?
My experience on The Voice was such an exciting time! I was trying not to look at the chairs during my blind audition, because I wanted so badly for at least one to turn, and I didn’t want it to distract me. So it wasn’t until I finished the song that I noticed it was three! I was ecstatic. I’m so grateful for the whole experience.
How was working with Kelly Clarkson?
I loved working with Kelly Clarkson so much. Not because she is a celebrity, because I got to see with my own eyes why she is where she is in her career. She truly is a powerhouse – she’s an incredible singer, but she’s also musically smart. She reached her level of success because she is really good at what she does.
Do you ever get nervous?
Over the years, I’ve had to deal a lot with nerves and stage fright. I’ve never been a natural performer, it’s something I am always working at, and have learned skills for managing it. The first is to practice, practice until the song(s) becomes muscle memory. The second is breathing exercises. Both of those are so helpful to me.
What is your favorite healthy food?
And your favorite cheat food?
Cake! I love cake way too much. I’m probably going to go get a slice after this ☺
What is your own definition of happiness?
My definition of happiness is getting to be 100% yourself. That means not having to follow the expectations of society, parents, family, etc. and only following the path that comes most naturally to you. I truly think that when a person isn’t allowed to be 100% themselves, it hurts them in all different facets of their lives.
Travel Destination: I have never been there, but I have always dreamed of going to Ireland! Ever since I saw the movie The Holiday, I always wanted to stay somewhere like the cottage that Cameron Diaz stays in. I was supposed to go this year for my 30th birthday, but last I heard Ireland is still pretty closed down due to the pandemic. I hope to get to go there soon! Let me know if you know of any good spots to visit 😉
Where we can follow you?
I’d love to connect with your readers! Everyone can find me on music platforms such as Spotify, Apple Music and Amazon, and at the following:
Photo Credit: Natalie Wentworth