Brielle Brown Debuts The Contemplative “Concrete Stars” From Her Upcoming EP

Brielle Brown found musical inspiration for her latest single “Concrete Stars” while standing in the shower, peacefully removed from life’s distractions. Those few moments of solace provided her the alone time she needed to focus on the song’s introspective theme as it came to fruition, which “revolve around theories of quantum mechanics, consciousness, hope and grief.”

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“I’m sure other writers can relate,” Brown tells American Songwriter. “The shower is a very common place for ideas to spring. Either in the shower or while driving, which are two very inopportune times for phone usage!”

“Concrete Stars” is a somber, solemn and reflective life meditation, with echoes of gospel, Americana folk and soul that nestles nicely alongside Emmylou Harris, Mavis Staples, Sarah McLachlan and John Hiatt. Producer Marc Swersky creates a spacious, moody Daniel Lanois-style production, respectfully allowing Brown’s sympathetic, tender vocals to shine as she tackles the complexities of life.  

Once she had the opening line, “Oh daughter, time passes slow/sugar water on our tongues/touch and go,” the song flowed through her in a matter of ten minutes. “I didn’t have a title at first but since the song is partly about the balance of opposing forces in life, I just decided to choose two opposites from the lyrics.”

“I realized later that the title had a double meaning. The third verse came from a memory I have from about two weeks after I had moved out to Los Angeles. I was 22 and fresh out of acting school in NYC. I was waiting for someone on the Sunset Strip and I saw a small woman coming out of a restaurant and the paparazzi just engulfed her and her car like a swarm of bees. I swear it seemed like hundreds of them and she had to kind of fling them off her car a bit in order to drive. It was the first time I’d actually seen that in real life and it made me question a lot about my career and the choices I was making. I really had to ask myself what my end game was because it certainly wasn’t that. When writing this song, the memory came to me. I hadn’t consciously thought of it since then. But it felt right to add since I was thinking about the perception of time and what really happens once we leave people and parts of ourselves in the past.”

Brielle Brown (photo credit: Trina Cary)

The multi-talented artist juggles many hats in her daily life, both artistic and personal. A studied theater performer and classically trained singer, she’s worked in the music therapy field for several years and has seen firsthand what music can do through her work with The Louis Armstrong Center for Music and Medicine. “The power of music continues to amaze me every day. I was fortunate to meet some pretty incredible people along the way.”

Brielle Brown “Concrete Stars”

She also has her hands full as the mother of young twins with Swersky, her husband and producer. If that weren’t enough, Brown works in artist development, guiding young artists to the next musical level through her company MonoCentric Music.

Brown credits her parents for raising her in a home filled with music and free thought. “I grew up with a lot of the music that came out of Laurel Canyon in the 60’s and 70’s. Studying Joni Mitchell’s lyrics at such a young age was the best master class any money could buy. I remember falling so in love with the idea of that bohemian music scene and always wanted to recreate that somehow for myself.”

“When I first started writing songs, my friends and I would get together once a week—we’d all meet at somebody’s house, sit around and take turns playing our new songs for each other. We called it the “La La Music Club”. Everyone would join in if they felt like it and we’d just have a jam session and help each other work out our songs. That’s the stuff that sticks with you.”

After years of helping others, Brown promised that, for 2020, she would focus on herself.

“As an adult now, I feel lucky to have been able to carve out a creative space for myself, along with my husband, Marc Swersky (also my producer) and all of the artists we work with. I really think that my earliest musical memories played a huge part in dictating the choices I’ve made.”

“Being a parent has changed so much when it comes to creation. I feel more grounded and focused now as a mother, than I ever did before. You might think that being a parent would set an artist back in some ways. The lack of time to create is definitely a hazard of the job, but there’s a strange symbiotic relationship between being an artist and a parent. I think I knew right from birth, looking at these two feisty premature babies, scared out of my mind, that they might have come from me, but they were already so themselves and so longing to be part of the world.

Brown remains pragmatic and committed to the free-thinking ways in which her parents raised her. “I think as an artist, creation is the same. One day, after we nurture our kids and our art, we just have to set it all free. I think the more we try to control, the less beautiful it becomes. It took me a while to realize how to let go of the control of things, but I think as a parent, you have to learn pretty quickly or you drown! The small things become even smaller and the important things become clearer. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still just a normal mom who wants to scream or cry at the end of most hectic days but as far as art is concerned, I feel settled in my mind and body now more than ever.”

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