Rachel Brown is a singer-songwriter born and raised in New York City, with Ethiopian, Bermudian and Southern roots. With her guitar and ukulele, Brown’s unique voice combines sweetness, sultriness and vulnerability, enchanting the listener. When coupled with her band of talented African and Caribbean musicians, Brown’s music fuses pop, Caribbean, Hawaiian, country, hip-hop and world sounds into a captivating groove.
With no formal musical training, Brown found her voice organically. “My songwriting process—which started when I was 19 – consisted of grabbing my guitar and learning how to play it while I wrote these songs,” says Brown. “I just played until it sounded right.”
Peers and established veterans alike quickly recognized Brown’s natural talent. She was the 2010 recipient of the prestigious ASCAP Foundation Robert Allen Award for songwriting as well as a 2011 recipient of the Songwriter’s Hall of Fame Abe Olman Award for Excellence in Songwriting. She also received a very coveted showcase slot at the National Association for Campus Activities’ national convention, leading to a 40 date college tour.
Having only been performing publicly since her junior year in college, the Harvard graduate’s (she was selected as one of Harvard’s “15 Most Interesting Seniors” in 2010) honest lyrics and melodic sound have secured exposure not often seen by a new artist. Brown has been featured by the New York Post and PerezHilton.com and has opened for the likes of Mary J. Blige and Robin Thicke at Bermuda’s National Stadium, and John Legend and Quincy Jones at the Bermuda Music Festival.
Brown’s music also caught the ear of one of her favorite musical influences, Wyclef Jean. The week after she graduated college, the singer received a surprise when Jean brought her up on stage to perform an impromptu duet of Bob Marley’s “Redemption Song” at a fundraiser held at New York’s legendary Cipriani 42nd Street, and most recently Jean joined Brown onstage at her residency at NYC’s famed supper club, The Darby.
Be sure to catch Brown and her dynamic live band, who take the audience on a visual and audible journey featuring the kora, talking drum, and calabash, in addition to an assortment of hand percussion, electric guitar, horns, bass, drums, and Brown’s vocals, ukulele and acoustic guitar. The live show is not to be missed.
Brown’s debut EP “Building Castles” is available now.
Dayna Ghiraldi | Big Picture Media
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