Brielle Brown was quite the behind the scenes creative force before her emergence as a world wise, deeply reflective and soulfully philosophical singer-songwriter on her intensely heartfelt and empowering debut EP The Well. She spent the last decade in artist development, running an indie label and entertainment company (with her husband, two time Grammy winner Marc Swersky) and serves on the Steering Committee for the Louis Armstrong Center for Music and Medicine at Mount Sinai Beth Israel.
Drawing on this wealth of life experiences, the fresh spiritual awakenings of motherhood to twins and a year where strange isolation was the new normal, this six song treasure – which journeys from the restless and haunting, bleak yet dreamy award winning “Concrete Stars” through the stark yet hopeful, piano driven passion of “This Time Around” – is rooted in Brown’s philosophy that we never stop learning and growing, or learning to grow. “Music is one of the best connection devices we have as human beings,” she says, “and because of that, I truly believe that it’s an artist’s responsibility to be a forever student of the human condition – to keep questioning why we’re here, why we love and what it really means to be alive.”
Her provocative exploration of these themes comes through poetic, image-rich lyrics that demand extreme focus and contemplation/meditation to fully embrace – and vocals that convey warmth, intimacy and a compelling sense of invitation. Unless you immerse again and again into her rich tones and her words which are wonderfully concrete and abstract almost at the same time, you may not be able to tell if songs like the classically tinged ballad “The Well,” the stark, slightly bluesy “Let The Water” and the moody, resignation filled yet somehow uplifting “Skylark’s Tune” are about hope or heartbreak.
And that seems by design, because life, like Brown’s songs, are really about those gray areas between darkness and light – opportunities to cautiously celebrate and delight even when sorrow is in the wings waiting to overtake our senses. The same dynamic juxtaposition of hope and despair draws us in on one of Brown’s best (and perhaps most autobiographical) tunes, “She’s Come To Sing,” which starts with a gentle acoustic guitar and lines like “The night is closing in/We’re on the eve of destruction” but leads us to lovelier place where “you still carry on/And we will rise from the fall singing…” followed by some “Hallelujah”s that seem truly joyful rather than cold and broken as she informs us what enables her to sing the word: “Now the only thing left to do is love.”
So even if a few listens doesn’t really reveal whether Brown is or wants us to be hopeful or despairing, we can be sure of one thing – that we’re mighty glad “She’s Come To Sing.”
Listen to The Well here: The Well - Single by Brielle Brown | Spotify