We had the good fortune of connecting with Brooke Stephenson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brooke, what do you think makes you most happy? Why?
What makes me happy is staying true to myself. In my experience, that means trusting my intuition, having clear goals and being intentional about how I’m working toward them, having a strong support system, and trying to maintain some balance between work and play (which has been hard during covid). This has allowed me to follow a path that feels right to me, instead of listening to others. It allows me to feel that I am living life to the fullest. I do try to look to the future, but not rigidly. I like to follow where the wind takes me, because it keeps me always learning and growing.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I didn’t grow up in a musical family at all. No one dabbles with any instruments or singing, but I did grow up in a creative family. My dad is always coming up with creative projects, my cousin gives us all hand painted ornaments for Christmas, my Uncle loves telling short stories, etc. I love that they see the beauty of the world through their art, and I feel super lucky to have grown up with those influences.
I started singing and taking voice lessons around age 10, performing at the local mall and in school, but mostly in my bedroom because I was shy. I would sing into my karaoke machine and pretend I was on a big stage and my bed was a crowd of people. Then I was lucky to get into my dream school, Berklee College of Music. My major was Music Business/Management and my instrument was voice. My dream was to be a big exec in the music industry, and sing/song write on the side. I got a job at a record label, but after a few years, I started feeling unfulfilled like I was missing out on something. It didn’t allow me as much time or energy as I thought it would to be doing music on the side. So I left my job, and within a year I was auditioning for The Voice. I was able to get on the show and on Kelly Clarkson’s team, which was so fun and such a wild ride. I also started growing my online presence as a remote singer for clients looking to hire a singer/background singer/songwriter/etc. for their projects. Additionally, I am releasing my debut Americana (alt-country) EP on May 14. Currently, I have 6 singles already released. All of these details can be found at BrookeStephenson.com.
I think what sets me apart from others is the fact that I am influenced by multiple genres. The EP is Americana music, which gives me the excuse to include blues, rock, country, bluegrass, soul, folk and a bit of pop influences.
I am most proud of myself for quitting my secure job to follow my own path, with no other job lined up. I was able to land on two feet without needing help. The journey hasn’t been easy. It is great being your own boss; when you’re your own boss, you are way more committed and excited about the work. But – it also is scary to take the jump, especially when you don’t have another job lined up. I’ve had many jobs in my life, so that I knew no matter what, I’ll always be able to fend for myself. I was able to make it work, and continue growing as an artist, singer and writer.
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Honestly, I would probably do all the stereotypical LA things, because those really are some of the best. For example, a hike (some of my favorites are Temescal Canyon, Solstice Canyon), a burger at In n Out, a bike ride on the boardwalk at the Santa Monica or Venice boardwalk, and a sunset hang at the beach. Even though I’ve lived here almost 7 years, I still can’t get over how amazing the weather is, after growing up on the East Coast. I still think it’s the coolest thing that everyday once it hits about noon, the sun comes out, the temperature turns to 75 degrees, and there’s not a cloud in sight. So if I were showing a friend around LA, I’d probably stay outside all day. I’d also take them to as much live music as possible, especially since we haven’t been able to see live music in so long. Some of my favorite venues that I used to frequent were Hotel Cafe, The Orpheum and The Troubadour. I miss them so much. Some of my favorite restaurants are Sugarfish, The Misfit in Santa Monica, and Forma on Montana Ave. At Forma, they put your cooked homemade pasta in a cheese wheel, and you can watch as the cheese melts. It’s heavenly. These are some of my all time favorite spots and things to do. Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My shoutout is to my parents, friends and family. It might sound cliche, but I truly wouldn’t be where I am today without the support of them. I am so grateful everyday to my support system and loved ones.
Both photos of me with the hat on were taken by Natalie Wentworth