Bianca Brown is Finding Home
“The thing about my songs is that they can be applied to multiple situations. They are not just one isolated event.” Bianca Brown explains in an exclusive interview with Black Pearl Entertainment on the heels of Hype Off Culture, a showcase and panel event hosted by boutique label Sistah Music Snax and Hype Off Life magazine.
When you know you know, but the road leading to the answer is sometimes problematic. Add unexpected events where life is life’ing, and you can start down a road of uncertainty that causes you to second guess yourself. At one point Bianca “BB” Brown felt that she wasn’t good enough to release her music to the world. In this past year, she realized that she was getting in her own way, letting life events and outer things consume her. It was at this juncture that Bianca “BB” Brown decided to put her anxiety aside and release her first solo project Is Anybody Home? She initially wanted to release the songs as singles, but felt that it was right to release the project as an EP, displaying her gift through an array of R&B that is cinematic, personal, and honest.
Growing up, BB had a natural inclination to music and an even stronger attraction to the piano. Music is where she could be 100% herself. She learned T.V. tunes and music from movie soundtracks constantly by humming melodies and adding her own harmonies. She got her start as a 3rd grade student at Ohlone Elementary and began crafting music based curriculum for younger kids in her after-school program. Eventually, she learned to play piano by combining what she hummed and played by ear. Another aspect of learning the piano came from watching her vocal teacher’s hand movements then practicing for hours after class ended. Later, she developed her skills in music theory at Oakland School for the Arts & became inspired by Bobby McFerrin to beat box and do voice impressions while singing and playing piano.
The EP is an open question posed to BB about BB with a glimpse of her life intertwined. On Feel Better, BB asks herself “does suffering make it all real?” She says, “Nobody ever talks about how bad it hurts when you realize someone is not beneficial to you whether in love or friendship, and you have no choice but to walk away because God is showing you all of these signs.” In the song she questions past and present relationships in her life that “do not benefit my highest good. That are not respecting my boundaries, that are not conducive to my health, my growth, and development overall.” She offers hope on the refrain with instruction to “keep on dancing everlasting time loops,” and more specifically to herself to never refuse the dance.
Love me like I Do is the only song she did not produce on the project. An associate and friend, Will Randolph produced the instrumental and gave it to her. The chorus reminds us that no one is going to love you like yourself. BB shared that growing up she would (and still does) cover herself to avoid harassment from developing early, to hide from “consistent inconsistencies” and to shield herself from the critique of Black women stemming from one-sided standards of beauty contradictions projected by the dominant culture. She identifies with Megan the Stallion, (both stand at 5’10”), who herself has been picked apart to the point of being called a man. “No woman deserves to go through what she is going through.” Love Me Like I do speaks to the things women do to fit in and the never ending critiques. “Sometimes being a woman is like a double edged sword. If you bought your body you’re fake. If it’s natural, you need work done and you’re not admirable. It’s a damn catch 22! Anybody talking about other peoples bodies aren’t happy in their own, so why should I let the projections of others consume me?”
What You Wanted dives deeper into BB’s past lives. She tried to give someone “the moon, the stars but was left with feeding a black hole that only looked to take.” After having that person attempt to come back when karma showed up to their doorstep, she had to insert the meme “it’s above me now” into the situation. “This is what you wanted so why the sudden change of heart? Hmmm…is it the lack of access that you miss rather than me?” Again life. She admits to “falling in love with words, rather than actions.” Inspired by Nas’ line “When I was twelve, I went to hell for snuffin Jesus” on Live at the BBQ. She too wanted to mention Jesus and added him to the first verse. “Hangin round like Jesus pieces what was the reason? Last time I seen you I think it was Pisces season.” Sonically, she wrote the hook as an ode to one of her favorite songs, The Sweet Escape by Gwen Stefani. She stacked the harmonies to sound like the acoustics within a transit tunnel-Ashby BART station for Bay folks. In the end she says of the relationship, “I’m glad that didn’t work out, like it was supposed to.”
BB’s past relationships shows up again in Good Thing an up-tempo bop that tells the story of betrayals and goodbyes. The tempo and drum tracks were inspired by the boom bap sound of NY & Hip Hop legends – Wu Tang Clan. As to comfort herself before confrontation, she softly hums the intro before going confidently into the chorus. This is the only song on the album where BB displays her other talent, rapping.
The EP reveals a lot about BB and some of the trials she has been through, but her most vulnerable moments are shared on the ballad Meant To Be. The Bay Area music scene can be cliquish and political and has made many music professionals question themselves. In an act of irreverence to her gift and her voice, BB internally inquires if success in music is truly meant for her?” She wants to be an authentic musician in every way and wants to produce music that represents herself, even if that means she has to fight the negativity within. When asked, she admits that the answer can change daily.
Is Anybody Home? Is a timeless and intimate look into the mind of a creative coming into her own as a woman, a producer, and an artist. Find out more about Bianca Brown on Linktr.ee, and listen to Is Anybody Home? on streaming platforms everywhere.