Interview: Sylvia Brooks – Signature

Hey Sylvia, super nice to have the chance to chat with you. What first got you into music? 

I was born into a musical family, so I grew up with music all around me. I initially went into classical theatre- I love language- which is why I love writing.  When my father died ( he was a Jazz pianist)  I went through his archives to have something played at his funeral. I guess it was at that point that I had what you could call an epiphany.  

What strengths do you have that you believe make you a great musician?

Being raised with Jazz and opera in the house- (my mother was an opera singer), I was a very fortunate kid to be able to hear great music from a very early age- and I believe that I instinctively understand when something is good. I want people to feel their humanity. So I try to reach that part of people through my music and lyrics.

What was the best phase in your life?

Now. I am very proud of the work on my newest album Signature. 

Your latest track is ‘Signature’. Can you share with us the background of its creation and did any unusual things happen during its creation?

Actually, it was an amazing experience. It’s my first almost completely original album ( and my 4th). And I wanted it to be a true collaboration with the everyone that worked on the record. I’m very lucky to work with some of the best musicians in Los Angeles. So we went into the studio with very little form- no more than a lead sheet. And I said let’s all bring ourselves to this. I spoke to them about what each song meant before we laid it down. Most things were done within one or two takes. The other amazing thing was the studio we recorded at- Dragonfly Creek Recording Studio in Malibu. It’s Charley Pollard’s studio ( an amazing talent) and it sits in the middle of a seven acre horse ranch- complete with goats! And the most amazing thing was that several years ago, we had the Woolsey Fires out in California- and the entire ranch burned down ( all of the horses and people were safe-) but the studio was the only thing on the entire property that was not touched. The fire burned around it….So it was an omen to record there.

Where do you see your musical career in 10 years?

Writing, definitely writing more, and maybe performing in more intimate concert venues in the US and other countries.

What would you be doing right now, if it wasn’t for your music career?

I’d probably still be acting! There is some amazing television being made now!

How do you structure your week?

Right now I’m promoting Signature. It will be on the Grammy Ballot for the initial round. We’ll see if it receives a final nomination. 

What do you think is the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen or experienced?

There was a little girl recently in a dance show, maybe 6 or 7. She was over weight and very out of step. And I felt bad for her. But when I looked closer, I realized that she had downs syndrome. And my entire perspective changed. I actually welled up with tears- and thought…”what a remarkable little girl she is.” She gave it everything she had, and she was so proud of herself. And so were her parents. I’ve started writing a song about it. 

What do you think of your generation?

I look at people- not groups- so some I’m amazed by, and others I don’t understand. 

What is the most surprising fact you’ve learned about yourself?

That I don’t believe in cruelty toward anyone or anything. I’ve always been like that, I’ve always fought for the underdog. The other things is that I’m stronger than I thought. Nothing knocks me off balance for very long. I always get back up, stronger than before.

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