When Divine Brown enters a room the energy becomes electric. It’s that classic combination of attitude and altitude, for with Divine, people instantly recognize her as music royalty which she carries fearlessly having earned rather than borrowed her crown. It’s in her ability to at once invoke the empowered sexuality of Pam Grier’s seventies superwoman, Foxy Brown, while remaining immediately contemporary, exciting and fresh that drives her appeal. Fearless. Foxy. Fresh. Ladies and Gentlemen it’s time you know Divine Brown.
When “The Love Chronicles” (2008) won the Juno® Award for Best R&B Album in 2009, Divine Brown had already achieved a level of success that most often eludes young girls with dreams of making it big as a singer. A Toronto native, Brown’s fearless approach to life first shows up as a steadfast commitment to her music in the face of half-hearted support from her working class Jamaican family who would most likely have preferred she pursue a safe path like Nursing rather than the mercurial business of Music. Yet, armed with the gift of a 5-octave vocal range and a love for the Soul music she soaked up listening to American radio, Brown set out to make something happen. And happen it did, though not overnight. First came the years of countless performances in clubs honing her vocal craft nightly singing from the canon of Chaka, Patti and the Queen herself – Aretha. As performances led to recording, Brown quickly learned that her audience responded to her fresh takes on classic soul styles. Her self-penned tune “Old Skool Love,” charted a path for International success driving the Gold sales of her eponymous debut album (Divine Brown, 2005) . The single and video whet the appetites of U.S. Soul music fans, and a Reggae remix version secured the attention of Riddim junkies in Jamaica fueling Divine to reach for something more.
Determined to continue her evolution as an artist, Divine began recording on her own the songs that would eventually become the award winning album “The Love Chronicles.” A concept album that draws upon Brown’s affinity for soul music across the generations, the largely self penned project yielded the sexually empowered “Lay It On The Line,” the deeply emotional “One More Chance,” and the chart topping homage to 80’s pop “Sunglasses.” A Canadian Bravo TV special “Live from the Concert Hall” brought her live show to audiences across the country further solidifying her reputation as a talent to be revered.
In possession of an empowered sexuality that allows her to navigate the dark waters of the music business with confidence, Divine Brown brings Foxy to a new generation. A single mom who candidly admits that with the birth of her daughter her will to succeed kicked into overdrive, Divine Brown makes the fictitious Foxy Brown a mere figment of men’s imagination. Her tightly toned frame honed from high energy performances and hours training in Capoeira with her Brazilian Mestre, Brown appears prepared to prove to women around the globe that “sexy” and “Mom” aren’t mutually exclusive. The walk, the talk, the sense of personal style all contribute to the sense that with Divine the heat is tangible and natural, akin to Arthea Franklin’s “Natural Woman” come to life. As with many women, Divine’s fearless approach yields a satisfying outcome and serves as a new millennium role model for those who simply choose to pay attention.
After a three year hiatus, Divine Brown marks her return to the spotlight with a collection of brand new music for her fans. Executive Produced by Divine and her manager Stephane Lecuyer, “Something Fresh” continues her commitment to the hearty soul music of yore with a bright, contemporary spin courtesy of noted songwriter/producers The Rezza Brothers of Toronto (Obie Trice, DMC, The Commodores). Divine offers that the new album posses an “old school vibe with a new school twist” and as such, “Something Fresh” draws upon the blueprint of her first two hit albums displaying her retro sensibilities while fully representing today through its lyrical content, musical arrangements and hip-hop inspired production values to be a decidedly fresh contemporary Soul/R&B offering.
In a landscape cluttered with autotuned Poptarts and half-hearted songcraft, Divine and the quality of her music stand apart.
“Something Fresh” cloaks Divine’s essential romanticism in an inspired array of musical settings. The party jumps off with the first single, “Gone” – a 60’s R&B flavored “Boy, you done me wrong” number characterized by rhythm piano and sprightly horn charts. Next, a detour into a classic R&B two-step on the romantic duet “Smile feat. Adrian Rezza” and then on to the hip-hop tinged title tune “Something Fresh” which, through its lilting melody offers a subtle nod to Divine’s Jamaican heritage. Then, Divine manages to do the what so many singers attempt their entire careers but never quite manage to achieve; she transforms the rhythmically dark and brooding “Leave ‘Em Alone” into an instant classic. An ode to internal conflict and romantic addiction, it’s the kind of story-song that makes the hair on your forearms stand to attention as your ears hang on every chord modulation, perfectly placed syllable and nuanced turn of phrase. Next up – “All Around The World feat. Kardinal Offishall and Karl Wolf” serves up a breezy, perfectly timed cool-down. “Days Like This,” a fitting inspirational song for girls with a dream provides a departure from the album’s romantic themes, as does “On The Corner” and “Try,” but that’s not to say the album overall isn’t inspirational, because it most certainly is. In fact Divine often frames her stories by referencing “Mama said…” and who could be more inspirational than your mama? “Something Fresh” closes out with the inspired wordplay of “A Love Divine,” which could serve as a message to her fans, for as sure as, it’s all part of Divine’s plan for global domination which includes a torrent of new fresh music, a stylish web series showcasing the behind the scenes recording of the album, and continuing her fearless commitment to making a career in the “old skool” way; with her talent. She’s already proven she’s Fearless, Foxy, and Fresh – so, like the taste of home baked bread compared with the flat dry confection of the Poptarts, audiences around the world will now know that Divine Brown has “Something Fresh” indeed.