Last week, we had the pleasure of interviewing the talented Austin Brown, nephew of Michael Jackson. Effortlessly R&B, soul, funk and rock with modern electronic pop beats, the young artist is quickly making his name known and revealing his vision for where he wants to take the music industry.
Here are the highlights of what he said about:
“We tried to do something that really represented the love and soul of our work ethic and what we grew up listening to. Really pay homage in a way that you’re able to digest and take in.”
“I’m noticing [Highway 85 is] kind of a sleeper. So many people are discovering it just now, which is really cool. We released that after the BET awards, but I think it’s beautiful that the art is getting out there and people are hearing it for what it is. “
How Long It Took To Create The Album:
“We’ve been working on it on and off for a good year, but really the main majority of work was done in a 3-4 week span. Menage, Groove 92, City of Angels, F With My Mind, Stargazer, all those songs kind of came really fast.”
His Songwriting Process:
“I try to write about personal experiences, things that invoke a situation and really cause you to look at things in a different way. And really that’s where my song writing comes from. It’s all from the heart and its all truth. I like to take personal experiences and kind of embellish on them.”
“I think the best part about music is when you get personal, and that’s what I try to do. I try to give a personal aspect to everything we do.”
What’s it like being a young artist in the business and competing in the age of Social Media:
“To tell you the truth, it’s really hard. With social media, people are constantly throwing things in your face, they’re constantly advertising everything they do nonstop. So, you constantly look at something real quick and then move on. You can’t really digest it the way we’d love to.
“At the end of the day, if the people are given a Miley [Cyrus] record or this and that in your face, you can’t really focus on [more authentic artists]. Unless you’re a rarity, like Adele, James Blake, or people who carve out their own specific sound where nobody will get tired of that, everyone is just like, ‘this is something completely different that I’ve never heard from an artist’ – that’s really the goal, or else you’re going to get lost in the shuffle.”
“It’s constant. It’s true. You really cannot stay consistent on something.”
Does he feel pressure to commercialize himself and be more mainstream to achieve success?
“Sometimes I do, but to tell you the truth, I don’t really know how to do that. I just know how to make what I know how to make and it’s really organic, how we go about it. I want to one day change radio, I don’t necessarily want to follow radio, so that’s my goal within this entire thing.
“People say, ‘If you do this, you’ll get a quick hit’ – who wants a quick hit? Who wants that? I’d rather do something that’s going to be career defining.”
“I think, going back to the Katy Perry story, you have an artist like her who sells tons and tons of singles and CDs and is very mainstream, but if an album has similarity to something she’s done before, it’s going to be something that people have already digested and not something new that people can take in.”
What he’s working on now:
“We’re just starting, we’re about to get into the studio and get into a new record, which I cannot wait for people to hear, it’s a real organic process.”
“December is going to be a really busy performance month for me. I’ve got shows in Los Angeles and New York coming up, so the rest of the month I plan to focus on recording, coming up with what’s next. I want to really push it out there and really hit the performances hard again. That’s what I really enjoy. I really do enjoy performing.”
“I have my moments where I want to be in the studio, but definitely performing is something that gets me really amped up and excited.”
His Favorite Recent Albums:
“Kendrick, Kanye [Yeezus] – it’s a sleeper, but that record has some really great stuff on it, I like the production of Holy Grail, I really liked Jay-Z’s album. I love hip hop, I’m a hip hop head, so I’ve been listening to a lot of hip hop lately, I just love the beats. My favorite producers are all hip hop guys.”
Who he’d like to collaborate with:
“Pete Rock, Just Blaze, DJ Premier are on my bucket list right now. I love their work.”
A Message To The Fans of Good Music:
“We’re at a real vulnerable state in music as a young generation. Cash is king, whoever spends the most gets heard the most. We have to be really open to hearing other artists, whether its hip-hop, folk, R&B. I just want to tell people to keep on being open minded. Give other people a chance, not just me, everybody.”
How Michael Jackson Influenced His Style:
“I know how to tap into him, just because he helped raise me. He was a very intense person. A lot of people don’t know really the musical style of Michael. They just see the mega superstar who was extremely talented. He was so musically intense and just drove himself to pure insanity. That’s why his music was so great, he was a true craftsman. He just did not let up. I don’t think there will ever be an artist that drives himself the way that he drove himself. Only a few people will ever understand that. Everybody can say they’re a Michael fan, but it’s the essence of his work ethic that defines him. It wasn’t a fluke why he was so big. “
How He Feels About New Michael Music Released Posthumously:
“I hate it. I hate it. I hate it. I don’t agree with it. Only because he was so anal about his music. People who knew him, come on, this man would do one album every 5 years. And he would be working on music the entire time. I let people know that I don’t really like it and I have the right to say that, because I knew the man and I was around him my whole entire life.”
“I couldn’t even listen to the ‘Michael’ album really, I didn’t really listen to it that much. I know how he was about his music and his thing, he always wanted to surpass himself.”