The local musician shares her philosophy as an artist
“Amy Winehouse was my first music love,” said Cierra Brown, a fourth-year English major. “I just love her voice and how unique it is and how organic her music is.” Brown also mentioned “artists like Daniel Caesar, John Mayer [and] Lady Gaga” when asked about her musical inspirations, because of “their different creative processes, the way that they express themselves.”
Brown has loved music from a young age, and her passion has been growing ever since. She regularly performs at open mics and posts covers of existing songs on Instagram.
“I’ve been in love with singing ever since I was 3, but I didn’t really start to take it seriously until middle school,” Brown said.
Although she mainly does covers, Brown has plans to release her own material. She shared that the process is akin to “releasing your diary to the world, almost. But it’s also kind of exciting in its own way.” Her style, both in these covers and her (thus far) unreleased material, is “alternative, soulful.” It’s marked by “R&B influences for sure. Pop influences.”
Brown continued, “I’m sort of indie. I’m kind of a mix of all the different genres I admire.” She spoke carefully in our interview, considering each question before providing an answer.
When it comes to producing her covers, she takes an equally methodical approach: “The first thing I’ll do is I’ll listen to a song that I want to cover on loop, and I’ll remember the way it sounded in my head. But then, before I cover it, I won’t listen to it. And I do that so that I distance myself from the original work, and I can apply [the song] to my own life.”
Injecting her own personality and style is an instrumental part of Brown’s music-making process.
“I’m often covering songs that I can relate to because I think emotion is one of the most important aspects of at least the kind of music I like singing,” she said. “I appreciate it when artists can put themselves out there and be like, ‘Hey, this happened to me,’ regardless of what it is.”
This personal aspect she attempts to harness is something Brown believes to be a prerequisite for success in music, on top of other qualities such as “being open, but also being open to honest and helpful critiques, and also not allowing a ‘no’ to be a ‘no.’” By this, she means pursuing your dreams regardless of how discouraged you might get—always aiming for something more. She’s even tried out for “The Voice” before.
“Not giving up is the one of the primary ingredients of being a musician, or just an artist of any sort,” she said. “You need to believe in your own vision, and you need to see the strength in that, and you just need to keep on with it, even if outside things don’t look promising at times.”
Brown believes music, but also art in general, is important for everyone, “even if they aren’t naturally artistic.”
“Say they’re a science major, someone who’s more analytically minded—I just encourage everybody to try some creative outlet,” she said. “Especially during times like this.”
“Times like this,” of course, being emotionally and physically trying for many. “Music has always really empowered people through whatever they may be experiencing,” Brown said. “And I feel like in times of distress, or just world chaos like we’re experiencing right now, it can bring people together.”
Cierra Brown will be featured in one of The Aggie’s upcoming Couch Concerts. The video will be posted to The Aggie’s YouTube channel.
Written by: Jacob Anderson — firstname.lastname@example.org