Check out the article SXSW: Introducing Austin Brown on MySpace who covered the hottest week in music in the US. You can also read the article below.
Austin Brown is maybe best known as the nephew of Michael Jackson. But the musician, who is currently touring with eight guys in a van, hopes to be best known as himself. We got a chance to talk to Brown about his music career and the tracks he’s been releasing each week since Valentine’s Day.
What was the inspiration for rolling out a new song each week for free?
Well, really it came from just the wanting people to hear our songs for what there are. We spend so much time cracking them out and putting them together, and really going in on the musical aspects of it. So for us the reason why we wanted to do it this way is that sometimes with the new technology and iTunes you kind of skip through songs. How many times back in the day did you, would you put the CD in and realize you had fallen in love with a song that wasn’t even a single? But you just loved that and it did something for you in that time of your life? So, really that’s the whole purpose behind it. I want to give people a chance to hear it all. Each time a song comes out they have that chance to really dive in and listen to it. And then they wait for the next one. Some will like it and some won’t. But, I guarantee I’ll get you on it next week.
The songs are always free?
The songs are free for now. Well, they’ll what they’ll always gonna be free. You could always go to austinbrown.com and hear them for free forever. If you want it on your devices and all that stuff that’s when we’ll, we eventually will be throwing it up on iTunes the rest. But, as for now, enjoy the music.
Will these all appear on an actual album?
Yes. You know the fans are really telling me what they like. And, it’s funny they’re liking what I’m liking. Because we have a thing where you could rate the song. And by the number that you hit it shows me the response. So this many people said they liked on this song. This many people said they liked on that one. And, it really creates a system. Me and my team can kind of see what people are vibing off of [and] the ones that rate the highest that’s what we’re gonna use for the album.
How long ago did you start writing these songs?
Some of these songs were written in 2009.
You mentioned that you research your music. What does that entail?
I’ve always loved learning and then when you get more into your instrument and more into your craft you can study the styles and the genres of them. And you study basically where you were going at that moment sonically. You want to figure out like how they were able to tap in with the tools that they had. I mean, we have way more tools now. We have not only the technology, but then we have the tool, the technology helps us craft our work. They just have their raw instruments. And yet we are continuously trying to go back to that music and that sound. And why? It’s because that was done out of pure feeling and love and heart and grind. And just nothing replaces that.
Since you’re so interested in old music have there been older musicians that have come in and helped mentor you?
Yeah, Quincy Jones. He’s been someone that meant that’s been like a voice of reason that I’ve gotten the chance to talk with a lot and to help me figure things out. And really his musical knowledge is such is he’s like a Bible of music.
And Prince has also helped you out?
Yeah, yeah. He gave me some really good advice about just overall, you know really honing in on your craft. And perfecting it as much as you can to have the freedom when you’re at the point you’ve earned the stripes to do whatever you want.
How do you balance that between being your own artist and also being from this famous musical family?
Well, you gotta find yourself in it. And you gotta find your love. And once you have that it’s easy. You just kind of go with your gut and go with your crew and make the best music that you can. Some people are gonna love it and some people aren’t. But they’ll know that it comes from a real place.
Has it being from the family you’re from has that opened doors for you that maybe wouldn’t have been opened otherwise?
Oh, yeah 100 percent. You know it definitely gets the curiosity. But at the same time curiosity kills the cat. It could be a double-edged sword. You know people have judged me thinking that I was gonna be some sort of thing in their mind until they see my work and meet me as a person. And they realize it’s completely different than what they expected.
Did they think you’re just going to be Michael Jackson?
I don’t know what they think. I have no idea.
Is there any chance that at some point you’ll be invited to open for Janet Jackson on tour?
You know what’s funny? I was just talking to my Aunt Janet last night on the phone. And it was 3 a.m. and we were talking about just touring and shows. And, no because what I’m doing right now I’m just it’s my own thing. So I’m vibing it and it wouldn’t even fit right and vice versa. She’s such a legend. She’s so iconic. And she’s so great at what she does. I couldn’t, that’s her. Let her! I don’t want to put that pressure on myself. I’d rather just have fun playing with my musicians and being crazy.
Check out Austin Brown’s music on his Myspace Radio channel here.