Austin Brown Interview - JustJared.com Exclusive!
Get ready to hear some more tunes from Austin Brown!
The 25-year-old singer, who was recently one of our picks for JJ Music Monday, has an upcoming self-titled EP and a full length album on the way. But before releasing them, he’ll give fans a sneak peek with a trailer at Saturday’s (May 14) KIIS-FM Wango Tango concert in L.A.
Austin also recently took time to chat with JustJared.com about the vibe of his songs, his musical inspirations, valuable advice he received from his late uncle, Michael Jackson, and aunt, Janet Jackson, and when he knew he wanted to get into the family business.
Click inside for Just Jared‘s exclusive interview with AB…
JustJared.com’s Exclusive Austin Brown Interview
JJ: The trailer and video premiere for your EP and album, 85, is almost here! How are you feeling?
AB: I am really, really excited. I can’t even put into words how happy I am for people to finally see this video that we’ve been working on for a very long time.
JJ: You had a great team for this trailer. Can you talk about who you got to work with?
AB: From the video aspect, it was directed by Tom DeSanto and he’s the producer of Transformers and X-Men and he’s just an amazing person and am amazing guy. I was so fortunate to get somebody like that on my team to really tell a musical story, which is kind of like my biography in a sense. So he was the director of it and we also had a visual effects team and a visual effects designers, Chris Gossett. He’s worked on Star Wars and all these different amazing things. We have these amazing fantasy type of people who are involved in this project.
JJ: We got a taste of what your sound is like with JJ Music Monday, but how would you describe it in your own words?
AB: My sound has a lot of dimensions to it. At the core of it, it’s just musical. Musical, musical, musical. Live instrumentation. Lush harmonies and melodies that move in and out. I just try to move and do things differently. I try to approach music in the stand point of where I kind of want to tackle things that have inspired me to make music. But then to do it in a way where I can flip it and show my generation what inspired me to be a musician.
JJ: Who would you list as your inspirations for this album?
AB: You’ll hear everything from songs inspired by Earth Wind and Fire, George Michael, A Tribe Called Quest, obviously my family inspired me a lot, Curtis Mason, Stevie Wonder, The Beatles, The Beach Boys I’m obsessed with, and you’ll hear all those different influences. And I know it sounds like, how is that all going to work? But if I could sit down and I could go through songs and say, well the reason why that harmony sounds like that is because I listen to The Beach Boys a lot, I like to do a five part and then take it through and then I’d switch the melody around by kind of taking an Earth Wind and Fire melody. Or if it’s a song that moves a lot, has a lot of staccato notes in it, it’s more of a George Michael feel. That’s kind of how I like to break it down.
JJ:: The full length album is titled 85. Where did that come from?
AB: 85 was the year that I was born and I basically, you know, my whole life all I’ve really known is music and I wanted to do an album that really represented everything that inspired me to be a msuician today. Going back to when I first started listening to music from what I can remember, being 3 years old up until now, I’ve heard a lot of different things and a lot of things that piqued my ears, a lot of things that I didn’t like, a lot of things that I learned to appreciate later on. So that’s what you’re going to hear a lot on this album. It’s really the telling of my life story. It’s as real as it gets. I get 100 percent real and let people know the kind of type of person I am. I really want people to listen to it and kind of know me and not just the song, like you get to know the individual.
JJ: You touched on the fact that music was a part of whole life. When did you know you wanted to get into the family business? Did you know at a young age this is what you wanted to do?
AB: Oh yeah, oh yeah! When I was about 3 years old, my mom [Rebbie Jackson] brought me on stage for the first time at one of her concerts. That was it for me. The first night she brought me on I got scared and ran off. We were in Japan. I remember like it was yesterday and she brought me on and then I started dancing with her. That was like her thing – she’d bring me up on stage and I’d start dancing with her. I was able to be around a lot of tours, go on stage, and see how a lot of relatives do it and it was just so real to me and it was just so much fun. The main thing I got to see was how all these people, you would look out into the audience, and you saw all different ages, all difference races, all different types of people. It was just absolutely amazing how everyone is together for this one reason and it’s a celebration, really. So that for me was it. When I saw how much it’s a musical language and how it breaks all types of barriers, that’s when I knew.
JJ: You also have a background playing instruments.
AB: I started playing piano when I was 4 years old. I started taking lessons. That was sort of my first thing and I still play to this day. I’m actually going to start lessons again. I took lessons for almost 10 years but I’m still gonna start back up and keep going. I was also in school band so I started playing drums when I was 10 years old and I did that whole thing and I’m still playing. Started playing guitar, I got my first one when I was 11. I always wanted to learn more, know more, do more. It was kind of an ADD things for me! I never really focused on one [instrument]. That’s why I still take lessons on all of them! Cause I want to be the best that I can possibly be. It wasn’t just about, you know, being part of the music. It’s about understanding what it is that I want in each of my songs … I wanted to know every aspect to where I really felt it was going to help me get better.
JJ: You mentioned your family has influenced your style. Has your uncle Michael and aunt Janet also given you some career advice?
AB: Yeah, they really did give me amazing advice – just to be true to your art and really take your time with it. Really, really take your time with it. I was very fortunate in the sense that my mom didn’t let me do anything, any music – I was always working and developing music, but never trying to really pursue it till I was older. So I got a lot of time to really go through and see things I love and see things I didn’t necessarily love. My family was definitely a big part in just helping me stick to my guns musically and really taking it in a serious route in the sense of, no matter what this is how people see you. You want to make sure you give your best effort, your best foot forward.
JJ: What’s been the feedback like from your mom and family?
AB: The are all 100 percent supportive and they’re always real with me. They always give me advice on things. They love what I do. I’m very lucky to have that support from them.
JJ: Who would you love to get in the studio with and work on a collaboration?
AB: Oh wow! Brian Wilson from The Beach Boys. I love him. I love Kanye West and the way he samples and takes beats. He has a melodic sense to his rapping so I love the way he puts his music together. [And] a lot of other people! The list goes on. It can be anybody, but definitely Brian Wilson and Kanye West are at the top of my list.
JJ: So what’s up next for you? What’s on the radar?
AB: The main thing on the radar right now is the trailer premiere [at Wango Tango], followed up by a live event we’re about to announce very soon and then I have an EP that’s coming out in August, so I get to get back into the studio and finish up some songs. I’m going to New York to do a lot of the recording. More creation, more creative and, yes, it’ll be followed up by a tour and going out on the road!