Meet singer/songwriter Bri Marie. The first time I was introduced to her music was when she released her debut project Beginnings back in 2016. Up until recently she was relatively quiet but made it known she’d return in late November with her song “Sleepless” ft. Ballad. Now that she has come back the spotlight, we got the chance to discuss her take on r&b, the debut project, and what we should look forward to!
Q: How would you describe your music to someone who’s never heard your music?
A: If I had to describe it, I would say “R&B featuring Neo-Soul and Hip Hop”. This question is so hard for me, because I’m inspired by so many genres nearing R&B, such as Neo-Soul, Trap-Soul, Hip Hop, and just contemporary R&B in general. I respect artists that don’t just stick to one lane and hope that I can continue down a route that allows me to experiment however I see fit.
Q: Is there anyone else in your family who is musically inclined?
A: My father and uncle (they are twins), have always been musically inclined. Both of them have beautiful voices. My uncle decided to take singing more seriously and has been a part of a gospel group for years now. My father, on the other hand, took to DJing and taught me a lot about equipment and beats when I was a little girl. I take pride in having a good ear for sound due to my dad’s lessons. I also have a lot of talented cousins that I would look up to growing up in the church. They would always blow me away when they sang or played the piano.
Q: When you decided to become a musician did you initially have your family’s support? What kind of advice would you give someone who may not have support?
A: Even before I decided to become a musician I had my family’s support, which I am forever grateful for. They had believed in my voice before I did. It has become a little harder to fulfill expectations the deeper I dive into my music and expenses (lol) but regardless I know it’s making them proud.
My advice would be that, not everybody is going to believe in your vision, maybe not even your family. But there is a reason why you love what you love and strive for what you do. If you know in your soul to chase your dreams, success will come. Believe in yourself, and support will follow. My favorite example of this is SZA. I have watched interviews of her explaining how she at some point did disappoint her parents in pursuit of her dreams but nevertheless, she persisted. Now look.
Q: Your music is predominantly R&B, What do you think about when you hear stuff like “R&B is dying” or “R&B has taken a backseat to Hip Hop?”. Do you agree/disagree with these statements? Why/Why Not?
A: I completely disagree. Hip Hop and R&B has worked hand in hand for as long as I remember. I guess it depends on what market you’re focused on, but there is enough room to enjoy both. I think that those statements are directed to the fact that Trap-Soul is a big genre right now, which I’ve seen defined as “rap-singing over hip hop inspired beats”. I don’t think any genre should be frowned upon, because while it can become oversaturated, beauty comes out of all of them.
Let me stop ranting. R&B is very alive and very wonderful. Daniel Caesar, H.E.R., Sabrina Claudio, Ella Mai, Xavier Omär, Jeremih, Jhene, Asiahn, SZA, Kehlani, Jessie Reyez, Brent Faiyaz, dvsn; I can go on all day. R&B has never been a dying genre, it’s timeless.
Q: I know that Beyoncé and Jhené Aiko are two major influences in your life, what about them has inspired you?
A: Beyoncé has inspired me constantly to push myself in what I love to be the best I can be. She is one of those artists that has never put herself in one lane. Her talent, voice, and versatility has given her access to any genre that she wishes to pursue (did you hear Daddy Lessons?). Not only that, but her creativity makes her an all around artist, as opposed to just a singer. While I know I will never be Beyoncé, I hope to continually grow and be able to push myself to be better in all aspects of being an artist.
I think Jhené awakened my passion for singing and writing in 2013, because her voice was like mine: soft but effective. Not only that, but I loved the way she wrote and collabed with my favorite rappers, like J.Cole. Her artistry is absolutely beautiful, and while I never thought I could be taken seriously because the dynamic of my voice, I realized through her that uniqueness is just as amazing.
Q: In 2016, you released your first project Beginnings (EP) were you nervous about how it would be received?
A: Yes. Yes yes yes. I was so scared because even as I released it, I was so critical of every song. I am still in the process of accepting that nothing will ever be perfect, but back then I thought everybody would hear all of the flaws in the songs that I couldn’t shake. Not only that, but Beginnings has no particular direction in terms of genre. However, just being able to share my voice and art ended up being liberating. It’s almost addicting at this point, creating and wanting to share with the world regardless of criticism.
Q: One song from the ep in particular, Bedroom Eyes ft. Wordplay has garnered over 24,000 plays since its release. How does it make you feel to know these many people appreciate your music?
A: I really am so appreciative that people love the song. It’s almost surreal, seeing that people are adding me to their sex playlists! I just hope that I can keep creating content that people appreciate.
Q: My favorite track off is “Wait” because of its relatable lyrics, do you write your music yourself? Where do you find inspiration to write?
A: Yes, other than “Smoke Well” on the EP which was written by featured rapper Dave Langston, I’ve written everything. I remember writing songs when I was 12 about things that I didn’t even know about, and now I think I’ve combined that same creativity with real life experiences to make my music. My songs can range from 100% real experience, to like 50% real experience and 50% creativity. It all depends.
Q: The tape also offers a few features so it’s safe to say you’re open to collaborating. Is there anyone in particular that you want to work with?
A: Again, this list could go on for days. First off, I am always trying to find ways to integrate my friends from college into my ideas, and not even just musically either. I went to an art school and the energy and talent there was unmatched. And as the amazing Issa Rae has stated, its better to build across, as opposed to always trying to build up.
As I’m growing more as an artist, I have encountered so many others that are so talented that I hope to see and collab with in the future. Just to name a few: Grand Khai, NanaBcool, Nate Joel, Dash Machete. One person that strongly comes to mind is Jimi Tents. Ever since Summer ‘17, I have been obsessed with his music. He is ridiculously talented, from his lyrics to his ability to compose a great song. Some others are Jeremih, Xavier Omar, Jhene, Che Ecru, Sonder, Jesse Boykins III and so many more.
Q: Do you have a dream collaboration? If so, with who and why?
A: I have never really thought about this before! Maybe because I just dream of working with so many of my idols. I think one that I think about often is with The Weeknd. I think our sounds and vibes would align well.
Q: What advice would you give aspiring artists when it comes to creating music and staying focused?
A: First off, BELIEVE IN YOURSELF. There are so many distractions and so much negativity working against you in the process of following your dreams. If you do not believe in yourself and your passions, nothing will get done. I am still in the process of learning this lesson and it is very hard, but with every ounce of confidence you gain, you will be that much closer to achieving your dreams.
Second of all, understand that this path requires an immense amount of sacrifice. Your time, your energy, all your money!!! But don’t think about the nights you stay in instead of going out as you “missing out”. Don’t think about that $700 or more (maybe A LOT more) on your project as a waste. These are just examples obviously, but be mindful that the best thing to invest in is yourself, your dreams.
Third of all, do not be afraid to take advice and collaborate. While it is important to trust yourself and your process, there might be an artist out there that can provide a missing piece to your artistry. Never stop learning, never stop growing, never let your pride (or lack thereof) get in your way.
Q: Do you have plans to release new music anytime soon?
A: Yes! I am in the final stages for my single “ICNU”, so that and the video for it is expected to be released in late February-early March. I have had a concept for my next project in mind for months, and now that I am back in the studio, it is only a matter of time for that.
Q: Is there anything you would like to tell your supporters?
A: Just thank you so much. Since my EP release, I have been doing a lot of soul searching which has made it difficult to focus on creation, but regardless you have all been so supportive. I hope that throughout my journey, I can continue to create music that you can feel and appreciate. Sharing my art has been nothing but wonderful because of you.
To listen to her debut project Beginnings click here.
To listen to her latest single “Sleepless” click here.