Ruth-Ann Brown: Confident, talented, ready for greatness
Roxroy McLean, Gleaner Intern
She chirps like an early-morning bird, rocks you like reggae and seeps into your bloodstream like any good artiste does. For Ruth-Ann Brown, music is everlasting and it's for this reason that the young songbird fell in love with it.
The once-shy country girl from Chesterfield in Westmoreland has burst on to the reggae world with her lyrics which have so far been unusual, straightforward and compelling.
"I'm a Jamaican and I have been in love with Jamaican music for years now. I'm a very expressive person and I like to write and I didn't come into music for the business," Brown told The Sunday Gleaner while in Washington, DC, working on her debut album.
She sings about love and pain, social injustice and happiness and everything in-between. What's intriguing is that she approaches each topic with the same passion and zeal, which makes her stand out despite her limited experience.
She began pursuing a career in music in 2005 when she recorded her first single, As It Is on the Di-Mon Cut label. The song about a love triangle got reasonable airplay on local radio stations and brought her a sense of satisfaction.
"It's still one of the biggest moments," she explained.
Brown's voice has been described as smoky, strong, soulful and melodic. Her love for reggae began to develop at a late stage in her life, as she was brought up in a strong Christian home. Like many artistes, Brown began singing on her church choir and from there it evolved.
"I'm always singing, at home while doing chores ... anything that I do it always involves some form of singing," she stated.
After signing to independent label Bran-Nu Entertainment, Brown began working on her debut album which features her first two singles, Unfamiliar Feelings and Chilling With My Baby. The album is yet to be titled but the former Montego Bay and Herbert Morrison High School student was very optimistic that it would be completed on schedule and be successful. She describes the album as a collection of personal experiences about relationships, issues related to migration, work and life in general.
Brown's main musical influences include Sade, Sinead O'Connor, Tanya Stephens, Sizzla Kalonji and the Marley family. Though she has not yet attained their standard, she was very adamant that the public would quickly recognise her talent and embrace it.
"I don't see why they wouldn't want to. I don't want to blow my own horn, but it (my music) feels good and sounds good and people can relate to it," she said.
Had it not been for her undeniable love for music, Brown would have been a teacher as she had already completed a secondary education course in English and Literature at Northern Caribbean University, and taught at Belair High in Mandeville for a year. Her love for music, however, compelled her to drop teaching and take up music full-time.
Five years on, and now under the management of Rick Zheron, Brown said she is happy with the career move and confident of surviving the many pitfalls of the music business.
"I'm not worried. I can't be either. My music is not just a product and so far the responses have been tremendous. If people know quality music, then they'll know my music is good," she said.
For the single Unfamiliar Feelings, Brown landed a three-way video licencing deal with Air France, Air Austria and Zimbabwe Airlines. Unfamiliar Feelings currently holds the number-one spot on CVM's E-Strip/Hitlist music countdown.