27-year-old singer/songwriter Brielle Lesley has been singing and performing since she can remember. The Detroit native studied music at Marvin L. Winans Performing Arts School in her hometown and began perfecting her craft throughout her childhood and teenage years. Analyzing the talent and work ethic of artists such as Whitney Houston, Brandy, and Beyonce, Brielle decided to make her singing hobby a career. With the release of her new EP, In The Moment, and the success of singles “Karma,” which racked up over 1 million streams on Soundcloud, and “As Long As” with Payroll Giovanni, Brielle continues to live out her dreams one day at a time. Learn more about this rising newcomer as she shares her personal tale while opening up about her sound, learning from veteran artists, and more.
Before I get into your new project, tell us about your upbringing and what role music played in your life and household?
I grew up with a daddy who was a big man in the streets and a mom who was a hairstylist and business owner. Majority of my days were with her at the hair shop, and I would always entertain her clients while she was servicing them. I don’t really know how to explain how music started with me because it’s always been apart of me. I don’t know when it started; my mom said I’ve been singing since I was as young as two, and I would always put on shows no matter where we were. She knew I would sing very early in my life. Music has always been in me.
What persons and/or artists inspire your artistry/sound? Where do you draw your lyrical content from?
Whitney Houston is who I grew up admiring; I loved her voice, and learned so much just from studying her! The way she controlled her notes when she hit them, how she used her vibrato, everything… I knew every song and loved every one of them. Brandy was another who I admired. I love her voice so much because she had a very angelic soft tone and I use to hate how soft my voice was until I began to study how she made it sound good. Her vocal runs were like water, she had so much control and has always been underrated to me. One of the coldest voices I’ve ever heard and I loved it so much. There are still things she does that I haven’t been able to do… she helped me embrace my unique sound.
Beyoncé became my ultimate favorite, not in my younger years but as I got older and actually started to pursue my career. She is the hardest working artist I know. She is the whole package; she is a true entertainer overall, a true legend and those are real goals. Beyoncé will never be forgotten, and she has set the bar so high that it seems almost impossible to reach but it’s possible and if I’m going to be inspired by someone why not be inspired by the best?
You stated that your album is your story, what did you have to endure in order to create ‘In The Moment.’
‘In The Moment’ represents different phases of my love story. There are the bad times and the good times. When it’s bad, it’s the worst feeling. You either want to end it or do whatever you can to fix it. But when it’s good, you forget all about the bad and just learn to live in that moment in hopes that that moment will never end. I’m a simple girl, the smallest things are huge to me, not buying me bags and spending money but making memories… “Shotgun” symbolizes one of my favorite things to do in a relationship; I just like to ride along in the passenger seat, playing all my favorite songs that we can relate to. I don’t care where we are going or how long it takes. One of my favorite feelings is that simple moment with him riding along, singing love songs to him. “Quick” represents that crazy bitch in me, but… I’m only as crazy as you make me… cause I can be submissive and I can be chill. But, if you think I’m going to sit back and let you ignore my calls, leave me, and act like I meant absolutely nothing to you, I’m going to “PULL UP ON YOU QUICK,” and in the process, It’s almost guaranteed that I’m gone f*ck some shit up. So be nice, and I’ll do the same! Another good example would be “WISH I COULD HATE YOU” — this song was very personal to me because it represents many moments in the relationship… usually when you’re into it with your significant other, it’s a horrible feeling. Women tend to take it a lot harder than men. They [men] would act as if they don’t care; they would cheat, they won’t come home, they won’t answer calls almost as if they aren’t afraid of losing you. Women, on the other hand, would think about doing something to hurt him but never really have the heart to do it… mainly because we don’t want it to end; we just want to fix it. For instance, if I leave, will he let me go or would he come after me? Men take chances on losing us all the time; most women don’t want to take that risk.
Where did you get your work ethic?
Honestly, work ethic comes from how bad you want something. You give your best effort, you commit, your persistent and you show perseverance in the things you really want. The hunger is in you and can’t nobody do that part for you. I work hard because I know the outcome of hard work. I may not be where I wanna be yet, but I’m much further from where I started. Besides, when you work hard, your team and the people around you take you serious, so they work harder. There is no success without hard work!
What’s your plans as an artist for the next year?
Next year, I’m more focused on being prepared for whatever God has planned for me. A person’s life can literally change overnight, and whenever God feels like my time is to shine, I want to be ready for it. Until then, I’m going to continue to thank him for everything, and I’m going to continue to work hard.
Why do you love R&B? Why do you sing?
Honestly, music used to mean something to people. It was relatable, and that’s why my album is personal. I feel that people need love stories, they need the breakup songs, the in love songs, the real songs like we use to have when I was growing up. For me, music is therapy. I tell my story through my music because I know my story is someone else’s, and sometimes people don’t know how to put their feelings into words, so I do it for them through my songs. Majority of today’s music means nothing. Half of the most popular songs you don’t even understand what the lyrics are saying; you just like it because of the production and the melody on top of it. As long as the kids can hit them folks and Nae Nae to it, it’s considered a hit! But R&B means something, it means something to me, and that’s why I’m going to stick to it cause people need it. R&B is all I know and my goal is to bring real music back! Real R&B Music