Songstress Chinkie Brown’s ascension as a music industry virtuoso began with her initial single “Wonderland”. The soulful track, from the DJ Don Cannon-hosted Under The Influence Of Ms. Brown mixtape, was featured on Comcast On Demand, MTV Jams, and BET’s 106 & Park.
Ms. Brown is now back with her latest song “Human Nature” released via Lalela Records and S-Line Entertainment. No longer under the wing of a major label, Chinkie’s musical independence is reflected in the R&B/Hip Hop/Rock/Pop hybrid that makes up the Atlanta resident’s sound.
In an interview with DZI: The Voice, Brown discusses her songwriting technique, connecting with Cannon and Lil Scrappy, and the fun way she likes to express herself with family and friends.
Yohance Kyles: When did you discover your voice as an artist?
Chinkie Brown: My early teens… I knew I had something special when it comes to writing, but vocally I didn’t acknowledge it until my mid-early teen years.
YK: Who drove your decision to move from Baltimore to Atlanta?
CB: Definitely the naysayers. My family wasn’t supportive. I didn’t have a Mr. Knowles or a Momma Dee [laughs]. So I had to go get away from the discouragement, and at the time Atlanta was the talk of music in America.
YK: How did you first connect with DJ Don Cannon?
CB: We worked in the same studio. My manager introduced me, and he gave me some tracks to listen to. But the ones that I ended up recording to are one the ones I heard him working on in the studio. He knew exactly what I was looking for. He’s a great dude. We made magic together. Hopefully they’ll be more in the future.
YK: Lil Scrappy was featured on your “Bipolar” single. What was it like working with Scrappy?CB: Scrappy and I have worked together on a lot of projects for a while. We had a chemistry in the booth as far as collabing the first day. He knows what he wants, and he knows I can deliver. We’re family now. I love Scrappy.
YK: Your new single “Human Nature” mixes elements of soul, Hip Hop, and rock. Have you always been a fan of different genres of music?
CB: I’ve always been a fan of all kinds of art, music especially. I wasn’t allowed to listen to a lot of music growing up, so when I first heard these genres, lyrics, etc, it was like a baby tasting candy for the first time. I fell in love with R&B, Hip Hop, Rock and Pop, all of it!
YK: What are some of your all-time favorite albums?
CB: I really don’t have any favs. I love Lauryn Hill, R. Kelly, 2Pac, Prince, Eminem, Dru Hill, Destiny’s Child, Aerosmith, Janis Joplin, Otis Redding, Frank Sinatra, Tina Turner, Lil Kim, Coldplay… I’m all over the place.
YK: What is your songwriting technique? Do you prefer to write the lyrics first or listen to a track and then write?
CB: I definitely like to have a track. I like to be by myself when I write. It’s the best way for me. The song seems to write itself in a way.
YK: Sometimes songwriters hear a song and say, “I wish I had written that.” Are there any songs that you feel are so powerful lyrically that you wished you had written?
CB: No, not really. I think I admire how different writers word things, explain things, how they convey in a song, how they get a point across with less words than I would use. I enjoy that kind of writing, because I don’t write like that.
YK: You were once signed to Warner Bros., but you’re now on an independent label. How is the process different recording for an indie as opposed to a major?
CB: It makes you work harder, smarter. It makes you make things happen.
YK: Atlanta is the setting for several reality television shows. Would you ever consider joining the cast of an ATL reality show?
CB: [Laughs] Sure, I doubt if America could watch my crazy ass life. I’d make those reality stars look normal. But yes. Why not?
YK: Do you express yourself through any other artistic mediums?
CB: I love, love, love to impersonate everybody in my life – friends, family. It’s something my family does.
YK: What’s next for Chinkie Brown?
CB: Wow, I don’t know. I hope no matter what I’m always dancing and singing – rain or shine – on life’s bumpy road. I hope for growth, love, all the shit we all want. Is there a wrong way to answer this “life” question? [Laughs] I don’t know. I guess we shall see.
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Follow Chinkie on Twitter @chinkiebrown
Check out Chinkie Brown’s single “Human Nature”:
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