Divine Brown
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Divine Brown

Toronto, Canada | Established. Jan 01, 1997 | SELF

Toronto, Canada | SELF
Established on Jan, 1997
Solo R&B Soul

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"Divine Brown"

If Amy Winehouse were remixed by the B-52's, they might concoct something like Bebe, but it dances into your head courtesy of Scarborough wunderkind Slakah the Beatchild. A rich assortment of brass instrumentalists and crisp percussion players keep the subtle 60s references in place, while Brown sews up the spaces in between with her silky-smooth expressions.

But when Colin Munroe's fantastically frail I Need Your Love is unveiled, musical divinity is achieved. Approximating Jully Black's earthy power, Mariah Carey's Olympic range and a sonic texture similar to Alicia Keys, Divine Brown may not be a consistent force in pop, but she should be, as she's an almost flawless vocalist and song sculptor. Brown is so sophisticated and classy, you kinda wish for a burst of Mary J. Bligey drama or Kelis craziness to change the pitch up. Then again, any singer who counts Elton John as a fan is probably doing something right. - NOW Toronto


"Album review: 'The Love Chronicles,' by Divine Brown"

How can I pass up the chance to review an album by someone who calls herself Divine Brown, a name she unfortunately shares with the hooker caught in actor Hugh Grant’s car in 1995 on the Sunset Strip in L.A.?

But OK, she’s from Canada, so maybe she missed that issue of Entertainment Weekly. Regardless, Brown’s "The Love Chronicles" is the second August release – Beyonce’s little sister Solange released the other – that uses old-school soul as its template and adds just the right amount of modern touches to keep it from sounding dated.

While Solange’s "Sol-Angel and the Hadley St. Dreams" succeeds a little better at mining the classic sounds of Motown and Stax, Brown is aiming in a slightly different direction. As per the title, "Love Chronicles" is a trip through the history of soul music, beginning with the doo-wop-inspired “Lay It On the Line” and continuing up through the mid-‘60s with the go-go rave-up “Bebe,” which comes complete with a cornball nasal soprano and a “Monster Mash”-style hook on the chorus. Both are a bouncy good time.

Brown’s take on the soul ballads of queens like Gladys Knight and Diana Ross are a little formulaic, but soon we slide on into the ‘70s with the slinky “Next Best Thing” and a disco tribute in “Boogie Slide” that matches Brown’s breathy vocals with a nimble acoustic guitar and Technicolor keyboard runs.

Marvin Gaye’s lush, driving soul is tapped for “Best Friend,” and "A Night at the Roxy" sounds like Brown's been listening to Miles Davis' awesomely-crazy ex-wife Betty; and while the last few songs draw a little too much on early-to-mid-‘90s R&B for my taste, there are a few imaginative touches that keep the proceedings lively.

And of course there’s a hidden track that should be part of the main album, but I digress.

When she leans more toward the old-school, Brown’s vocal chops and unique touches breathe new life into genres that were a lot of fun to begin with, and you can’t blame her for a fixation on Mariah and Whitney: they were pretty great back in the day.

I just can’t help thinking that this review would be so much better if it was Hugh Grant’s Divine Brown who recorded "The Love Chronicles." It would be a great comeback story. Oh, well. It's still a solid set of R&B from my new favorite Canadian soul artist (full disclosure: she's the only Canadian soul artist I know -- no, we DO NOT count Celine Dion, and shame on you for suggesting so). - The Enterprise


"AllMusic Review"

The self-titled first release by Canadian R&B songstress Divine Brown was a strong start for the budding artist, however it failed to bring her to a level of stardom. Her first album, released in 2004, was a sassy sampling of pure soul music. That album had its magical moments, but overall lacked a hook that pressed you to listen to it through and through; it was too heavy on sappy soul ballads and slower beats, something that can hold an artist back quite badly in today's pop market. Ultimately, the music didn't feel fresh, and the creative team behind Brown knew that if they wanted to keep their soul goddess in the music market, it was time for a step up. Luckily for Brown, her second album, The Love Chronicles is a giant leap towards mainstream success. Packed with plenty of soul and dollops of R&B, Brown synthesizes rhythm & blues from all decades; sounds from the '40s, '50s, '70s, '80s, '90s, and even some new millennium waves speckle the album. Quite masterfully, Brown's producers successfully mix dramatic horns, electric synthesizers, big-band beats, and other genre-defining sounds into each track, making each of them feel like a whole new experience. The album is filled with more upbeat tracks, songs that are fun and bouncy, yet sultry in their nature (such as "Bebe," a punching retro production filled with razor-sharp hook lines.) The lyrics this time around are more polished and sharp, yet not clichéd. That's not to say the album is without its ballads; in fact, the album's slower tunes, reminiscent of early Mariah Carey, are fewer this time around, but much more appealing. "One More Chance" and "Sweet Surrender" are impassioned love tunes that chill the listener; while Brown's eight-octave range runs all over these tracks and revives the dying sound of '90s ballads. All these strong samplings on The Love Chronicles are topped, however, by the album's summery first single, "Lay It on the Line," a wonderful mastery of breezy pop music topped in soulful doo wop. For this outing, Brown has called on all her influences: Mariah Carey, En Vogue, Whitney Houston, Diana Ross, Dinah Washington, and so many more; yet this combination of tunes works. Brown has successfully put together a stunning showing of how much talent she truly has, and the songs here string together perfectly. Each beat and sound weaves together and creates a wonderfully dynamic listen for even the most casual fan. - AllMusic


"AllMusic Review"

It's a pity how few artists who truly deserve it make it big. Unfortunately, many big voiced, big talent names fly under the radar and commercially fail when they are compared to names who don't have the talent, but have the right producers. Divine Brown is one of those unfortunate artists who deserve so much more credit than they actually get. Brown's self titled debut album is a gorgeous display of talent. She's a great vocalist with a magical eight octave-range, who dazzles her audience with a mystical talent that captivates. The music on the album is just amazing. Brown is the epitome of doo wop soul, with a solid fusion of musical genius weaved into soulful beats and magical grooves. Her first single, "Old Skool Love," dazzles the listener with incredible tunes and sizzling vocals and terrific songwriting skills. After that, listeners enjoy a great array of soul samples, such as "U Shook Me," "Twist My Hair," and "Something 'Bout You." There is a small flaw, however. Brown makes this album her own with her great doo wop sound, but after so many tracks, the music starts to feel old-fashioned and repetitive. After several songs, the music is pleasantly different, but forgettable. Brown's voice carries the album at the end. Right at the end, "Warrior" brings it all home in sheer musical beauty that envelops the listener is bliss. The beginning is terrific, the end is strong, and the middle is a mild creative misstep, but Divine Brown is a strong showing from a true talent, who with a stronger team of songwriters and producers, could be immensely successful. This album shows mounds of potential, and Brown deserves to be a household name with her stunning voice. Let's see where this girl goes, hopefully it's up. - AllMusic


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

A rare gift to have, Divine Brown’s five-octave vocal range makes everybody stand up and pay attention.  Her versatility as a performer both musically and vocally has found her manifesting success in the musical theatre world, as well as Top 40 radio.  Divine has starred in several musical plays such as Rent, Ain’t Miss Behavin’, Life, Death and the Blues, and the Obeah Opera.  Placing three top 10 singles on CHR, AC and Hot AC radio in Canada (with her hit single “Sunglasses” reaching Top 15 on the U.S. Billboard Dance Chart in 2010) Divine also captured the heart of the public and her music garnered her a Certified Gold Album for her debut self-titled project (2005 - Universal Music), a Juno Award for R&B Album of the Year (The Love Chronicles) as well as a SOCAN #1 Award.

Divine is currently getting ready to release her EP "Crazy Love Amplified" which is a reflection of her diverse taste in music and influences.  Over the last 3 years, Divine set out to create a collection of songs that could speak to her, fans young and old. The first single from “Crazy Love Amplified" is called "Love Alibi" featuring the production/DJ team 80Empire.  Divine’s constant exploration of music and self will bring another diverse project in the near future.  In the meantime, Divine will be spending her time on the road bringing you new music, creating songs for a new project, and performing in various musical theatre productions.

Band Members