Harriet Brown
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Harriet Brown

Los Angeles, California, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | SELF

Los Angeles, California, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2013
Solo R&B Funk

Calendar

This band hasn't logged any future gigs

Sep
24
Harriet Brown @ The Echo

Los Angeles, California, United States

Los Angeles, California, United States

Aug
15
Harriet Brown @ Echoplex

Los Angeles, California, United States

Los Angeles, California, United States

This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos

Music

Press


Harriet Brown is a singer, songwriter, and producer based in Los Angeles, and on “20/15″ he goes heavy on the funk and Prince-esque vocals with sultry but uplifting results. On first listen, it might sound like the artist is trying to seduce the subject he’s singing to, with lines like, “I’ll give you a full check up for free,” but closer attention reveals something deeper. Harriet Brown explains that this song is specifically for those people who are, “supportive and extremely gifted at lifting up their loved ones, but somehow can’t see their own self-worth,” hence the title “20/15,” a play on 20/20 vision.

Get funky with Harriet Brown and grab a free download of “20/15,” co-produced by Alex Talan of Rare Times, then read a few thoughts from Brown below.


What can you tell me about the meaning behind this song? It sounds as if you’re addressing someone… is it based on personal experience?

I originally wrote this song for my lady, though I think it’s something to which most of us can relate, myself included. This song especially goes out to all the ladies and fellas who are amazingly supportive and extremely gifted at lifting up their loved ones, but somehow can’t see their own self-worth. If we could learn to absorb for ourselves the love we’re always imparting on others, I think our collective peace could blossom tenfold. But I know this is not an easy thing to do; it’s more the kind of thing you work on throughout your entire lifetime.


What have you got planned after this single?

I’ve got a full-length I’m currently preparing for this world — it should arrive in full form this year. I’ll also be working on some collabs.


Who inspires you on the production side, and who inspires you on the vocal side?

Right now on the production side, I’m very inspired by Jam and Lewis, Stuart Matthewman on the early Maxwell albums, Keith Sweat, Jazzie B and PM Dawn. On the vocal side, Mariah Carey, Caron Wheeler, Maxwell, Mint Condition, D’Angelo and Bone Thugs are especially inspiring to me at the moment. This might be more apparent on the full-length to come, but the inspirations are constantly shifting. I can say, however, that Prince and Sade are always inspiring my work, even as it evolves. - Pigeons and Planes (written by Constant Gardner)


One look at the artwork for Harriet Brown‘s latest single should clue you in to the fact that he’s doing things a little different. The LA-based singer/songwriter/producer certainly has an impressive voice, but it’s what he does with that range that makes him such a promising up ‘n comer. After recently putting out “Fiction,” an excellent collaboration with Astronauts Etc. and Toro y Moi, Brown’s latest release melds an array of influences to showcase yet another facet of his creativity. From a production standpoint, “20/15″ carries an 80s-revival feel with its sentimental keys and slowly unfolding percussion. Brown’s vocal dexterity and clever, thoughtful lyricism once again prove a focal point, though, as he brings elements of soul, funk and R&B into the mix making for a completely novel sort of slow jam. Press play above, grab the nearest lady or gentleman and hit the slow dance like it was middle school all over again. - The Music Ninja (written by Ash El Gamal)


Crowned with his signature obsidian hued bowl coif- and shaved undercut to boot- Harriet Brown (né Aaron Valenzuela) and Astronauts’ Anthony Ferraro have gone and cracked the combination to a glowing violet electrofunk kubla khan on their single, “Fiction.” With production polished to a high gleam by Chaz Bundick of Toro y Moi, this moody track manages a volte-face from lovelorn torment to that white elephant of R&B slow jams: hope.

Valenzuela’s vocal lead is doubled with duplicate backing tracks in full falsetto splendor, or pitched-way-down-to-you-know-which-octave, falling undeniably within Prince’s moaning, singingly gymnastic jurisdiction. The lyrics themselves are administered with a stone-cold sense of meter, anchoring the bassline’s polyrhythmic wobble in dramatic tension. Even the dissonant, suspenseful synth strings scaffolding ‘Fiction’s’ chorus hang in the balance until the introduction of a sunny guitar lick, grounding this gripping melodic narrative in optimism. From the sleek warmth of an unobtrusive electric piano to the climbing instrumental configurations throughout this stylistic masterstroke, here’s a silky hybrid of electro and R&B that’ll have listeners believing the fiction. - GoldFlakePaint (written by Joanie Wolkoff)


Oakland-reared, Los Angeles-based Aaron Valenzuela’s music under the monkier Harriet Brown is equal parts funky and seductive, harking back to the magical purple Minneapolis scene of the 1980s while updating the nostalgic R&B sound for modern day. The one-man band as performer, producer and songwriter released his debut EP, “New Era,” via Feel So Real in the fall, featuring production assistance from Alex Talan of the L.A. band Rare Times. Opening track “Paradisiac” pulses with drum machine and shaker production, grabs you with its sensual and soulful lyrics, and soars with his falsetto and killer guitar solo that warrants a Prince merit badge. On the slower and sultry tip, “New Machines” buzzes with electricity, as he harmonizes with himself over a nuanced shimmering and vibrant soundtrack for some sweet, sweet lovemaking. In a live setting, the one-man band is precisely that, with Valenzuela manning drum machines, sequencers, and synthesizers, while layering and looping vocal tracks, shredding on this guitar and singing — the good news, dear audience, is that you’ve got a few chances this month to see it in action. - buzzbands.la (written by Andrew Veeder)


World, please meet Harriet Brown. Harriet Brown, please meet world. Based in LA but hailing from Oakland, the brand new singer/musician has the voice of siren, calling out through the misty waters of debut song "New Machines." Co-produced by Alex Talan from LA band Rare Times, Brown wraps trickling synths and drum machine heartbeats around himself in an inordinately romantic fashion. It's rose-tinted but real. Bag "New Machines" as part of Brown's debut EP, New Era, out October 14th on Feel So Real Recordings on limited edition cassette (pre-order here). - The Fader (written by Ruth Saxelby)


The music Aaron Valenzuela makes under the name Harriet Brown is stylistically miles away from what the club-kid image he affects might suggest—it has syncopated rhythms and loosely organic instrumentation rather than the four-on-the-floor beats and quantized MIDI tracks. He’s earned every single comparison to Prince that he’s accumulated during his still-young career, and much of his New Era EP has the confidently unhinged quality that helped define the Purple One’s late-’80s material, but it’s far from an exact replica. Like fellow pop auteur Blood Orange, he makes music that’s laced with nostalgia but not reliant upon it, drifting in an ambiguous timeframe somewhere between the near future and the recent past. More importantly, it’s just seriously really funky stuff.

New Era is out tomorrow on the Feel So Real label, but EW has an early look here. - Entertainment Weekly (written by Miles Raymer)


Oakland’s Harriet Brown dropped his debut EP, New Era, on Feel So Real today along with a visual for the velvety album cut "Paradisiac". It’s easy to draw a comparison here to Prince—manic guitar solos, perpetually serious mug, spoken word vocal exercises, meandering falsettos, guitar-as-shrine imagery—but Brown has his own thing going on too. There’s a dark, religious, utopian element to the song that gives the video an added weight. Watch the Mike Harris-directed clip and stream all of New Era below. - CMJ (written by Lizzie Plaugic)


Oakland multi-instrumentalist Aaron Valenzuela, better known under the stage name HARRIET BROWN, makes velvety slow-burners that just don’t quit and seems to draw Prince comparisons in every piece written about him.

So it’s only natural that the video for his track ‘Paradisiac’ (directed by Mike Harris) is affably, affectionately ridiculous and completely, unquestionably OTT while still, somehow, remaining ambivalently cool. Is it camp? Yeah, of course it’s camp. It’s fun, it’s funny, it’s fresh and it’s surprisingly self-aware.

The video comes loaded with the kind of overzealous iconography usually associated with Nineties R&B: more religious symbols than a Black Milk ensemble; purple-filtered tight shots on Brown’s neat bowl cut; guitars reflected in the golden lens of hexagonal sunglasses; the hazy silhouettes of girls dancing sensuously. With each watch (and I’ve watched it more times than I care to admit) you’ll discover another nuance of this video to enjoy.

Be sure to note Brown’s unerringly serious expression – it takes a certain level of commitment to an authentic schtick to remain suitably perplexed and unfazed throughout four minutes of over-enunciating, mugging for the camera, hand choreography and guitar solos literally backlit like a religious experience.

Irrespective of whether or not it’s meant to be taken seriously, it gives a layer of humour to an infectious, intensely funky track that’s somehow both reminiscent of the past and contemporary, simultaneously. It’s a sexy cocktail of drum machines, guitar and synth – all played by Brown – coursing under sleepy vocals, resulting in something that Brown himself describes as “romantic funk”. Fans of acts like Toro Y Moi and Twin Shadow will undoubtedly find something to love here.

Brown’s debut EP, ‘New Era’ can be streamed now on Soundcloud. It’s also available for purchase digitially on iTunes and on cassette in limited numbers. (Cassette purchases include unlimited streaming via the free Bandcamp app, plus high-quality download in MP3, FLAC and more.) - Purple Sneakers (written by Cheryl Billman)


It’s not unusual to come across Prince soundalikes. But to cross path with such a genius song with clear Prince inspirations and the huge potential of such a delivery is quite uncommon. Many have tried, few have succeeded. And the only fact that Harriet Brown manages to come that close to equal the Purple Rain showstopper decidedly is a feat in its own right.

With “20/15”, Harriet Brown sets the bar pretty high for himself. Proving once more, that a whole new generation of musicians are ready to take on their contemporaries. From Los Angeles, CA Harriet Brown infuses some of the rarest blends of R&B into the smoothest romantic funk I heard in -well- yonks, definitely Prince in the spirit. He draws influences from a wide range of vocal superstars including Mariah Carey, Caron Wheeler, Maxwell, D’Angelo and Bone Thugs. Also high up there are Prince and Sade of course.

Brown says of the 20/15 song :

This song especially goes out to all the ladies and fellas who are amazingly supportive and extremely gifted at lifting up their loved ones, but somehow can’t see their own self-worth. If we could learn to absorb for ourselves the love we’re always imparting on others, I think our collective peace could blossom tenfold. But I know this is not an easy thing to do; it’s more the kind of thing you work on throughout your entire lifetime.

The track was produced by Alex Talan (from Rare Times) and Harriet Brown himself. Expect a full-length album in for this year. Synthesizers, drum machines, guitar, and brazen vocals are unified through the mind and body of one man, generating a sound in which the past becomes the future; Harriet Brown is creating a new kind of romantic funk. - Sodwee


Discography

Stop Think Remixes (Feel So Real 2015)
20/15 
(self-released, 2015)
Fiction 
(with Astronauts, etc -- self-released 2015)
New Era 
EP (Feel So Real 2014)

Photos

Bio

Born in the air of paradise, Harriet Brown has descended from the heavens to join in on the wild rhythms of our Lady Earth. Come partake in his entry to this new world, and witness his paradisiacal sounds and sensual vibes. Synthesizers, drum machines, guitar, and brazen vocals are unified through the mind and body of one man, generating a sound in which the past becomes the future; Harriet Brown is creating a new kind of romantic funk. His journey has just begun, and he seeks to share himself with all who are willing to receive. So come and get freaky with your very own Harriet Brown. It's a New Era. 

Band Members