Jonatha Brooke

Jonatha Brooke

BandPopSinger/Songwriter

Sophisticated singer-songwriter, with a powerful yet angelic voice, who creates well-crafted melodies infused with intelligent/literate lyrics.

Biography

In the aftermath of releasing her last studio album, 2004's luminous Back in the Circus, Jonatha Brooke embarked on a creative journey that paved the way for her latest chef d'oeuvre, Careful What You Wish For. Arguably the most pop-oriented album of Brooke’s career, the CD expresses anger and beauty, offers cautionary advice and uplifting redemption. It's edgy and dark, sarcastic about fame and celebrity, yet hopeful despite the ravages of heartbreak. It begins on a highly charged note of dreams unraveling (the title tune) and ends in a safe haven of the sweet and simple life (“Never Too Late,” a gem that features Brooke solo on acoustic guitar).
Issued on Brooke's homespun Bad Dog Records label and co-produced by the legendary Bob Clearmountain, Careful What You Wish For serves as the culmination of two years of new adventures, including her triumphant 10-night residency in support of Circus at The Anspacher Theater in the Public Theater complex in New York, her solo opening-act duties for singer Joe Cocker's tour from May to October 2005, and the invite from Jive Records A&R chief Teresa La Barbera-Whites to pen songs for new records by two of her artists, Nick Lachey (from the band 98 Degrees) and J.C. Chasez (from NSYNC).
The latter experience directly impacted the tone for Careful What You Wish For. “Writing for Nick and J.C. gave me the opportunity to get out of my chick headspace and try something new,” says Brooke, who enlisted songwriting help from her old friend and collaborator Eric Bazilian, who co-produced four of the tunes. “I worked on songs written from different personae, trying out characters, though, of course, there's a part of me in each of the tunes too. And the music really rocked.”
Brooke notes that “Circus was intentionally intimate and sonically smaller, more petite, simple. So, I thought, since I don't like repeating myself from album to album, let's really rock this one out. The Nick and J.C. songs came out explosively and that started me on a roll. The vibe is all about busting out, being on the edge, playing with great abandon to see what we could come up with.”
Brooke and Bazilian set up shop in Los Angeles, developing songs in the morning, then presenting them in the studio later in the day. Both “Careful What You Wish For” and “Beautiful Girl” were written with Chasez in mind. The latter made the final cut for his upcoming release. “J.C. was cool,” says Brooke. “He let me keep both tunes for my record. 'Careful' is my favorite.”
“I'll Leave the Light On,” a song of “darkened rooms” and “empty promises,” and “Keep the River on the Right,” a life-come-undone tune, were written for Lachey. He covered Brooke's “Because I Told You So” as the bonus track on the world release of his album What's Left of Me. While some of Brooke's tunes were left on the cutting room floor, they provided the impetus for Careful What You Wish For. “We left L.A. batting a thousand with them, and I got four songs for my new record,” says Brooke. “Plus, writing for Nick and J.C. forced me to examine my own attitudes and desires as well as my own sense of success and celebrity and achievement. There's always that shadow. So, for these songs, I'm also confronting the shadow side of me. They're honest, raw, close to the bone.”
Careful What You Wish For is Brooke's ninth album, dating back to her early-'90s folk-pop band, The Story, co-led by college friend Jennifer Kimball. The harmony-rich duo released two superb albums for Elektra, Grace in Gravity (initially issued by Green Linnet) and The Angel in the House, before parting paths in 1994. Brooke then launched her solo career in 1995 with Plumb (MCA/Blue Thumb), followed two years later by 10 Cent Wings (MCA/Refuge). In 1998, she broke from major-label constraints, becoming a pioneer of DIY indie labels by forming Bad Dog Records, which released Jonatha Brooke Live (1998), Steady Pull (2001), Circus (2004), and the DVD/CD Live in New York (2005).
Brooke's songs have been covered by Jesse McCartney (“I'll Try” from the Disney movie Return to Neverland that appeared on the album Disney Mania 4) and American Idol runner-up Ayla Brown (“Ten Cent Wings”).
While Brooke's alluring vocals and captivating songs make for a sunny-side-up sensibility, there's a pronounced dark lining of longing and heartbreak in her music. “I have a great life and I love my career,” she says. “I'm pretty much a happy person, but my music has an underbelly that's informed by the rough spells in my life.”
Careful What You Wish For features 11 new songs. The sessions, featuring her core band of guitarist Goffrey Moore, bassist Darren Embry and drummer Rich Mercurio as well as various guests, were largely recorded live with minimal overdubs.
“Live is best,” says Brooke, who does multi-instrument duty with acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin, piano, mellotron, Wurlitzer organ and percussion. “We recorded eight songs in five days and caught a vibe. On some occasions I was

Discography

In her former band, The Story, she released two albums in the US, Grace in Gravity (1992) and Angel in the House (1993).
As a solo artist she has released the following albums in the US:
Plumb (1995) ; Ten Cent Wings (1997); Live (1998); Steady Pull (2001), Back in the Circus (2004), Careful What You Wish For (2007).

Set List

Sets typically last one hour. Here is a sample set list:

Better after all
Nothing sacred
Baby wait
Hearsay
I'll Leave the Light On
Crumbs
Because I Told You so
The Choice
Keep the River on Your Right
Je n'Peux pas te Plaire
Secrets and Lies
Inconsolable
Prodigal Daughter
Steady Pull
Everything I wanted
Linger
____
encores:
Careful What You Wish For
Is This All
Annie