Will Brock
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"Singers Universe Winner"

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Will Brock Named September “Best Vocalist Of The Month” With His Song “Broken”
By Dale Kawashima

Will Brock, a talented, soul/R&B singer & songwriter based in Philadelphia, PA, has won the September SingerUniverse “Best Vocalist Of The Month” Competition, for his performance of his song “Broken”. This song is included on his 10-song CD, Letter From Eye To I, which he released independently in July 2004. Brock will also be releasing a live album this fall, and he is writing songs for his next studio album.


Will Brock performing live onstage.
“Broken” is an appealing midtempo tune, which has a classic soul/pop arrangement that is a bit reminiscent of “Drift Away” by Dobie Gray. The song provides a terrific showcase for Brock’s charismatic lead vocals, and also features his solid harmonies in the choruses. In addition, Brock produced this recording, and he played the keyboards, string tracks and did the drum programming.

Brock grew up in a small town, Washington, PA, which is on the south side of Pittsburgh. His first musical influence was his father, who played piano and sang. Impressively, Brock learned to play many instruments - he took piano, guitar, violin and sax lessons. He also began writing songs at an early age.

For college, Brock attended the University Of The Arts in Philadelphia, where he subsequently majored in jazz piano and graduated with a B.A. degree. Brock was very active and productive during his college years. Not only did he develop his songwriting and write songs for the popular jazz group, Pieces Of A Dream, he also played keyboards and toured with the Stylistics and worked with CeCe Peniston and Miles Jaye. It was also during this period that Brock met music pro Donald Robinson (producer of Vanessa Williams hit “Dreamin’”), who has been a mentor to him.


Will Brock
After graduating, Brock started a production company, writing and producing records (house, dance and R&B music) for overseas markets, primarily Europe. Then in early 2004, he began focusing on his own artist career. “I started to write and record songs for my own album, and I released Letter From Eye To I (in July 2004),” said Brock. “It has some soul songs, plus some funk and rock.”

Currently, Brock has been keeping a busy schedule. In addition to performing shows with his own band (featuring guitarists Jef Lee Johnson and Ron Jennings, bassist Charles Baldwin and drummer Tim Hutson), he also tours regularly with prominent jazz artists Gerald Veasley and Marion Meadows. In fact, Brock has just returned from the Guantanamo Bay military base in Cuba, where he and Meadows performed for the U.S. troops. “We had a great time performing for the troops,” he said. “We felt so welcomed and appreciated. They made it clear that they wanted you there.”

- Singers Universe


"Album Review"

Coming out of Western Pennsylvania Will Brock has recently released A Letter From Eye To I . Without talking too much lets jump into the LP and give it a GeoClan rating.



"Ass Out" is the first track and Brock talks about a love lost with more lost on his side than hers. The track shows Brock's love for instrumental accompaniment as you hear the guitar, drums among other instruments. While this woman was stubborn she was still love and an important lesson in his life that will not be forgotten.



"Lil My" begins with the electric guitar blaring and Brock conveys his feelings about a special person in his life that he enjoys talking to and being with. She is his little my (probably short for mommy) and despite time constraints and obligations he still values her companionship and friendship. The electric guitar is the co-star in this piece and helps to show the severity of his passion.



"Betcha" could be a hot single from the album because the tone of the song is calm and then opens up in the chorus with harmony and Brock singing:" Betcha don't know I love you!" Brock uses a "questioning" tone in the song while also explaining what he would do for this special person he wants in his life for a long time. The ad-libs show Brock's versatility as he goes low and medium professing his feelings while the chorus is in the background.



Strolling down memory lane and being with family and friends is what "Home" is all about and why it is the title of the track. Brock just talks about different mannerisms and people that remind him of being home. The bridge comes out like a Take 6 song with Brock singing over strong meaningful lyrics. The song reminds you of waking up on the weekend and preparing for a cookout or family function.



"Buttah" gets gutter with a heavy bass sound and electric guitar adding accompaniment to Brock's sultry lyrics about what makes this girl damn fine! This song sounds like a track you can jam to in a jazzy club with a crowd of music listeners. You'll appreciate the sounds you have to listen hard to hear. Those sounds and Brock's rifts are the glue that set this track apart. You can feel the fun Brock and his accompaniment had making this track in the booth.



When you have that love that isn't new anymore and you thinking will it last you have to make sure you don't let a change in the relationship and the trust you have with that person "Drift" away. This track is about working things out and not taking the easy way out. The instruments help move the song's pitch and Brock does the same bringing a greater intensity to his words.



"Little Man" is a funky tune with the bass and electric guitars playing a big role as Brock explains how to use visual aids and your imagination to fulfill your fantasies, if only for that particular moment! This track breaks down myths and gives you instructions you can either use or put to the side. It's all up to you!



Just as quick as the last track was erotic, "Broken" is about picking yourself up and doing you despite the heartache and disappointment. Brock uses interesting analogies to express the story he trying to convey. These words and their usage are good enough to casual listener and that makes you go deeper.



"Losin' My Mind" is another jam you can see Brock singing in a smoky bar as he talks about wasting time with someone who has other motives than his own. He talks to this significant other about their relationship and how it has to change for the better because he is walking out the door. The guitars on this track set an awesome tempo and allow you to think of your own messed up situation. In the end the song Brock expresses himself as the music fades off helping the words stand out and loud for all to hear. I'm sure we all know someone in this situation. In fact some could look in the mirror!



"If I" is the song for the dreamer in Brock as he thinks of what he would love to happen in his own personal world where he makes the decisions. Brock talks about the changing the world and turning darkness into light. It sounds like you can hear crickets in the background and you can picture this song and a video being set out in nature with Brock talking to the higher power through his words verbally or through his pen.



Overall this album was very enjoyable. For an artist I've never held of prior to listening today, he shows the ability to switch styles and sound comfortable with them, not forced. Brock didn't show the pipes of a Luther Vandross but showed the ability to go low like a baritone and the high like a tenor while occasionally reminding you of Prince using a falsetto rift. I think his music has a chance to be special because of his lyrical content and craftiness with words. He allows you to use you ability to think which is a rarity in today's R&B game where most lay it all on the table.

This is an album that could be played in your car or maybe in the bed while you have a conversation on the phone with a present or potential love. The album has several sounds ranging from jazzy to contemporary and also uses some rock elements. Also Brock can make you think back to different and/or simpler times. He isn't too whiny and can appear to the men along with the ladies. Lastly the instruments on the album were tone setting and key to the albums success.



I'll give Will Brock's debut album 4 globes. This artist has a bright future as long as he can express himself in different styles and talk about things in new and interesting ways.


Any questions, comments, suggestions email Clayton Ruley at clayton@geoclan.com.
- GeoClan


"Rhythm and Soul"


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« Contempo August 2006 | Main | George Benson, Al Jarreau Call On Superstars »
August 10, 2006
Will Brock: Rhythm and Soul Personified
by Beverly Packard

Music has a lot of names, among them jazz, blues, soul, rhythm and blues, but I never heard anyone use the term rhythm and soul. No wonder -- it was only recently invented by Will Brock. Do you know him? He has a couple of his own CDs, but you may know him best as that capable and fun-loving keyboard player with Gerald Veasley’s band.

Gerald Veasley has a great band, and he freely admits the love he has for the members of the band. He accepts them as they are and allows them to exhibit their own individuality and that’s true, especially, in the case of Will Brock. At first you might not even notice Will – he sits there quietly before the show, taking everything in, very attentive to Veasley, and you get the impression he’s going to sit there and do whatever Veasley requires for a song. And he does do that extremely well.

But something happens along the way.

Something gets a hold of Brock………and he’s never the same for the rest of the night. He starts to dance in his seat, keeping the beat with his head and shoulders. Taking command of his keyboard, he appears to push it into areas it can barely go, at times shrinking away from it as if it’s going to protest and not cooperate! How can there be such a dynamic relationship between Will and his keyboard? Will explains some of this in the interview below.

The first time I saw him, he seemed to be exercising throughout one of the songs. His whole body is part of fascinating rhythmic movements and he exudes soul. He has more rhythm than almost anyone you’ve ever watched. Every movement is about the music; he seems to have a secret, and you’ve just got to wait until he shares it with you.

By the time Will Brock is launching into what I see as one of his most-prized compositions, ‘Home’ you know that song has got to be his secret. It’s a moving, nostalgic, spellbinding rendition of our collective wish to ‘be back home,’ to reconnect with all that is important and precious to us, to be excited and to be so keyed up (as he is) about this moment in time that, along with him, we can hardly sit still, either, because we, too, are ‘Home.’

Brock is a dynamite keyboard player and a dynamic person as well. He’s Rhythm and Soul personified – I call it R & S, and I could hardly wait to talk with him about his music and find out what's behind all that energy he has.


BJP: Welcome to Smooth Vibes, Will! I'm glad we're finally getting to this interview! How did you get your start in playing keyboard? And 'where have you been’ up until this point in your career?

WB: Well, I started playing piano in my fifth grade band rehearsal hall, kind of fooling around and plucking out ideas with a bunch of other kids who played as well. I wanted to be a saxophone player at the time. The world is a much better place since I let that idea pass.

We would hang out in the band room and play tunes (or something… sort of resembling tunes). I fooled around like that on piano with short stints of lessons hear and there until I was in College. At that point I switched to piano completely as my “primary instrument."

BJP: Did you have that infectious enthusiasm right from the start? Were you sort of dramatic when you were playing, even early on?

WB: My friends will all tell you that I’m dramatic about everything. I have always been a little over the top in general. As long as I can remember, in my mind life has been something to get excited about, music in particular. There’s nothing more beautiful than being involved with and surrounded by art. Being able to get inside of an audience, fellow band members and ones self is, like, exciting. That’s what I’m responding to on that stage. Living in that space for an hour or two every night is just downright fun.

BJP: That’s a great way to express who you are, that really fits the Will I’ve seen on stage. You have so much fun, yet you’re so serious in doing the job ‘just right’ -- how do you do both at the same time?

WB: As I said before, the fun part is automatic. The job, however, is the job. To work on this level, a cat doesn’t necessarily need to be the next Herbie or Oscar. One needs to execute what the bandleader wants to hear and bring a voice and personality to the table. Executing takes focus. I focus a great deal of energy on making sure the “thing” is working.

BJP: You have eagle eyes for what’s coming, always watching Gerald and everyone to know your next step which you carry out with precision. You take a lot of pride in how you play. Where did you get your training?

WB: There are several “schools” that deserve credit for my training. I graduated from the University of the Arts with a Bachelors degree in Jazz piano. That experience gave me a fundamental understanding of music on a pretty high level. That’s the obvious answer. The truth is, my real training has been way more involved than that. When I got to Philadelphia, I’d go down to the Old Zanzibar blue (before it got all hip and upscale). On Thursday nights for many years, Barbara Walker had a residency there. I’d hang and sit in with the band, play the two songs I knew (Autumn Leaves and Night in Tunisia with a funk thing on it) and get on the bands nerves ungodly.

I say all that to say, it was that and hundreds of experiences like that, that really gave me a sense of making music person to person. My teachers, the cats who really taught me how to get down, are the philly gig hogs. They play in some dive or another every night to make ends meet. The beautiful thing is that they’re always willing to share a tidbit of knowledge or a story. If one truly wants to learn to “shake the room” and get people excited about the work, those men and women are the folks to teach it.

BJP: That sounds like a fertile background from which to grow. Wish I had been able to be there at Zanzibar Blue in those days. I’ve only been during the ‘hip and upscale,’ more recent years.

BJP: I have to ask about the song ‘Home,’ of course! How did it come about? It is really wonderful!!

WB: My best friend/big brother Charles Baldwin and I wrote that song. We spent quite a few years writing quite a few songs. Truthfully, “Home” is one of the many that we wrote in a period when we were focusing on songs that one might call timeless. The idea was to come up with songs that folks could relate to now and ten thousand years from now. There was a point when we were writing 1 or 2 of those a day. It was really quite insane now that I really think about it.

Anyway, it was really the only thing that Gerald had heard of mine at the time we started doing it. We did it at a jazz festival once and it’s become a part GV’s set.

BJP: I know from watching you that you have to move around! Is that just part of your natural self, as in, would your Mom tell us you were ‘always moving’ as a child?

WB: Yea… me and still don’t really get along too well. Especially when I’m doing the “thing”. Quite honestly I don’t understand how anyone can be still up under any kind of groove. For as long as I can remember music moved me, literally moved me, to …well… move. I’m guessing my mom would tell you that I was that way from the moment I came into the world.

BJP: I hear you on that and I’m sure most music lovers would agree. I’d say you definitely found your niche! Who would you say influenced you in your style of playing?

WB: It’s funny. My playing is not super influenced by musicians, piano players, and even less so jazz guys. The keyboard thing is kind of a small part of the picture for me. It’s only one of many artistic expressions that I need to be involved in to exist (not as deep as it sounds I promise). So what you hear when you hear me play is my entire artistic life, filtered through music that day. It’s kind of fluid for me. The books I read, the films I check out, art of any kind, it’s all the same to me. I just happen to be able to execute pretty well on the piano so that expression is very clear for folks that stop and listen.

BJP: I know it must mean an awful lot to be able to play with someone like Gerald Veasley – what a great performer and friend he seems to be. How did you two get together?

WB: When I was in School at Uarts, Gerald came and did a guest artist swing with an ensemble called the Fusion Band. I was in the band and He was to play a concert with us. We did a duet (Stella by Starlight) and the vibe was amazing.

After that he’d call me to work on some of his productions and eventually I became a fulltime member of the band. Gerald has been like a brother to me for a long time. It’s to great to be able to absorb the music and life lessons from him. He’s a beautiful person and an awe-inspiring musician.

BJP: Yes, Gerald Veasley is amazing. You also have your own solo career that you’re working on – how is that going and what’s new on the horizon for you?

WB: I’m in the process of writing songs for another project. That is my main focus (Solo Career). I have spectacular band. We put on a super fun show (and modest to boot). Seriously, I’m just working on creating honest music and letting folks hear it. Hopefully that will yield the results I want. We’ll see!

BJP: From what I can see, everyone who hears and sees you in person just appreciates you and your style so much, so I think you’re going to get results! Is there something you’d like your present and potential fans to know about you at this point in your career?

WB: I would like fans to continue getting to know me. I’ll be making music for a very long time so I plan to create long-term relationships with folks that have an interest in good ol’ fashioned soul music. I have a long way to travel in this thing and it should be a fun journey to watch.

BJP: I’m sure it will be. Let me just say you are awesome to watch, you have an infectious smile, you’re totally involved, and when you play it’s just the greatest experience for me, every time you play – I never tire of seeing that passion and raw emotion you communicate, especially during that song ‘Home!’ I hope you keep playing in Reading a couple of times a year!

BJP: Thanks for doing this interview for Smooth Vibes, Will, and the best of luck in all your projects!

WB: Thank you for doing the interview with me!


Please check out Will Brock for yourself at one of the following websites:

http://www.willbrock.com

http://www.myspace.com/willbrock

Happy Jazzin'

Beverly J. Packard
Jazz Circle Member of the Berks Arts Council
Reading, Pennsylvania
MyGirlSunday22@aol.com

Photo Credits: Will Brock and Michael Packard

Posted by Beverly J. Packard at August 10, 2006 09:28 PM
- Smooth Vibes


"Amazon Review"

"This Guys got the voice", June 28, 2006
Reviewer: F. J. Souder III "Fritz" (Rockville, Md. USA) - See all my reviews

Folks,

Will Brock is the best new male singer out there. He's not some manufactured product like Taylor Hicks from the "American Idol". This fellow is the real deal. He carry's on in the spirit and style of greats like Otis Redding, Al Green, Marvin Gaye and Arthur Conley. Go to his site: www.willbrock.com and take a listen to some of his song samples and you'll hear what I'm talking about. Things are only going to get better for this young man once the world hears what he has to offer it.

- Amazon


Discography

LP "A letter from eye to I" (Will Brock)
EP "Diary of a Crazy man" (Will Brock)
DVD "Will Brock Live and then some"

Photos

Bio

“Remember back in the days of Stevie, Marvin, and Donny, when artists cared about their music and you heard their passion in every note played and every note sung? … This brother is truly one of those artists.”

This is only one among hundreds of great things that people have to say about Will Brock. From shows around the world with Marion Meadows, and Gerald Veasley, to gigs in and around Philadelphia fronting his band, people respond with passion to his music. The songs evoke everything from tears to laughter to outright rage. The performance is raw and unhindered, and above all the emotion… is real.

Though clearly influenced by the legends of American music, Wills style is uniquely his own. You’ll hear shades of everyone from Prince and Marvin Gaye to James Taylor and the Beatles in the records. Even so, once you hear a Will Brock joint, you’ll recognize his music anywhere. It’s a signature sound that leaves an imprint on one's soul. The lyrics are masterfully crafted to take one's mind on a journey familiar to all of us. It inevitably leaves a listener wanting more.

The reason is simple. On the most basic level Will Brock is a musician. He’s one of the most in demand keyboard players in Philadelphia. The miles he’s logged on the road are too many to count, lending his abilities to The Stylistics, Miles Jaye, and many others. He can be heard playing on countless major recordings as well. As a singer, he consistently brings audiences to their feet on stages around the world when he’s featured with Marion Meadows and Gerald Veasley.

Will has placed his signature on many recordings as a producer and songwriter. As co-founder of 1050 east, a Philadelphia production company, Glenn Lewis, Jeff Bradshaw, and many others have benefited from his abilities. He also has many independent domestic and European releases under his belt.

All of these experiences have served to hone Will’s ability to create amazing music. They’ve allowed him to sharpen every aspect of the record making and performing process. Will Brock is a master. His music is an experience, and the story he tells is one that needs to be heard.