DREAM GIRLS – NYC Interviews: Whitney Brown
My name is Whitney Leigh Brown aka Rue Brown. I’m from Washington D.C.
What do you do?
I’m a singer/songwriter/dancer/host
Talk about style, who or what are some of your style influences?
My style is influenced by everything around me. I grew up training as a professional dancer and studied classical ballet for over 20 years, also studied lots of musical theater at an early age. My mom was a jazz and blues singer so I spent a lot of my childhood in nightclubs listening to her sing and seeing how it affected people, made them smile and cheer, that always intrigued me, moving people with energy that only you possess.
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What role does music play in your life?
Music is what makes me wake up and know there is always more exploration to be had in this thing called life. Whether it be to sing to it, dance to it, or just enjoy it, its my daily inspiration.
Do you think style and music interplay with each other? If so, how?
Yes, of course they interplay! Your personal style is so much of what your music is, and can become. Your style is how your audience identifies with you uniquely from everything else about music they love. A lot of people can sing pretty or tell great stories, but how that story is told is what we listen for in any artistic expression, especially music.
How would you define style as it relates to hip-hop culture?
Hip-Hop culture is style. Everything considered Hip-Hop should be fresh, innovative, have elements of classic appeal, and be able to relate to a wide audience, just like a good pair of jeans. Everybody wants the newest hottest pair but they also want to wear them differently.
Who are some of your favorite hip-hop artists or groups?
The Fugees, Kanye, Missy Elliot, Outkast, Kendrick Lamar, Ab Soul, Wu-Tang, A Tribe called Quest, The Roots, Jay-Z, Tupac ,Snoop…ahhh too many to name!
90’s Hip-Hop – what are some thoughts that come to mind – artists, groups, style, aesthetic?
Raw . Everything I love about music was embodied in the 90’s. Cool girls, educated men, dope clothing, new slang, uptempo beats, uplifting messages, artists that really represented the youth of the era in the best way, and gave us something to look ahead to.
What are your feelings about jazz? Do you have any favorite artists or groups?
Jazz is what I was raised on! I would have to say my favorite jazz artist would be Billie Holiday, then Nina Simone, although she would hate that I called her a jazz artist. They were both so authentic, with every single word they said they painted pictures. I love that.
What are your thoughts regarding the relationship(s) between jazz and hip-hop?
Jazz and hip-hop are so closely related because of the story telling, the complexity and range of sounds, and they both allow lots of room for free styling and improv. They both come from street culture and expression of an oppressed time when all people could do was make music to be heard. Jazz just like Hip-Hop was born of an organic need to say something out loud that would otherwise be looked over. They are both very necessary I feel, forever.
What are your thoughts regarding style as it relates to jazz culture
Jazz culture is where everybody learned how to clean up nice. To look sharp! (as my mom would say). I love to see men in suits, or a couple dressed to the 9’s at a place where live music is playing. For a moment I can almost imagine how fly everyone must have been all dressed up at once, singing their hearts out, playing instruments and sharing laughs up in Harlem and on U Street in D.C. I wish things could go back to that, I would be in a gown every night.
What do you think about the SHAOLIN JAZZ project?
I think it’s a dope and important project. I think jazz culture has gotten lost with the majority. We are being entertained by a lot of things that have no moral standing and no conscience. Joining these two worlds together is something that can really influence a hip-hop head to go and check out the similarities of the sounds and maybe fall in love with jazz totally by accident and vice versa. The generation under us definitely needs more exposure to jazz and maybe thru this project they can be influenced to learn more about music history by way of hip-hop.
Lastly, what are some of your upcoming events and how can people find out more about you?
I will be performing in lots of shows this summer in the New York City area with my Rank1 family. I just released two new songs “Ritual #261” and “Cosmic Air” you can find them both on Soundcloud. You can also find me hosting my weekly jam session AURA SESSIONS on Wednesday nights.
Find all updates at:
To see Part 1 of the DREAM GIRLS – NYC Summer 2014 photo shoot click here.
To see Part 2 of the DREAM GIRLS – NYC Summer 2014 photo shoot click here.
To see the SHAOLIN JAZZ T-Shirt Melanie’s wearing and our full range of SHAOLIN JAZZ Apparel click here.
Posted on July 8, 2014, in Uncategorized and tagged 37th chamber, african hair, apparel, black hair, brooklyn streetwear, brooklyn t-shirts, chris carr, dream girls brooklyn, dream girls nyc, eat the cake photography, hip hop, hip hop t-shirts, jazz, jazz t-shirts, kinky hair, models, music, music t-shirts, natural coily hair, natural curls, natural hair, natural twists, new york fashion, rap t-shirts, rue brown, shaolin jazz, shaolin jazz apparel, shaolin jazz clothing, shaolin jazz dream girls, shaolin jazz the 37th chamber, shaolin jazz tshirts, streetwear, t-shirts, urbanwear, whitney brown, whitney leigh brown. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.