Rachel Brown’s “You Got Me” Video: Idolator Premiere And Q&A

Bianca Gracie | April 6, 2015 7:00 am
Years & Years: Idolator Interview
We grabbed some time with the trio in Austin, during SXSW.

Rachel Brown is a rising singer-songwriter who hails from New York City, and is gearing up for the summer release of her sophomore EP — simply titled The Band. Today (April 6), we are premiering the artist’s video for her new single “You Got Me.”

The no-fuss visual (shot by Yael Schulman & Jared Knecht) takes place in the studio with Brown and her band members, as she performs the feel-good tune. The breezy yet intricate melody, the singer’s delicately sweet vocals and the tune’s overall vibe will definitely place you in a summery state of mind! The Band EP is set for a June 2015 release, and will be Brown’s second EP (which dropped in 2012).

Check out the “You Got Me” video up top, and catch our interview with Rachel Brown below!

What is the inspiration behind “You Got Me”? It has a very summery, fresh feeling.
RACHEL BROWN: There was no specific instance for this song. I was just writing one day and wanted to do something fun and upbeat. I then started imagining how I would perform it with the band, and I’ve been with them for a couple of years now.

So what kind of sounds can we expect from the new project?
RB: It’s a blending of genres, it’s soulful pop but also incorporates a bit of a world vibe. I have a kora in my band, which is a West African harp.

I know your background includes countries like Ethiopia and Bermuda. Do you like to put in your cultural influences into your music?
RB: It definitely primed me for being interested in different sounds from around the world, so I think [my background] opened me up to that. I have a bunch of West African and Haitian musicians involved in the band, and it’s a sound that I’ve always liked. So I try to incorporate that.

So what did you like listening to when growing up?
RB: I grew up in the ’90s, so I listened to a lot of pop — which I’m not ashamed of! But in the house there was a lot of Motown and soul. My dad liked hip-hop and R&B, and at the same time I was discovering singer-songwriters. Lisa Loeb’s album was the first one I’ve ever bought with my own money. I think a lot of that later influenced what I’ve become as an artist.

You’re from New York City and I feel like this city preps you for a lot of challenges. Did growing up here prep you for the harsh music business?
RB: I’m sure it definitely played a role. I think growing up in the city, you just see a lot — whether you want to or not! You just see everybody’s grind and hustle, and that probably made me know the reality of what I would be jumping into.

So what made you say, “Okay, I want to do this for my career”?
RB: I always dreamed about being a singer when I was growing up. I took a gap year before I started college, and I found the time and money to buy a guitar. I started learning how to play, and that’s how I began songwriting. I thought, “This is amazing! This is the art form that I’ve been looking for.” I’ve tried different ones growing up, but this was it. During college, I built up the courage to do open mic. After I graduated, I started playing shows and began to build enough of a base to try jumping into it officially.

In the early beginnings of your career, you met Wyclef Jean. Would you cite him as a mentor?
RB: Yea, he’s definitely a huge influence. I saw him perform for the first time live at a show that I was also performing in. That performance blew me away and really inspired me to become more of an entertainer, because he just plays his heart out for like four solid hours and it’s amazing! Enough paths crossed where I ended up meeting him several times, and he eventually began inviting me to play in his shows. Having that encouragement and support from somebody whom you admire…I’m sure that totally opened up things for me!

Has he given you any advice that you’ve taken to heart?
RB: I think a lot of what I’ve learned from him is just by watching and seeing his no-holds-barred performances. Also just being creative and out of the box, mixing genres up and being supportive of other artists — which I think everyone should do! It’s really cool.

You’ve been working with Scott Jacoby for your The Band EP, what has that experience been like?
RB: It’s really great! He actually produced a bunch of tracks on my last EP, so we’ve known each other for a while now. The thing that I love working with him is that he really understands the project and what I’m trying to do instead of making something out of what he envisioned. He definitely makes the best out of what my vision is, so it’s awesome working with him. It’s a good collaborative experience.

If you could choose someone to collaborate with, either living or dead, who would you pick?
RB: Well contemporary-wise, Bruno Mars. I love him and everything he’s ever touched! And dead, Sam Cooke. I absolutely love his songwriting. And Bruno is almost a reflection of him in some ways.

How is working with a live band different from working with a producer that just flips a switch?
RB: It’s fun! I’ve done songwriting in the past with producers that was really based on the electronics, which is cool and I love that. But the thing that was different about this was we were taking songs that we’ve been performing live for a long time, and starting there as opposed to doing something from scratch in a laboratory. We’re trying to translate what we honed on the stage and rehearsals into a record. It’s great to feed off of people and not be so isolated behind a computer screen.

Speaking of electronics, the current wave of music right now is based off of that — especially the dance music coming from the UK. Since your sound is the opposite of that, do you think it will be more of a challenge for you when your new EP drops?
RB: Probably! [laughs] But on the other hand, maybe for some people it will be a break. It’s something different. I love what’s happening now in music, but sometimes you just need to chill out! So I’m there for you when you want that!

Rachel Brown’s “You Got Me” single is now available on iTunes — click here to purchase.

Get an eyeful of even more pop music coverage, from artist interviews to exclusive performances, on Idolator’s YouTube channel.