Deep Dive: Lenell Brown
We’re delighted to give you a deep look inside the world of singer, songwriter, and producer Lenell Brown. The Swiss based Brown has quite an extensive professional touring and performing background and his background in singing goes back even further. We explore his roots across gospel, hip hop, and R&B, and discover the driving force behind his charting dance productions and features!
Lenell, thanks for joining us today! How’s your year been going thus far? What have been a few highlight moments?
It’s my pleasure, thanks for having me. Wow, I’ve had a fantastic year so far… It started off strong in February with my single “Always With Me” being placed on the highly anticipated annual 40 track double CD compilation on Universal Music Spain and Clipper’s Sounds Label, which charted at #1 on Spain’s iTunes Top Dance albums chart. It was fantastic because it pulled my single back into the single Dance charts so that set the tempo for the year.
I released my latest single “I Need Lovin” and that found two major placements on the IMS IBIZA 2019 Sampler and then on the amazing Clipper’s Sounds Label summer compilation “Dancefloor Summer Hits 2019“ which was one of my goals for this year so I can successfully check that off my list.
Can you introduce your singing, songwriting and production background to our readers? How long have you been working in music, how long in electronic music, how have you seen yourself develop in both? Where are you hoping to take your project in the future?
I grew up singing gospel in church. That’s where my love for singing started and then spread out to go go, hip hop and R&B music. Then I toured and worked for the international performing organization UP With People for 6 years. On that circuit, I performed in a two hour musical show, and we did everything from private VIP shows to stadiums touring through 28 countries and 49 states. That was my introduction into the music and performance industry and gave me the opportunity to perfect my performing skills show after show after show.
I didn’t become a recording artist until I moved to Switzerland and being a recording artist is an entirely different ballgame. I will save those details for another interview lol… After touring and settling in Switzerland, I started singing and performing rock and blues as the lead singer for the incredible blues guitarist Rolf “LL” Lüthi & The Handyman. I started my career as a recording artist first writing and recording hooks on other artists’ projects which was great because it allowed me to also grow and develop my own sound with an added benefit of meeting and connecting with some really incredible artists.
Then I went back on tour in Switzerland performing with the hip hop and R&B group Duke Sheltic which was pure hip hop with a live band. We placed in the final top 10 acts of Switzerland to try and qualify for the 2011 Eurovision. We lost but the nationwide television exposure was fantastic. I became a solo recording artist and worked and toured with some great artists mainly in the hip hop genre, starting with Swiss award-winning Rapper Steff La Cheffe. I then partnered up with Ice-T’s legendary Rhyme Syndicate member “The Syndicate Sniper” Donald-D where we toured Holland, Germany, England and Poland and recorded several tracks. I also recorded with the Luminary Icon, hip hop’s first female emcee, MC Sha-Rock, and recorded several tracks with the West Coast G-Funk king, Shade Sheist who’s known for his debut track “Where I Wanna Be” feat. Nate Dogg and Kurupt. As well as recording and performing with a number of other talented and incredible artists such as JJ’s Hausband aka “the hardest working backing band” for sure one of the best live bands here in Switzerland, highlighted by receiving my gold album for my participation on the REMADY & Manu-L album “Original”.
This is all to say I classify myself as a recording and performing artist. I’m a singer, so many different genres have contributed to getting me to where I am today as a vocalist in the dance scene. When I first started recording vocals as a studio artist I was dropping a lot of featured vocals in electronic music. Today I’m still collecting royalties on productions that I featured on that I can’t even remember. Maybe it’s better like that, haha, but it’s a good feeling knowing someone is listening to your music somewhere.
Can you tell us some more about how your vocal background in gospel and hip hop influences your work in electronic music?
Those two major styles influences my music a great deal because it defines a very important part of who I am. The gospel side was my introduction to singing. It’s my base, my roots. Through gospel I learned to express my emotions, my conviction, and my love in a safe, free zone without knowing the effects that it would have on my future as a singer. Hip hop, it was the energy, the bass, the vibe, the flow, the conviction and the story telling. Guys like LL Cool J, Donald-D, Grandmaster Caz, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, Shade Sheist all had a major impact on me. And especially Tupac, the master of putting energy and conviction behind his word and flow.
I can rap but I’m not a rapper. It wasn’t until BBD (Bell, Biv, Devoe) spun off from the “New Edition“ singing group and G-Funk King Nate Dogg (RIP) showed you that you could have success combining singing vocals with hip hop. Two totally different styles but both sounds were amazing. Pure genius and dopeness… I think that both genres allowed me to open my mind and experiment. To stay creative and open to all projects. I’m a well-rounded “singer“ which has allowed me to work with some incredible artists from around the world.
What’s your favorite Lenell Brown production to date and why does it stand out?
I really love the “Always With Me” radio mix as well as the JFMEE remix of the track. The track was inspired by my godfather the late Rev. Billy Scott who passed at an early age from cancer. Rev. Scott was an amazing man and an incredible singer and performer. You know we artists, we think different, I don’t know, maybe we dream a bit much. Rev Scott took me under his wing when I was in school and gave me purpose. He educated me on performance and being real and true to myself and the importance of putting in the work behind the dreams in order to make them reality. The “Always With Me” track was a milestone for me. I finally reached the point in my career where I felt comfortable to write such a personal track.
What makes an outstanding vocal in electronic music?
I really think it’s about having a balance… fun, light and energetic party bangers sprinkled in with a few emotional soul stirring productions. Also the balance between too many vocals and less perfectly placed vocals. Sometimes less is truly better. The challenge as an artist is figuring it out.
In DJ sets nowadays, we’re seeing more and more artists throw in popular mainstream rap and hip-hop vocals throughout their sets, what’s your take on the blending of the two worlds?
Oh, I love it!! If the production is tight and its vibing right, why not?
What’s next from you on the production front?
I’m currently working on three productions which have me excited. All three tracks are so incredibly different from each other.
What else has you excited as we head out of the summer season? What are two goals you are hoping to achieve the rest of this year?
Summer was great and now me and my producer Ben Muhlethaler are planning productions to get us in a good position to have a good chance of having a placement on the highly anticipated Universal Music Spain and Clipper’s Sounds double CD Dancefloor Annual 2020. So, I would say that my goals are to finish out this year as strong as it started with a couple of tracks charting and positioning us for a track placement in January 2020.