Wednesday, June 4, 2008

An April Moon With A Little Love

Born to two musically gifted parents in 1964, it was a fair bet Sam Brown would achieve something special in music. At age 12 she sang backing vocals on the Small Faces’ album ‘In The Shade’. During her formative years Sam also sang with artists such as Mark Knopfler, Spandau Ballet and Sade.

After recording a number of demos and shopping around for a deal the extraordinarily talented singer finally got the chance to showcase her vocal brilliance via her 1987 debut album ‘Stop’. It took a while to take off but after some success in Holland and Germany the album was eventually a smash in her native U.K. (#4) and Australia (#11) and sold over 2 million copies. The title track ‘Stop!’ was a brilliant debut effort and matched the album’s performance on the U.K. singles charts (#4), going one better in Australia (#3) in early 1989. For all its success at home, neither the single nor album broke into the U.S. Top 50. A second single ‘Can I Get A Witness’ was a much funkier effort and resulted in another top 20 hit.

Sam Brown then faced the daunting prospect of matching the success of ‘Stop’ with her sophomore album ‘April Moon’. Released in 1990 the album featured less soul/R&B flavoured tracks and more of a straight pop music sound. The first two singles ‘With A Little Love’ and ‘Kissing Gate’ were both well received (reaching the U.K. and Australian Top 50), but neither managed to crack the top 20 and the album ‘April Moon’ also fell short of the stratospheric heights of ‘Stop’.

Personal tragedy struck for Sam Brown in 1991 with the death of her mother Vicki (a classical singer), and Sam’s next album ‘43 Minutes’ took on a sombre, self-reflective tone. Her label A&M refused to release the album, arguing that they wanted a commercial sounding single included, but Brown stuck to her convictions which resulted in a long drawn out legal battle, that eventually saw Brown win the rights to the music and finally release the album in the U.K. in 1992 on her own label ‘Pop Music’.

In 1994 Sam Brown took a break from her own solo career to work with Pink Floyd on their album ‘Division Bell’, then joining the rock legends on their world tour (Sam knew Floyd guitarist Dave Gilmour from when she was a child hanging around her father‘s recording studio). The following year Sam worked extensively with the music ensemble Jools Holland’s Big Band and has continued working with the ex-Squeeze members R&B Orchestra. In November ‘96 Sam Brown went on tour with her father Joe’s newest group Subway Soopa Stringz. (Joe Brown fronted the U.K. act The Bruvvers in the early 60s and notched up three top 10 hits)

Sam Brown returned to the studio to record the 1997 album ‘Box’ which sadly landed in a market that had long since moved on from ‘Stop’, but still sold a respectable 17,000 copies. She has continued to record her own work at intervals in the years since; from 2001’s ‘Reboot’ to 2007’s ‘Of The Moment’, along the way developing as a songwriter and exploring new areas of music, such as the quirky 2006 EP ‘Ukulele & Voice’, which as the name implies features Brown accompanied by ukulele. With a career spanning over 20 years long and still going strong, it matters not that Sam Brown hasn’t reached the realms of superstardom, for along the journey this gifted musician has provided countless fans with the pleasure of her singing and song writing talents - something special indeed.

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