Welcome to another installment of the local Vegan Artist Profile! (I should come up with a better name for this series, I realize. Soon, I swear.)
I am honored to have gotten the chance to interview Pacific Northwest native, Coreena Brown, a rising vocalist living right here in our little city. Brought up on soul, rock, and pop, Coreena spent some time singing smooth jazz and R&B, but has since discovered her true love of electronica. She is also an environmentalist, a big fan of Bill Maher, and is playing a show later this month. I asked her a few questions so we could all know her a bit better!
Vegan Score: First, an easy one – when did you become vegan and why?
Coreena Brown: I became a vegan about 4 years ago. In my personal life I was going through so many tough changes because of this I gained weight, was diagnosed with adult eczema a couple years before, I felt my body, my energy, and over all outside appearance did not reflect the best me. So I began this silly “carb” diet and lost about 30 pounds, but did not feel healthy, thin does not mean healthy! I also still continued to struggle with eczema and mysterious rashes. I started to do research about health and diet in medical journals, books, and other studies and ignored all the rhetoric I was hearing on television, in media, etc. I also began to read books about religion and spirituality. My perception not only began to change about food and what that has to do with our health (diabetes, heart diseases, and other degenerative diseases) but my perception changed about my relationship with food and animals. So here I am, and I never looked back and never will.
VS: Does being vegan impact your artistry or expression? Do you ever discuss animal exploitation or compassion in your lyrics?
Coreena: Yes, yes! There are many layers to the song “The 5th Element” one of them being that if we listen to our minds and hearts closely, it speaks to each and everyone one of us about compassion for animals and what that really means. I try to stay away from lyrically being preachy about what I believe, I more so try to get the listener to question their way of thinking and the decisions they make.
VS: Why did you decide to settle back in Seattle and kick off your electronica here?
Coreena: Part of me was ready to leave California, I have so much history there that I couldn’t really start a new residing in the same old place. I also thought Seattle, my hometown had a sense of community support for the arts and electronic music.
Listen now: TheFifthElement-DarkElementRemix
VS: What made you decide to pursue electronica instead of soul and smooth jazz?
Coreena: My first music project was a jazzy soul type project and it was great, however I was not the primary writer or producer. Now I write, produce, and do everything myself. I’ve been singing soul since I can remember so I don’t have to think about it, just comes to me, it’s all feeling, so I decided to do music that I felt made me think about the next note out my mouth instead of feeling the next note. Does that make sense? In addition to this, I wanted to reflect my metamorphosis and who I am today. I still perform live straight ahead jazz and soul standards to try to keep the chops up.
VS: Where do you normally perform and with what other local artists?
Coreena: Normally a venue called Lakeside Bistro which is a great place, but I don’t do my songs. I haven’t really performed with other artists but I look forward to it! I am also looking forward to having some of my songs spun at a couple electronic events and hot spots!
VS: In what neighborhood do you live and what is your favorite place to get vegan goodness there?
Coreena: I live in the Shoreline area and there is not much up this way, I eat in quite a bit, however I love the U District because there is so much to choose from! I can’t just choose one spot all the place are so good Chaco Canyon, Thrive, Hillside Quickie, Highline, it’s ALL FABULOUS!
VS: What is next for you in 2012?
Coreena: New website, new photos, I will have an EP release in May (my birthday month!), a party for the EP release, music for sale online, more performances, and a mini tour and travel overseas.
Thanks Coreena! I am especially grateful that this lil’ blog helps me meet so many artists that I otherwise would have no idea about! Coreena is the 2nd vegan Seattle jazz artist that I’ve profiled, and I have one more in the hopper at least. If you don’t want to wait until her EP release this spring , go hear Coreena croon January, 21, 2011 at Lakeside Bistro from 7:30-9:00 (reservations are recommended).