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This is BrukOut! Seani B talks to Marla Brown

DOING IT FOR DAD: Marla Brown channels her faith into her music, and thinks of her father every day

I WAS fortunate enough to host the excellent Shabba Ranks show at Wembley on July 1st at the legendary Wembley complex. One of the guests backstage was a certain Marla Brown, daughter of the late, great Dennis Emmanuel Brown. Her calming spirit was refreshing in what was a pretty hectic backstage areas at times – and when I spoke to her she told me the significance of the day.

“The show fell on the 18th anniversary of my Dad passing”, she informs me with a tone that oozes calm. “It was an emotional time, particularly when we hear people sing Dad’s songs”

It’s amazing to think that eighteen years have passed since we lost the Crown Prince, and you can imagine the feeling for his family since that time.

“Even though it’s been so long, it’s still hard – not a day goes by that I don’t think of Dad. I think of him every single day.”

“I’m always in Jamaica for his birthday and they flood the radio with his tracks – it’s very emotional but happy for us at the same time. We are a tight family so there is an emptiness on those days – we make sure that we eat his favourite meals and drink his favourite drinks on those days – then we are saddened because he isn’t there in person to share it with us – but he is here in spirit.” There is a hint of a smile in her voice at the thought of her father’s presence.

This presence is a key element for her and her beliefs. “Spirits and emotions are very strong throughout the human existence – I recently did a festival and a medium came to me afterwards to tell me that the spirit of my Dad was present and that he is proud of me. It made me cry, because I pray that he is with me every day”, she says humbly.

Marla has a great energy, something that she carries in her everyday presence as well as her on stage persona. “That energy comes from the way I write – the opportunity to express love and other emotions come through my writing process and what I feel towards the music I am writing to. It gives me a chance to let that out.”

There is, however, an air of vulnerability in her voice – “it’s because I love hard and I have trust and faith in everyone. I’m an open person, and allow myself to be used for other people’s growth. I feel that it helps others and my position as an artist makes it easier to do that.” I admire her honesty and openness.

Her latest EP, the excellent “Survivor”, is a quality piece of work. She went on to break down motivation for the EP. “We get so lost in the system and so lost in the time with so much being thrown at us, I just want to be that little voice that empowers people. It’s about overcoming anything that comes at you. This life is a test – you fall, you rise, you start again. I like to emphasis strength, particularly as we are all now so competitive in life. I often wonder why we are like this. It may be the Scorpio in me – me and my family are very open and honest so I can’t be any other way.

Stand out track on the set for me is “Crystal Woman” – a popular choice it seems as it is also one of Marla’s favourites!

“It’s about being transparent – many people are scared to be transparent on the fear of being disliked. Only God can judge you, so don’t watch no one else.”

Her confidence and self assured nature is admirable. She also come across as very deep. I wanted to know what centred her.

“I read my bible every day – I have to. I don’t just want to exist in this world – I have to have a purpose. You question a lot more when you read the bible, and that makes you understand more.”

Life within the music business can test anyone’s faith, especially out on tour which Marla has been for the last few weeks. It’s been a surprisingly positive experience for her.

“I did not expect so much love on tour – it still feels unreal. People are coming out and actually know my tunes. I did a show in Brixton recently and was amazed when the crowd knew the words of the tracks line by line. It shocked me – these are songs I wrote in my kitchen or my bedroom and now people know them. That feels special and I feel elevated on this tour. It gives me purpose and drive. I’m excited to continue it and don’t come back to the UK til Sept.”

The journey seems to be just beginning, and it is one that Marla is looking forward to continuing.

“It’s only been two years and look at what has happened. Honestly, I feel so blessed. It doesn’t feel like work.”

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