(I Just Want To Feel Alright (LIVE) – Brian Owens)
Brian’s first major release, “Moods & Messages,” is a self-proclaimed soundtrack to his journey as a soul artist. With the backing of St. Louis-based Destin 2b1 Records and distribution through New York-based BDG/RED, a Division of Sony Music Entertainment, Owens says, “Moods & Messages is about balancing out how we feel and what we give out to the world in terms of feelings. These feelings often conflict, but you have to choose what your life will say, despite how you feel… It’s about making choices.”
“Moods & Messages” was released on September 26, 2012 Japan-wide. Get to know more about Brian and his powerful music.
Q1. Can you introduce yourself and your music to the soul music lovers here in Japan, including a brief overview of your career so far?
A1. his is American Soul Artist Brian Owens and I am very excited to be sharing my music with the people of Japan. I live in St. Louis, MO. Like most American Soul singers, I’m a church kid and got my start singing in traditional gospel music in quartet style. I was raised on Sam Cooke and Soul Stirrers among other great soul vocalist with a gospel background. I’ve was introduced to the music of Nat King Cole at age 13 which began my love affair with American popular song and jazz standards. At 16 I started fronting top 40 bands in the St. Louis area, cutting my chops on Ben E. King, Marvin Gaye, Sam and Dave and the Temptations.
Q2. How and when did you know you wanted to record soul music?
A2. I have recorded about 5 albums and have always performed soul music but this album is what I would consider my first real soul offering.
Q3. Can you explain to me in detail how your songwriting is done? For example, is it made during sessions with the band? What inspires you most to write?
A3. I don’t have a set writing style. I tend to jot down ideas, both melodic and lyrical, over time and begin to piece them together as I am inspired to do so. This process is typically a party of one so to speak but I have recently begun to collaborate with a good friend of mine who is a very talented songwriter. I am generally inspired by my surroundings, circumstances filtered through a faith based worldview. For example, my wife and our relationship is one of my most cherished influences.
Q4. Can you tell us a bit about the city you are currently living and the influence it has on your music style if any?
A4. I currently live in St. Louis and it has definitely had and effect on the music. St. Louis has a rich musical history with regards to blues, jazz. Rock n roll and gospel music. These root styles run deep in the sensibility and vibe of our brand of soul music, which relies heavily on the traditional music of the black church and its counterparts.
Q5. How do you describe your music to people (who have never heard your music before)?
A5. AMERICAN SOUL. Nothing more, nothing less!!!
Q6. Tell us about your album, “Moods & Messages,” the individuals you worked closely with, and how long it took to record?
A6. Moods and Messages is a musical snapshot of my life experiences up to this point. It expresses the pains and joys of life, family and faith. I am very excited to share the stories and messages of this album. The album was entirely produced and recorded here in St. Louis with Shock City Studios and was co-produced and Tony Esterly, who also was engineer and lead guitar and Chris Loesch. It took us roughly 3 months from start to finish. It was a great experience!
Q7. In your bio I read, “Raised in St. Louis, his music reflects a city infused with blues, soul and funk, resulting in a style that is distinctly his own, yet reminiscent of artists like Marvin Gaye, Al Green, and Otis Redding, who laid the foundation for Grammy Award winning, R&B soul artists like D’Angelo, Maxwell and Raphael Saadiq.” Can you tell me if you are personally influenced by these artists, and if there is any part of your album influenced by one of these artists?
A7. Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Otis Redding, Curtis Mayfield and Sam Cooke heavily influence me. I have studied these artist and musicians like most classical musicians study Bach and Beethoven. The influence of these artists is quite evident though out the recording.
Q8. I read an article from a St. Louis-based website which spoke about you moving away from jazz with this soul album. Can you tell me a bit about your time performing around St. Louis in the jazz circuit?
A8. In college, Jazz performance was my main focus. For a while, I was mentored by the legendary Dianne Reeves and would often play The St. Louis Jazz at the Bistro and perform with artist like Peter Martin (pianist, Dianne Reeves).
Q9. Could you recommend to me a couple of songs from your album and tell me why you recommended those songs.
A9. “I Just Want to Feel Alright” is a powerful song that is the quintessential soul tune in both music aesthetic and lyrical content. Other songs that really speak to me are “Oh I,” “Trouble Man” and “The Answer,” which features my greatest musical influence, my father on lead vocals.
Q10. Do you know or listen to any Japanese artists?
A10. I do not but now that my album is done I can get back to actually discovering music. Got any suggestions for me?
Q11. How does it feel to have music released in Japan? And do you have a message for the soul music lovers of Japan who will listen to your music?
A11. I am over the moon excited about releasing in Japan. I am humbled that this music will travel so far a distance but hopefully it will one again remind us of how close we all really are, especially when it comes to the expression of the soul! Enjoy and be encouraged!!!