Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1084

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Feature

TRINA BROUSSARD: A LADY IN WAITING

Trina Broussard: 'Inside My Love'
Trina Broussard: 'Inside My Love' Trina Broussard Trina Broussard Trina Broussard

DATELINE 1998: It`s the height of the commercial hip hop/R&B era and one of the movement`s figureheads - multi-million-selling Atlanta super-producer/writer/label-head Jermaine Dupri - âdiscoversâ a talented, locally-based female singer/songwriter, with whom he decides to release a quality contemporary soul album for his thriving Sony-affiliated So So Def label- the artist in question is Trina Broussard.

She duly records her debut LP 'Inside My Love', which she largely produces herself while co-writing many of its songs with the likes of Jamey Jaz; Rahsaan Patterson; Alicia Keys; Puff Johnson; and Trey Lorenz⦠Promos of the finished album are serviced to press; unanimously favourable reviews follow⦠Yet, due to internal industry politics, at the eleventh hour the plug gets pulled and the record never gets officially released... Until spring 2008, that is. When - after a decade of promos of said LP exchanging hands for over 100 pounds - 'Inside My Love' finally gets its first-ever official release, through seasoned London soul indie Expansion Records. Cue a `B&S` transatlantic hook-up with a talkative Ms. Broussard herself.

âBack in October 2007 I did some shows as backing vocalist with (indie soul hero) Rahsaan Patterson at the Jazz Café in Londonâ, she begins: âAfter one of the shows Ralph Tee from Expansion Records approached me. He explained he`d put some of my songs out on compilations previously, and that there was a possibility he might now be able to release my So So Def album in its entirety. He asked me for my blessings and then, a couple of months later, he reached out to me, told me he`d worked everything out with Sony/BMG - and that the release was going ahead! Which I`m just really grateful for, `cause this album has sat on the shelf for 10 years! I mean, although a lot of people from the media were given promotional copies before Sony decided not to release it, that turned out to be a blessing and a curse at the same time! Because I actually discovered around two years ago that at one point it was going for around $500 on e-bay! You know, really pricey.â

Interestingly, Trina feels the live musicianship and timeless quality of 'Inside My Love' is reflective of her own family upbringing: âI come from a very musically inclined family. I`ve been around music all my lifeâ, she explains patiently: âMy mother sings and plays piano; my father plays guitar; my siblings are involved in music; my grandmother was a minister of music at her church for over 30 years; my grandfather played the keyboards and sang the blues... You know, as a kid I grew up watching my parents rehearse in our garage with a 16-piece band - everything from percussions to Fender Rhodes to horns to Hammond organ. So I just wanted to record an album which, in my opinion, connected with my background by having those organic elements. Because, though I do understand music has to evolve, I personally have always loved the true musicianship involved in using real instruments. I basically wanted to make a timeless album that would never sound old. And I just thank God that my effort was successful. In that, 10 years later, people are still requesting it, and people are still liking it. Even those people who are hearing it for the first time are appreciating it as if it had just come out new this year.â

Although born and raised in Houston, Texas, it was after relocating to Atlanta, Georgia in 1990 that Trina first began pursuing a music career. When, within less than two months, the new-girl-in-town had wooed some of the biggest names in R&B with her vocal talent: âAt that time Atlanta was booming as far as the music industry was concernedâ, she recalls: âL.A. & Babyface had just formed LaFace Records there; Bobby Brown was moving there⦠And, less, than a month after me moving there, I was asked to go out on the road with Bobby Brown! So at my first major professional gig EVER I was singing onstage to 30,000-plus screaming Bobby Brown fans in Japan at a show that also featured Whitney Houston and Reba McIntyre! And that in turn helped me to connect with so many other people. I was suddenly doing background vocals and studio sessions for Pebbles, Babyface... And then I eventually met (Nineties R&B crooner) Trey Lorenz, who helped me put my first demo together. With him being signed to So So Def at that time, Trey ended up giving Jermaine (Dupri) my demo... And shortly after that Jermaine signed me, and I recorded the 'Inside My Love' album.â

With Trina having since gone on to release an acclaimed, yet relatively-unsuccessful, album for Motown in 2004 ('Same Girl'), she is currently (amidst fulfilling backing vocal chores for superstars like Jennifer Lopez and Beyonce) putting the finishing touches to her third album 'Life Of A Libra', which she intends to release independently in autumn 2008: âI think 'Life Of A Libra' will basically represent my story. In that it gives you an opportunity to see the different sides of me and the different traits of who I am as a Libra. It talks about the celebration of womanhood, manhood, liberation, self-forgiveness... Vocally, I think I`ve improved, while my writing has definitely broadened a lot. You know, anybody who knows me will know that I`m a chameleon. And 'Life O A Libra' will definitely expose some sides of Trina you`ve never seen before!â

The album 'Inside My Love' is out now through Expansion...

By clicking on Expansion Records banner get this sublime album at a special one time only price (other offers available also)
Words PETE LEWIS

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