Independence Day weekend in Atlantic City began early with the opener pumping heavy tunes before noon. DJ Luap, and later direct support from NIICK and Guiliano Presta, the music could be heard from quite a distance in every direction from the beach club. Bass and beats pumped, drawing in the crowd and readying anyone in earshot for a live AF set from one special headliner.
Brazzabelle and I stepped outside, faintly hearing a booming bass, and looking for a place to sit. I had prepped just a few questions, done my research, and saved the fangirl for later.
The interview took eleven minutes to record.
In that eleven minutes, we grew to understand each other, maybe even became friends. I should have looked at her as we walked from the hotel to the venue to say that I thought this was the beginning of a beautiful friendship. We made our way down the boardwalk, under clearish skies, onto the beach and into the club. We were escorted to the tables and couches directly next to the stage, where we sat and chatted some more.
Hearing her music for the first time is something like culture shock, or maybe it’s merely the unexpectedness of her sound — certainly reflective of her inner beast. When asked if she made club music, I got an immediate and avid yes. You need to have an understanding of club music, though. Otherwise, it is just EDM to you. Titles and genres can be something of a joke, but only if you are in on it. Like the fact that Brazzabelle changed her Soundcloud to ‘I make club music,’ in case people were confused.
Brazzabelle aka Boots, grew up in Arizona, where her parents banned television in their household, after a national no TV week. Somewhere around 14, maybe younger. Young adolescence, when no one drove yet, so she couldn’t go see her friends. Lucky for her computers and video games were excluded from the ban. She always was into technology and techy stuff, plus a vested interest in dance music, which helped shape her young years of music production experimentation. This interest influenced her to start making basic beats, which her friends also did. As amateurs, they would share sounds with each other.
It matters little that she was far from the producer she’d become. What does matter, is this young girl, yung Brazzabelle, who started listening to dance music at 11, was making beats just a few years later.
She couldn’t simply run off to Europe where every kid could become a DJ at 16, and the idea of making music fizzled almost to nothingness.
It wasn’t until studying abroad in Barcelona, that the idea of DJ/production returned. Passion, that was considered faded resurfaced, a rediscovery caused reimagination, and the reinvention that led to the development of the Brazzabelle we fan over today.
Music gets in your bones and blood. It never leaves.
Brazzabelle has since evolved as an artist and a person, into this breathe of fresh air. She embodies a musician and an artist, unafraid to take risks or be bold. Even brazen is her nickname Boots, bestowed upon her by a wild shoe collection. Judging the Boots by her cover would never invoke the image of a tomboy, especially not donned so festively, wearing a sequins top and swirly red skirt. Her shoes were characteristically crazy, but in a daring and sexy way.
Although the aesthetic says supermodel, Brazzabelle’s presence suggests power and strength. Widely smiling and enthusiastically dancing during her set, she exuded an internal and external greatness, both firm in character and bound for bigger things. Disaffected by politics and stereotypes, she doesn’t necessarily identify herself as an avid feminist, but all that she
represents for women speaks for itself.
Down to earth, humble, and so talented. Boy, can she spin some fire tunes. There is no denying her club style. Favorite moment in the set was when Brazzabelle dropped Beyonce’s, “Say My Name.” I danced so hard all over the sandy dance fl
oor that was really just a piece of the beach turned club. The atmosphere and scenery were perfect.
Dance music was Brazabelle’s first love; it is at the core of her being. Her hip hop influence came later in life, but also made a happy home inside her soul and has been there ever since. We can hear these things in her sets, mixes, remixes, and original tunes.
Boots embraces her individuality, not defined specifically by one thing or another. She doesn’t get caught up in the elitist, confining ideas of being stuck to just one genre. She’d rather play them all, have her music represent every type of noise, and play those noises in as many ways as possible.
Brazzabelle breaks down this whole genre thing for us pretty well:
“Well here is the thing that I think about genre is that there are so many producers now that basically ok you know Kygo will come out with his flute sound, and Oliver Heldens will come out with his drop sounds and then what happens is all of the sample packs and presets and VSTs will copy, and then all these producers will just their sound…So when you used to be known for a sound and have a signature sound, then everyone will use it.”
As if we just asked the Magic 8 Ball about the future of music, and when we turned the thing over after spinning it however many times, it told us ‘outlook not good.’ Even with the dismal forecast, Brazzabelle maintains originality and integrity. She thinks mixing everything that is out there is how you get a sound that is really cool and original.
Original, like the way that homegirl answers questions, with atypical answers that are sensible and containing conviction. It is for that reason that she has gained so much respect in her role.
Ravercise is the name of her regular mix series. The most recent episode, five, is straight fire. In it, Bare introduces their new collaboration called “Addicted,” featuring stupid flow by female rapper She’s Ryan. As Brazzabelle says, ‘She killed it.’ It’s unreleased, so you have to listen to the mix to hear the song. Bare speaks softly introducing the track, but there is nothing soft about lyricist She’s Ryan. The versatility in that track alone speaks volumes to the type of artist that is Brazzabelle.
She is on the edge of the cutting edge. Yet all of these revolutionary, evolutionary happenings are also throwbacks. This stuff is all heavily rooted in dance music’s beginnings.
Her manager recently linked her up with Brazilian producer Leo Justi. Brazzabelle called his stuff tight, explaining about his record label and genre called Heavy Baile, that is a play on baile funk. They’re making a track together, and as their world’s collide, we can only hope that ours do too. Making these connections and establishing this type of camaraderie among musicians is important, especially on the global front. Brazzabelle is keen to this, and takes time to get to know the players that will spread dance music to all the right people and place, keep it alive and let it keep us alive. Plus, she is very into tropical bass sound. That is not to say tropical house, for clarification. We are talking about Baile Funk and Dancehall, Brazilian trap and twerk music.
When Brazzabelle was 11, and still aspiring to be what she is now, the face of the music industry existed in a more physical fashion. No flash drives, no music blogs. People had to go to record stores to find new music, and also they had to read music magazines to get their news. Her friends didn’t listen to dance music, nor did they go to raves. She would frequent a Virgin Records Store, and visit to the magazine section. She remembers seeing female DJ on the cover, and she bought the magazine. It was in this moment that a young lady found her first female role model. It was then that she sincerely stated that it would make her feel great to be that role model for somebody else.
We might not be in the same field in this industry, but just as she did, I look up to those women finding their niche and becoming success stories. Especially those that aren’t broken by inequalities that some find impossible to overcome. This beautiful person known as Brazzabelle looks right past them, and just keeps following her dreams.
We’re looking up at you, Brazzabelle. Hope it feels great to be someone’s role model.
Check out her newest remix, a Madonna bootleg and free download that is getting deserved support from all over, and stay tuned for all the nu nu Brazzabelle plans to throw your way.
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