Alabama Shakes have spent the last year and a half touring around the world, making appearances in important national TV shows like Saturday Night Live and cheering the audiences of the best festivals in the planet. One of those phenomenon that just happen once in a while and get a well-deserved recognition.
It’s also one of our top artists here in Rockast. We talked about them last year and we also assisted to their explosive gig in Madrid.
Tonite we have the chance to talk to Brittany Howard to know her impressions of the tour, the festivals and their quick rise to the top.
You’ve had 3 Grammy Nominations, appeared in Saturday Night Live, played important festivals and shows like Red Rocks in Colorado… I don’t know if I should ask a question here or just let you finish the sentence… But when was the exact moment you did realize this whole thing was really happening?
I think I’m still realizing! It has all been pretty amazing. The first big moment was about 2 years ago when we quit our jobs and went on the road, that was a huge step and I wasn’t quite sure it would all work out at the time but luckily it has so far. Now I’m still in awe every time something big happens like the Grammys or SNL or playing Red Rocks, I feel pretty blessed to have had all these opportunities.
Boys & Girls reached #1 in the UK Official Record Store chart, along with another 7 independent label bands in the Top 10. On the mainstream chart, it was just you and Adele though. Do you reckon people, especially young people are actually willing to open their minds and get to listen sounds their not used to listen on the mainstream?
I think people are discovering music in a lot of new ways now which opens the doors for new things and bands that aren’t necessarily a considered a “mainstream band” now have more opportunities to get noticed.
I’ve heard you had some good advice from a music icon, as it’s Robert Plant. Is that true? Could you share with us what was that advice?
He came to a show in Nashville once and was very nice, he didn’t really give us advice but we did get to talk a bit and it was a huge honor for him to come and watch us play.
Also, what would be actually your advice for those many upcoming bands that normally play at pubs and struggle to get some recognition? Is there any secret for success?
I dont know of any secrets but I would say to just keep doing you’re thing, stay true to your beliefs, work hard and you never know!
I’m sure there are lots of pros but is there any con of being in Alabama Shakes?
Being away from home so much. I always miss my home, family, friends and cat.
“I’m just doing my thing and not really trying to be someone else”
I guess playing Glasto, Hyde Park Calling and these huge festivals got you to know some famous artists. What have been your impressions so far? Were you expecting anyone to be different as the persons you met?
For the most part pretty much everyone I’ve met that I am a big fan of has been really friendly. I guess I’m lucky in that I have a lot of very nice idols.
Did you finally get to meet Springsteen in London?
We actually got to meet him at the Grammy’s. We played a charity event for Music Cares the night before and they were honoring Bruce this past year so we got to do a cover of “Adam Raised A Cain” with him in the audience. It was a really fun event.
I’ve seen you play with a Robbie Kriegger’s Gibson SG, a Fender Statocaster, an Epiphone Sheraton II (not sure about this one actually) etc… Do you have any favorite instruments which you try to always play with?
I love guitars, I’m always checking out new stuff but my main go to is the SG.
We’re very excited of your visit to Spain and really looking forward your gig in Barcelona. But for those who haven’t seen you yet, what can they expect from your show?
A wild time! We are really excited to return to Spain, we had so much fun last year. For the most part we will be doing most the songs off of Boys & Girls plus a few new songs we’ve been working on. We tend to bring a lot of emotion and electricity to our live set and if the audience is into it and gives us a lot of love at the right times we will return it.
Brittany has been compared to Nina Simone, Tina Turner or Amy Winehouse, but if you had to choose your favorite one, who would you choose?
Im really just doing my thing and not really trying to be someone else. All three though are big influences for me though, I would probably also include Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Otis Redding and Bon Scott to your list.
Which Alabama bands or artists would you recommend our readers shouldn’t miss?
Right now I really love Fly Golden Eagle, Clear Plastic Masks (from Nashville) and Hurray For The Riff Raff (from New Orleans).
Do you like spanish music? Did you listen the record from Ál Carmona we gave you during your visit last year?
Yes thank you! I love new music.
And last question. Are you happy?