'Kai Brown - Adsum ... and then some!'
On July 26th, Australian singer/songwriter Kai Brown will release his U.S. debut album, Better Now, on his own label, How Now Brown Cow Records.
Brown co-produced the album with Cary Pierce (Guster, Vertical Horizon, Evan & Jaron, Jack Ingram). Brown was also joined in the studio by members of the platinum-selling band, Vertical Horizon and The BoDeans.
Better Now, features 10 original tracks showcasing his sense of authenticity with a style that's rich with truth and reality. Brown's songs bring a raw, yet recognizable feel to listeners, as people can undoubtedly relate to the emotions experienced in what he sings about.
A native of Sydney, Australia, Brown honed his musical skills in a number of bands including fronting the highly successful Tommy Flowers. This debut solo album announces with certainty the arrival of a sincere and familiar artist whose cross-over into the U.S. market promises to bring an honest, authentic and timeless sound.
With the new album title being Better Now, I'm wondering when it wasn't so good for you? "Being an independent musician is never easy. Like any competitive industry it takes a lot of hard work and sacrifice. Coming to America and recording this album has been a dream come true for me but, on the flipside of that, it has taken a lot of sacrifice and a lot of amazing people believing in me to get to this stage. I felt by the end of the record, after all of the hard work that I had put in, a huge sense of accomplishment. “Better Now” just made sense to me."
Better Now is full of originals, but was there ever a temptation to put a cover on there? "I love cover songs. I never really thought about doing a cover for this album as I solely wanted to focus on recording original material. I am a big fan of re-working great songs, there is nothing like going back to the classics to keep you inspired. If you make it to one of my shows you’ll notice I cover an array of artists and I usually like to play a different cover song each night in my set. There is nothing like seeing a smile on someone’s face when you play something that’s familiar."
What other titles could this album have had? "I’ve never been a great guy for album titles so for the longest time it was going to be self-titled. I also had a name, Adsum, which is a lyric in one of my songs, “Can’t Live Without”. Adsum is Latin for “I am here, I am present”. I thought it was an interesting word when I came across it. I still love telling people about it."
Whatever happened to your first band The Tommy Flowers ... and was there ever any one by that name that you knew?! "I formed the Tommy Flowers in 1998 with a few friends. The band did pretty well touring around Australia, opening for some of Australia’s biggest bands: the Whitlams, Taxiride, and we did two Warped Tours. We released one single. However, at the end of the day, we had different goals and a different perspective on what we wanted to achieve in music. Tommy Flowers was a British civil servant who was one of the instigators in ending WWII. I saw a documentary on him and was truly inspired by such a humble and fascinating man. He never received the credit he deserved for his efforts so I really enjoy sharing his story."
Leaving Australia in 2004 and chancing your arm in the US was a huge move, but what finally made you go for it? "I think it was a combination of preparation and timing. I’d always wanted to move to America, ever since my first trip here in 1996. I was fascinated from day one with the sheer size and musical talent that exists here. I knew that if I wanted to push myself to the next level I would have to try my hand in America. I felt the time was right, after doing 18 months of research to find the right producer and demoing close to 50 songs for this album. It wasn’t a hard decision at all. I‘ve watched some of the people I admire the most sacrifice everything they have to try and achieve their goals. I definitely have the same attitude."
We know the best, but what's the worst that can come from this move here? "I don’t want to sound like a sap but, I’m learning that life is about the journey, not the destination. In my mind there is no ‘worst’. Every day is a learning experience and I just feel blessed to have this opportunity."
With all the new songs having come from personal experiences, which one comes to mind as being the one that truly represents the album concept? "I think my album conveys stories of relationships and the good and bad that come with human nature. I don’t think any one particular song represents any more than the other though on the relationship theme and lyrical originality I feel most proud of “Money and Love”."
Finally, please describe yourself in just three words! "Never give up!"
Interviewed by Russell A. Trunk
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