Artist: Autumn Brown, aka Suzu Reign
You performed March 29 at The Shop at New Grounds Roasting Co. How did that show happen? I got recommended to do a showcase back in February. There (were) a lot of different artists; a lot of different genres. Me and the deejay (who) put the event together - DJ Cashmire - he knows one of my friends. He hit me on
Facebook and (invited me to perform.) He gave me a 15-minute set. I got to tell a story with my music. It was really cool. Then, a couple days after the show (he asked) if we could so another showcase. We came up with this unplugged idea ... to showcase some local artists.
Are you hoping to make them regular events? Absolutely. It's really spearheaded by DJ Cashmire. He wants to do one of these events at least once a month. They've
already started doing open mike nights ... on Friday night where anybody can come. Once a month, they want to put on these really nice, well put together shows. If this is a success, hopefully they're going to let us continue.
Describe your sound and style. It's ... R&B mixed with neo soul, and it kind of taps into my gospel roots. It's very heartfelt. It's straight from experience. I kind of tell a story of love gained to love lost and finding your happiness again. I was raised in church, and so that's kind of where it all started for me. Trying to create a different sound for myself, I kind of found myself in this ... '90s R&B-type vibe that kind of works for me.
Are you originally from York? All of my family is from this area. I was born in Virginia and raised between there and here. My mother and father are high school sweethearts and graduated from (William Penn Senior High School). My father got into the military and moved to Virginia. That's where me and my brothers were born. I stayed there until I was about 10. Then we moved back here to York, and we've been kind of bouncing back and forth. All of my roots (are) here in York city. When I was in Virginia, I was more in the gospel market. I sang for a really big church there. Here, I've been moving into a slightly different direction.
Who were some of the artists you listened to? I listen to old artists. I love Billie Holiday. She's probably my favorite. I could listen to her all day. I like the simplicity that they had. Nowadays, with a lot of singers, they have all these riffs and runs and these tricks. I watched a lot of musicals growing up. Anything with a lot of singing and dancing and big band ... really drew me. As far as mainstream music, (I listened) to a lot of Destiny's Child, Alicia Keys ... Jill Scott, Musiq Soulchild (and) there's this gospel singer Kim Burrell who's phenomenal. I try to sing like her all the time, and I come up real short. But I still try. (Laughs)
Have you found a growing music scene in York? They've been doing a lot of events - like bringing in national artists and showcasing local artists to open up for (them). I think the artists are now starting to support other artists, which is also really awesome. That's another part of the showcase - just trying to bring all of these artists together ... to build up the music scene here. There is a well of talent here, and I think we don't push it hard enough. I come from a huge, talented family here. I'm just like, "come on, guys. We have to do something." They're trying to get more people out to ... make them aware of the talent that's here. Let's entertain our city. That's what we're here for.
What else is on the horizon for you? I'm actually doing some recording now. I want to put out a mixtape (which) is pretty much an album teaser just to kind of show people what you're capable of. You don't really sell mixtapes for profit. You pretty much put them out there so that people can hear what you have so when you do drop an album ... you have buzz (and) you have a fanbase. I want to put out a mixtape hopefully by the end of the summer called "Unsilenced." It's pretty much going to (introduce) Suzu Reign.
Are you collaborating with any local artists? I've been working with Kwame Katana. He's a local artist from York. I really want to work with my cousin ... Chantz Kacey and his brother J.K. There's another guy named Phene. I would really ... love to work with him. His music is very positive and inspirational. Then there is this other band ... called Islands Apart. I saw them at the showcase that I was at. They are just an all-instrumental band. They are amazing. I would love to do something with them.
- ERIN McCRACKEN,
About the name
York singer Autumn Brown said that her nickname used to be Princess, which she wasn't fond of. When Brown was creating her stage name, she wanted to play off the nickname by using a word that alluded to royalty. She selected "reign," which means to rule. Even though her name is Autumn, she was born in April. She found the traditional Japanese word "suzu." One of the word's translations is spring, fall child.
Suzu Reign: artistecard.com/suzureign
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