BRIJOLIE: From musical theater to Kanye’s Sunday Service Choir to independent artist
BriJolie is a multi-talented Texas born and Los Angeles based singer, songwriter, dancer, and the list goes on. In fact, to make it easier, it’s best to refer to her as “a creative”, because that’s exactly what she is. Creative.
Judging from the maturity of her voice and the clarity of her thought process, you’d think that she’d been preparing for a career as a recording artist her entire life but that’s not the case.
Musical theatre was actually her first foray into the entertainment business. “When I was a kid, my mom found sheet music and taught me this song (“The Greatest Love of All” by Whitney Houston), even though she couldn’t read music, she actually did it. I went to an audition, sang the song and did a scene from the film “Matilda”. I didn’t even have a real monologue; I just memorized lines and I played like three different roles. It was so funny!” (There’s no video evidence of this audition…I want to see it).
Bri reveals that she didn’t begin focusing seriously on music until she was a student at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB). “I’d been around music my whole life but I really didn’t begin to embrace it until my college years.” As a member of the world renowned UAPB Vesper Choir she learned different genres and musical techniques. However, she still didn’t really consider a career as a singer.
Upon graduating from UAPB with a Mass Communications/Broadcast Journalism degree in tow, she moved to Los Angeles with the initial goal of working in radio. She soon set her sights on a career in the lucrative public relations game. “I applied at so many agencies in LA but I got nothing. I eventually gained work as a freelancer but I still wasn’t being paid what I deserved.”
“When my mom got sick, I began to look at life from a completely different perspective. One day, something inside clicked and said, ‘It’s time to do what you have a passion for.”
She worked in several different capacities before securing a job performing during the holiday season at Disneyland with “The Sounds”, a popular acapella group that performs holiday classics. “It all just started to align. I applied for so many other opportunities and absolutely nothing seemed to really feel right, unless it had something to do with music.”
Kanye West’s Sunday Service Choir
This alignment of energy continued and led to her gaining the chance to sing as a member of Kanye West’s Sunday Service Choir. It started as a very lowkey gig but as you may know, Sunday Service eventually grew to be one of the largest movements of 2019. BriJolie describes it as, “such a beautiful experience”. When questioned on what it was like working with Kanye West, she says, “[Working with him] was such a dope experience and something I honestly never imagined doing. It motivated me so much as an artist!”
As a member of the choir she was able to travel coast-to-coast and even traveled abroad to Jamaica and Paris. “It was all a blessing. Everyone I worked with was so cool and talented, such great energy!”
2019 was a busy year for Bri! In addition to her work with the Sunday Service Choir, she found time to record and release her first single, “Playground”. She described the entire experience as feeling completely natural. It was at this point that she truly felt inspired to take complete ownership of her unique musical ability.
She soon followed up with “Pressure”, a catchy single letting her partner know what’s up: “Ima gon’ and put that pressure on you, real nice. Before you leave me, you gon’ have to think twice. You not gon’ find another me, cuz I’m the real thing, I’m the best you ever had and there ain’t no in between. The song is accompanied by an incredibly well produced video featuring BriJolie driving a vintage Mercedes coupe through the California desert into the sunset.
Her most recent single, “Truth Is” was released earlier this year and it’s a bop. It’s one of those songs that could easily fit right in on any episode of the hit show “Insecure” (What’s up Issa Rae and Raphael Saadiq?!). The song deals with erasing the gray area that sometimes exists between the friend-zone and a deeper relationship. The project was very personal, as she co-wrote it with one of her closest friends, singer and songwriter DeLano Jacque’z.
Bri is currently in the process of completing her next project, “From Me to Me”, which is scheduled to be released on August 27. It will contain 6 or 7 songs and will include features from a few artists she met at UAPB.
“This project will be a variety of songs and will display the many different parts of who I am. I just care about people relating to my music. I make music that feels good to me and I hope it does the same for others.”
If it’s anything like her other work, it’s guaranteed to be a vibe.
“I’m in a different space with everything currently going on (e.g., the global pandemic, etc.). These days it’s so easy to have literally everything stripped away from you so it’s all about tapping into yourself, your power and seeing what all you can do in different parts of this world.”
As you probably guessed, she plans to keep perfecting her craft and releasing more music.
“I’m super relentless when it comes to my dreams and I don’t plan on stopping, ever. I put my art out and don’t worry about it.”
BriJolie is making a name for herself by creating her art, her way. We love to see it!
Keep up with BriJolie by following her on Instagram and also stream her music!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mel Clayton is a native of Pine Bluff, AR and an alumnus of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and the University of Arkansas-Clinton School of Public Service. He went to law school for a semester and a half at the University of Arkansas but he hated that shit.
Mel is an avid lover of music and has dedicated his life to sharing authentic Black stories and experiences through his research and writing. He hopes that everyone who reads his publications will be impacted on a spiritual level.
He lives his life according to the mantra, “Trust yourself and follow the energy.”
Instagram: @melclayton_92 | Twitter: @melvindc1