Age 26 Hometown: Oakland, Ca
Lives In North Hollywood, Ca
Past Bands Scarlett Fever (too many to name!)
Current Bands DDMC, IN4D
Day Job Photographer, Producer, Musician, drum instructor
Fav Food NACHOS!
In a word Brittany Brooks, the powerhouse drummer behind the sizzling beats in Scarlett Fever, the all-gal band backing Cee Lo Green is nothing short of amazing! At 26 she’s already opened for megastars like Prince while touring with superstar himself, Cee Lo Green around the U.S and Europe. She’s also worked with upcoming Los Angeles rap and hip hop artists in addition to working on her own exciting side projects. She is a girl who likes to dream and dream big! But perhaps the rarest quality of Brittany is what fuels her passion, which is her innate awareness that making a life in music has always been her destiny.
As a young girl and an enthusiastic member of Faith Worship Center in Pittsburg California, Brittany became active in the music department at the church and soon found herself behind a drum kit. For her, a weaving of love from her faith and a desire in her heart is what pulled her toward the instrument. “It really was just a desire that God placed in my heart.” Brooks explains. “At the time I wasn’t familiar with any famous drummers when I started playing. Our church drummer Angel Carrillo was the only drummer I knew of and he ended up being a huge part in my early days.” Dubbed “Little Shelia E” by her peers in church Brittany embraced her new found love while looking up to great drummers like Sheila E. “Sheila E gave direction to my goals and aspirations to become a professional musician.”
Riding on the wings of those dreams with Brittany’s was her family. “My family has always been very supportive of anything I’ve ever wanted to take a stab at.” Brook says. “Before music I was an athlete and played various sports and was good at them so when I took an interest in music there was no hesitation on my parent’s behalf. I don’t remember their initial response to me wanting to play drums . . . they probably laughed at me because I was so small and I wanted to play the largest instrument.” She smiles. “But they went with it and one day after some time of me showing them I could do it I came home and there it was. My very first drum set! I am so thankful I have parents who let me discover my passion.”
In sixth grade Brooks was fiercely determined to master her craft. With the help of her mentor Angel Carrillo, she soon found herself drumming for her Jr. High School band and then going on to drum for Pittsburg High School. She gained skill by watching other drummers and learned to play by ear which strengthened her confidence. By merging the elements of swing and funk as well as what she liked in other drummers, Brooks began tweaking and creating her own style.
The hard work paid off. After a bold move to Los Angeles to study at the Musicians Institute in Hollywood, Brooks auditioned in early 2010 for Scarlett Fever; Cee Lo Green’s all star group of sexy women backing him for his promotional tour. “I had heard about the audition from a friend of mine and went. Cee Lo was there for the auditions and although there were others who auditioned after me Cee Lo leaned over and whispered that I got the job.” Soon Scarlett Fever was formed and the ladies all met for the first time and bonded immediately. “All the ladies of Scarlett Fever are very talented, real musicians who can hold their own on a stage full of dudes.” Brooks says jokingly. “The fact that Cee Lo chose me as his drummer I knew he was looking for real musicians so anyone else he would have chosen to accompany me would have had to be equal or better.”
Working with Cee Lo and rehearsing with Scarlett Fever was a natural transition. “Cee Lo is a true artist who knows exactly what he wants in his live performances. He is very involved in every aspect of the show and although he is the mastermind, he understands that we are artists too and he welcomes new stuff.” She soon buckled herself in for the ride of her life and began touring and traveling the world. “I love road life!” She beams. “I love traveling, getting to see the world, doing what I love doing and getting paid for it.”
Having already fulfilled personal dreams as playing on the same bill with Prince, Brooks continues to reach for the stars. Her career on drums has armed her with the skills to work in a tough music industry. “It’s a risky business to be in.” Brooks describes. “It is very competitive and I don’t think everyone is cut out for the level of rejection, phoniness and uncertainty that you can face being in the music and entertainment world. My approach to this business has nothing to do with the business itself. I just continue to trust God and pray that He places me in the right situation.” She’s also interested in becoming a producer. “My love for music inspires me and I love being in creative places and the challenges of making something that’s never been made before drives me. To me, producing is similar to my approach on drums because I’m always trying to try something new on the set. Lately, I have really been focusing on building my producing chops by mostly exploring and teaching myself. I am really surprising myself with my outcomes!”
With hopes to produce music for artist like Rhianna and Alicia Keys, Brooks continues to chip away creatively and explore new paths. She has two hot new music projects in the works. One includes Scarlett Fever’s Sharon Aguilar and Theresa Flaminio and singer Brit Burton (songwriter of the hit “Elephant in the Room”) called IN4D. They have recorded a podcast for Blue Microphones which included two live recordings of original songs and an interview for the subscribers. And if that doesn’t keep her busy she’s got one more project called DDMC (Dj, Drummer, MC) consisting of DJ K-La-V and rapper Liberty Jayne.
Brittany Brooks is a woman of determination, faith, skill and intelligence. Her star is certain to shine alongside all the other talented stars in the near future.
By Jen Ruano
Photos courtesy of Brittany Brooks
Illustration by Kelly Abeln