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The growing popularity of Black music is unstoppable. New Black artists are expanding the scope of the Black music genre by mixing elements of various music styles with beautiful lyrics. One of these new generations of artists is Triston Brewer, an African-American who left the US for Europe and now resides in Berlin . AFRITOPIC had an interesting chat with Triston in Berlin .
 

Afritopic: When did you develop interest in music?

Triston: I was interested in classical music and wanted to sing opera. As a youngster, I participated in children singing competition, in which I was the only Black that sung opera. Initially, I chose classical music as my major in college. Later, I was advised to drop the subject as a major. The argument was that there are more opportunities in other music areas than in the classical music for Blacks in the USA . After college, I decided to move in the direction of what I like doing. I got engagements with different theatre groups, in which I did more of acting than singing. In order to begin my career as a musician and vocalist, I moved to the east coast where I joined Hip Hop groups as a singer. I later moved to the west coast, got a contract with an independent music label and started singing for Rap and Rock groups. By working with diverse music groups, I was able to gain experience both as lyricist and vocalist. I was also able to work with people with diverse music backgrounds in many states in the US . But I wanted more. So, I decided to travel to Europe .

Afritopic: You decided to travel to and work in Europe ? How was your experience preparing for and on arriving in Europe ?   

Triston: My decision to travel to Europe involved some preparation. I went through the procedure of applying for and obtaining entry visa to Europe . I checked for accommodation possibilities for the duration of my stay there. Moreover, I had to give up the contract with the music label for an environment that I am not very familiar with. Some of my friends expressed their concern and were of the opinion that I was taking too much risk. Looking back today, I never regretted taking the decision. Despite all the risks, uncertainties and difficulties that I experienced, I would do it all over again if I were in the same situation. On arriving in Europe , I visited some countries and eventually stayed to work in Barcelona , Spain . In Spain , I performed at various events and built up contacts within the local music scene. Unfortunately, I had to leave Spain . Some people from the Middle East living in Spain started rioting and attacking Americans when the US started war against Iraq . I was also attacked. I realized that the antagonism against Americans was growing and my life could be in danger.    continue>

 
 
 
 
 
Triston Brewer
 
I thought of moving either to Britain or Germany . I made up my mind to leave for Germany . Germany , next to Britain , has a big market for Black music, I believe. In Germany , I got in contact with an American, who was the proprietor of a Jazz club in Stuttgart called Logo. I performed in the Jazz club for a while before forming my own band after four months in Europe . With my own band, I started creating and experimenting with my own type of music.
 

Afritopic: Why did you choose to stay in Spain ?

Triston: I attended Greenhill, which is one of the best private schools in Dallas , Texas . Foreign languages were taught at early stage and I learnt Spanish. My knowledge of the language helped me later when I came to Europe and stayed in Spain for a while. Though the people spoke with local accent and tone that were not familiar to me, I could understand them and make myself understandable within a short period of time. I try to learn the language spoken in the country where I live. I am now learning the German language because I am living in Germany .

Afritopic: As an African-American living now in Europe, which differences do see between Europe and the USA ?

Triston: There are a lot of differences between Europe and the USA regarding the music scene and the attitude of the people to Black music, artists and people of African descent in general. In the USA , people of colour are seen as Blacks irrespective of their places of origin. The skin colour is a big issue in my country, the USA . In Europe , though I am more aware of my colour than in the US , the people I have met were usually interested to know where I come from. They tried to engage in conversations with me and showed interest in my work as a music artist; I am not seen as just “Black”. Another difference between Europe and the US is in the music business. Generally speaking, the Europeans tend to adhere longer to a music style and keep the loyalty to their favourite music stars. Black music in Germany is already a big market and it continues to grow. There are opportunities for new artists. Black music including Rap and Hip Hop is trendy. However, the TV music channels portray a one-sided image of African-Americans. Due to the music videos, many people in Germany believe that all African-Americans are from the Ghettos, uneducated, wearing baggies and speaking only ghetto slang or the Rap/Hip Hop English. This is a wrong image projection. A high percentage of African-Americans are well educated and speak excellent English. I am happy of what Blacks have achieved in the music industry and the impact of Rap/Hip hop on the fashion business. It is also nice to see young people all over Europe fascinated by the Hip Hop fashion and buy them. But they should understand that a Black music artist does not necessarily have to be born and grow up in the ghettos. As I mentioned earlier, I went to one of the best schools in Texas and have a very good college education. I do not have to change my profile in order to be successful as a music artist. I do not have to change my lifestyle or taste for fashion. It is important for me to be myself and be at peace with myself. This is my philosophy.    continue>

 
Triston Brewer  performing live
 
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Afritopic: The music business is tough and highly competitive. How do you cope with rejections and disappointments?

Triston: I have gone through various personal and family problems in my life. Some of these problems are so critical, that I would not wish anyone including my worst enemies to experience them. I have been able to resolve and survive all the problems. Now I am focused on my music. I am motivated to write and compose songs. Most of my lyrics are from my personal experience, feelings and the way I perceive things. I am aware that it is not easy to be successful as an artist. Most music artists can not make a living from their music. Like in any other professions, most music artists have to take rejections. In fact everyone has to take rejection in one form or the other. Whenever I am rejected by a producer or someone in the music business, I do not sink into depression. I simply look for another opportunity. I am ready to take rejections. Rejections do not make me give up. If you give up on yourself, you cannot expect other people to believe in you. Though, I never knew my biological father, but in my family I was brought up to believe in myself. And I believe in myself, in my talent as well as my competence. I also listen to people’s opinion and what they say about me and my music. By listening to people, I learn more about myself and people’s perception about me. It is quite interesting that I get to know different aspects of America and African-Americans through discussions with people here in Europe .

 

Triston Brewer about to perform
 

Afritopic: How optimistic are you about achieving your goal?

Triston: I know what I want and what I do not want. I want to be a music artist and I am determined to be successful in my own way. When I talk about success, I am not talking in terms of huge financial or material success. It is about being happy with my work and having people accept my music and acknowledge my talent. I am happy to meet different people from diverse backgrounds and learn new things almost daily. I feel I am in a multicultural society that is not divided simply into Black and White communities. This is where I want to be. In a couple of years from now, I see myself performing on stages in Africa , Scandinavian countries, Asia and the rest of the world. I am on the right track now. I am optimistic about achieving my goal. 

 

Afritopic: How would you profile yourself in your own words?

Triston: “Known for his explosive lyric delivery and booty shaking beats, electro-soul singer/songwriter Triston Brewer has earned a cult following at performances throughout west Germany . This experience moving crowds in clubs shines on Triston´s second solo effort, ``Believe in Music``, on Low Sky Records. Produced by Düsseldorf-based producer DJ Digolo, ``Believe in Music`` butters Triston`s lush soul vocals over Digolo´s electro-house beats. Triston´s delivery and lyrics on the new album are peppered with elements of house, R&B, rock, and hip-hop but with themes of revenge, survival, lust and heartbreak he turns electro into soul.      continue>

 
 
 
 
 

The title track, ``Believe in Music``, was a BeSonic number one hit on the house charts for several weeks. An autobiographical song about the power of music to heal and inspire, it combines sad keyboards with a beat that pulls us along. Triston´s crooning echoes blues legends as he begs the listener to understand that the music saved his soul. ``Groove Theory`` is a hot and sweaty track that is destined to be a club anthem. The dizzying drone of the organ mixed with Triston´s distant vocals describe a steamy scene of rising temperatures, instant attraction, and the decision to follow the desires of lust. ``Revenge`` is an open letter to a departed lover declaring that success over rejection is the ultimate victory.

 

Always on the search for another musical challenge, Triston moved to Germany in the fall of 2003 to experiment with house and electro. Shortly after meeting DJ Digolo in Düsseldorf, the two began a whirlwind of collaborations which culminated in their first album together, ``Soul House Sessions`` and the launch of their new record label, Low Sky Entertainment. ``Soul House Sessions`` traces Triston`s musical roots beginning with traditional R&B, moving through house and hip-hop to end up with light jazz intonations. ``Soul House Sessions`` exploded with live performances around west Germany . Following quickly on the heels of the success of ``Soul House Sessions``, the duo recorded ``Believe in Music`` in April 2004.

Fall 2004 has Triston once again in a city open to his eclectic style as he seeks to carve a space in the Berlin music scene. Triston plans to continue defining

the electro-soul sound in the forthcoming single ``Shattered``. He hopes to collaborate with other innovative artists in Berlin as well as write for and produce other ground-breaking artists.“     Afritopic

 
 
 
 
 
 

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