VERA, Jennifer Brown's third album saw this multi-talented artist step to the left of her previous releases of smooth soul and r&b flavours. Jennifer co-wrote all the songs on the album with Billy Mann (Carole King, Chaka Khan, Robyn, Diana King) and brought a whole new sound and style to her music.
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VERA heralded a new dimension to Jennifer Brown and was embraced by fans and critics alike. Selling GOLD in Sweden, she went on to win Best Female at the prestigious Swedish Grammy Awards last year for the album. She enjoyed a Top 5 European radio smash with the first single "Tuesday Afternoon", an equally impressive hit with "Alive" that followed and rave reviews for the album across the globe. Jennifer was also nominated for Best Nordic Artist at MTV Europe's Music Awards in Dublin.
Jennifer released her first single, the wonderfully infectious "Heaven Come Down" in 1993. The single flew to the top of the charts in Sweden and Jennifer Brown became a household name overnight.
In 1994 she released her debut album, "Giving You The Best", a collection of superbly-crafted songs which Jennifer perfected with her stunning vocal talents to critical acclaim. The album also included a surprise guest appearance by Lenny Kravitz, "My Everything", which was released as the second single and proceeded to conquer the charts as swiftly as it's predecessor. The album hit No. 1 and sold Gold in a matter of weeks. Outside her home market, Jennifer enjoyed tremendous success in Japan where she sold over a quarter of a million.
Her single in 1995, "Think About Me", and the 1996 release of her second album, "In My Garden", revealed more of her exceptional qualities as a vocalist with some powerful ballads and the initiation of a deeper, richer feel in her song-writing with cuts such as "Feel That Natural". This Jennifer co-wrote with Billy Mann, her co-writing partner for her new album, VERA.
With the release of VERA, we see the 27 year-old artist step out and to the left of her previous releases on a multitude of levels. Writing every song on the album (unlike her past records) and even co-producing a track (Daddy's Gone), Brown delivers in full-measure, bringing forth a more mature, confident and relaxed presence to each song. With VERA, she has branched out and developed in a way that any bored pop artist would dream of: to not take yourself too seriously and just be real.
VERA is a diverse collection of attention-grabbing songs written by Brown and propped by the album's production: an unusual collage of Hip-Hop and slow Jungle loops, electric T-Wah, live strings (arranged by Stockholm's Janson & Janson Brothers), acoustic guitars, DJ scratches, and a vocal performance that penetrates to goose-bump proportions.
This is 21st century pop. Produced by young Philadelphia song-writer Billy Mann (Chaka Khan, Carole King, Celine Dion, Diana King, Az Yet and Boyzone), VERA pulls together a unitarian co-operative of musical genres that subtly blend folk story-telling with 70's soul, contemporary hip-hop/R&B; with alternative rock chord structures and employs a fresh lyrical standard as the thread to stitch this album. All this with absolute pop accessibility
What is most striking is the open vulnerability in Jennifer Brown's voice both as lyricist and vocalist as performer and woman. On her previous releases, you would almost exclusively find the lyrical content to be predictably about love. VERA dives much deeper into an incredibly honest and risk-taking place in the re-born Brown's life. For example, "Tuesday Afternoon", confidently reveals the details of a young girl whose irresponsible hunger for the wrong kind of love through sex and drugs leads her into the Mission Room Bar only to be lured into the bed of a barfly ruffneck, and is narrated by Brown as her concerned phone confidant.
VERA holds the key to another dimension of Jennifer Brown. Reflected in the range of issues each song deals with and in their lyrical depth, this is a side we've not seen before. Highlights include "Alive", a stunning tribute to the gifts of freedom and life, the questioning "Chico (Painted Hands)" that deliberates on the judgements made against a drag-queen and the heart-felt "Paper Crown", which tells the story of a former cheating lover who then acts like a victim. The fear of intimacy is expressed in the "Walls" we hide behind, and the sad state of single-life in the 90's is examined in the uplifting "Rose Coloured Glasses". The power of the vulnerability Jennifer has dared to step forward with on VERA is evident in songs such as "Daddy's Gone" which bears witness to the legacy of an absent father, and a woman's fear of marriage, unearthed in "Trembling".
For those who have often wondered what lies inside the soul of Jennifer Brown, here she stands. With VERA she came out on her own terms, willing to answer only to herself.
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