Frontwoman Helps BRAVE Cross Genres
By GREGORY TWACHTMAN
For a band to carve a niche in the musical world today, something unique needs to be brought to the table that separates a band from the rest of the generic music that can be found on Billboard's Top-40. For the Dale City, Va.-based BRAVE, that uniqueness rests with the vocals of lead singer Michelle Loose.
And what becomes probably the most shocking revelation after hearing the band is that Michelle comes in with no vocal training.
"Michelle hasn't had any formal training for vocals or for piano," said Scott Loose, Michelle's brother and guitarist for BRAVE. "She really just has a natural talent for singing and a really good ear for music."
And BRAVE is hoping her strong vocal talents will help the band stand out, both in a progressive rock scene that has few female lead singers and to audiences across all genres.
"It probably also helps that we are a female-fronted band because there aren't too many in general," Scott said. "The fact that Michelle has a good voice is really the key though. Most people agree that she has a pleasant yet powerful voice, so with that I think we can really take this band somewhere."
But Michelle is only one piece of the puzzle that is BRAVE. Michelle joined BRAVE shortly after its formation in 1997, when the band was named Arise From Thorns. Scott, along with Trevor Schrotz on drums and Michelle recorded the bands self-titled debut release and began developing and underground following. They were joined by bassist Chris Welborn, and released Before An Audience Of Stars independently in 1999. The album was later re-released by the label Dark Symphonies in early 2000 with a few bonus tracks. A quick listen to these earlier works shows a group of talented musicians that have created music that provided a striking balance to Michelle's vocals.
The process of creating the music starts with Scott, but ultimately culminates with a true group effort. Although the guitarist writes the main ideas on guitar or keyboard, the band gets together and jams on what everyone else is going to play.
"We usually have a chord progression and melody then we work out the changes," Scott explained. "I am the primary writer and arranger for the band, but everyone contributes as the songs start coming together. Michelle writes all of the vocal progressions and Trevor writes the drums and a lot of the bass parts. The songs turn out the way they do because of everyone's contributions."
BRAVE performs live in 2002.
After the re-release of Before An Audience of Stars, the band decided on a name change.
"We changed the name because we felt like we had improved since 1997 when we started as Arise From Thorns," Scott said. "Changing the name to BRAVE allowed us to start out strong because when we did our first recording under the name BRAVE, we felt good about our writing and playing ability. Arise From Thorns also had a lot of strange reactions to the name. People thought we were either death metal or Christian, neither of which is what we wanted to portray."
As the newly named BRAVE, the band performed live and recorded BRAVE's "debut" EP Waist Deep In Dark Waters with guitarist Tom Phillips. However, the band parted ways with Phillips and then recorded its latest release Searching For The Sun. The band subsequently picked up keyboardist and guitar player Juan Somarriba.
And while BRAVE clearly fits into the progressive rock category, Scott does not see this as a hindrance to gaining popularity and respect from fans across all musical genres.
"We have played with all sorts of bands and we seem to be pretty well accepted most of the time," Scott said. "We have always tried to break into the mainstream venues, just because we don't want to be limited to a certain audience. We are trying to bring our sound to people who don't know what progressive rock means as well as to those who are into our style of music."
Editor's Note: This article was originally published in 2002. Photos courtesy of BRAVE.
Copyright 2009, Brian Heaton. All Rights Reserved.