Alabama Shakes lead vocalist Brittany Howard exposes her musical liberation through her solo album debut.
Her LP, “Jaime,” expresses her personal growth and comfort in her identity with her innocently smooth melodies and unapologetic lyrics. The opening melodic blast of sunshine in her song, “Stay High,” leaves remnants of a daydream matched with lyrics of a life hard lived.
An interesting fact, “Jaime” is named after her older sister, who passed away as a teenager, though none of the songs are about her. Jaime is the one who taught Howard how to write poetry and play the piano, so it seems appropriate that Howard’s most personal project to date, would honor her late sister.
“It was being more with myself. I’d been so busy working for so many years; I forgot to reevaluate where I was as a person growing. I never took the time to check in with myself.” Howard explained.
Her self-realization allowed her to discover a uniquely original sound and birthed an eclecticism of songs unlike anything mainstream. Howard’s album stands alone, which is a testament to her musicianship and self-confidence, arguably putting her in a genre of her own.
The multi-talented performer is not only a part of the above-mentioned Southern blues band, but she is also the lead vocalist of the punk-rock group, Thunderbitch, and the folk-trio Bermuda Triangle.
“It wasn’t really about me making a solo record. It was more just about not being inspired or creative as a group,” Howard clarified when asked about her solo pursuits. “It wasn’t anybody’s fault, but the creativity wasn’t coming.”
The vulnerability and transparency of “Jaime” is a reminder that the road to self-discovery is bumpy. “it doesn’t have to be a painful thing,” Howard said, and “being self-aware, seeing things you don’t like, and changing them” is okay and will help you grow.