Mirrorgloss Takes On Texas and SXSW ✈ 👄
In Najamoniq's words:
Najamoniq here. Mirrorgloss was so honored and excited to be invited to SXSW, it is such a prestigious and amazing festival and as a up and coming pop band it was a great opportunity.
When I started to bang out my part of this blog post and read Dels’ portion, I came to a decision that this month's post we will tell our story about SXSW through her beautiful and important experience.
We added a few candids at the end of the post that highlight some of our experience. Of course the good stuff we were lucky enough to experience so phones were not at our ready. We hope you enjoy.. until then enjoy and as always #stayglossy
In Del's words:
I had initially thought that my blog post this month was going to be a whole review of all the experiences I had at SXSW in beautiful Austin, TX. I thought I was going to write about the bands I heard, the food I ate, the fashion that inspired me and the bustling hustle of Texas’ hip and liberal oasis, but that just wasn’t the case. What I took away from my experience, not only as a member of Mirrorgloss but as, Del Brown was a new found appreciation for something I rarely ever talk about my own family.
I’m the youngest of 4 children, they all had the same father but we all clearly shared the same mother, and though they would never call me their half sibling the three of them shared a bond that was almost impenetrable. My oldest brother is named Cedric, my second oldest is a sister named Sophia and my brother who is older than me, but younger than them is called Reggie.
They are all roughly a year and a month apart, they were literally triplets growing up. They all had very distinct personalities growing up too, but all three had a way of communicating that didn’t always need words and the three of them were also extremely talented. Yes, they could all sing and did a three part harmony that could and can give you goose bumps to this day.
My mom even had a bit of the singing bug and entered talent shows as a teenager, so encouraging her kids to sing was second nature to her. She loved music and was very proud of them for taking well to vocalizing and arranging.
They all sang so well together and meek and passive little old me never felt like I was good enough to join in and though the age difference doesn’t seem that significant, my oldest brother is 6 years older than me, it really seemed much more significant being the youngest.
They did encourage me to sing, they really did. We grew up very religious as most Southerners do. They would push me to sing solos in church choir and sing soprano when they harmonized together at home. My sister actually reminded me of that recently, “Girl, you can sing harmonies, we always made you do the high parts with us.” Yeah, I guess I did. Chunks of my childhood were intensely traumatic so I knowingly have forgotten somethings, I’ll save all that for a different post or my autobiography, which ever comes first.
I did continue to sing, in secret. In my preteen years I discovered top 40 radio and heard The Pretenders for first time and though mom played Natalie Cole, Minnie Ripperton and Aretha growing up along with various gospel artists, Chrissie’s soulful yet edgy vibrato resonated with me and I knew then and there I truly wanted to sing.
As I blossomed into a teenager and started seeing live music for the first time I began singing around my friends. Some of them were musicians and I began singing in indie and riot grrrl bands by the time I was in my late teens. I still kept it a secret from my family, reasoning that they would never understand the music and at that point I had also forsaken all of my gospel and soul background and looked to sound more like Courtney Love rather than Darlene Love.
By the time I hit my late 20’s and migrated to Tacoma, Washington singing was a distance memory. I had lost the ambition and the confidence but still clandestinely longed to be a front woman. I swept it under the rug and focused on being a fan of the music and forging friendships with bands I admired. I also came to Washington in search of my new family, people that shared my love for the same music and weren’t so oppressed by religion. I met Najah Monique soon after and the rest...well...not so fast.
I dabbled in singing still, feeling free because I was away from my family and didn’t fear being judged because of our Christian past. I would sing karaoke and pretty much anytime I had a drink. I found a boyfriend who was a singer and composer and our relationship also turned into a musical one. He gave me the confidence that I had lost vocally and we soon asked Najah Monique to join us because we knew she loved singing too. That would be the foreshadowing of Najah Monique and I forming a lasting creative bond. Little did we know...right?
The first 3 years Mirrorgloss began I kept it from my family entirely. Truth be told, I never thought I was a great singer. As Mirrorgloss were building a following I would casually mention to my mom and sister what I was doing but never made it sound like anything serious, they also didn’t pry because I made it seem like nothing. My bad. Meanwhile, Najah’s family are coming out to see us cheering her on and being supportive and I can’t say I didn’t feel a little sad having kept what we were doing from my own family. I wanted support like that too deep down inside.
Once we made the appearance on The Spud Goodman show and made the video for
“Something New” and posted it on Facebook, it was no longer a secret. My family were shocked. “Del wants to be a singer? Wow, she’s the one that never really sang growing up.” I still didn’t talk about it much but my mom and sister started messaging me along with my oldest brother. “Mirrorgloss are really doing it. We’re so proud of you Del.” I still stayed low key about it, never asking for a critique and certainly never asking if they liked my voice. I didn’t want to know the answer to that.
When we finished our soon to be re-released album “Raise Ya Grades” the inevitable happened, I was no longer ashamed of my vocal ability, DJ Phinisey and Najah Monique both brought out a confidence in me I had no idea I was capable of. I let anyone who would listen hear the tracks from the album. Anyone! Ask Sergio Mottola? Mirrorgloss had actually raised our grades! I was so proud of what we had done that I could no longer stay silent. I finally let my family know what I had been up to. They were so encouraging but I still didn’t believe them. I thought they were being nice, granted I should have known better. The Brown family is definitely honest and we don’t blow smoke, what the fuck was I thinking?
Getting the invitation to play something as prestigious as SXSW for a young and burgeoning duo was something Mirrorgloss didn’t take lightly. SXSW takes place is Austin, TX at the end of winter every year. If you're an upcoming musician, game developer or film maker it’s the place to be, you can potentially get your big break and the networking potential is unreal. It also happens that my mother is an hour outside of Austin and both my sister and brother, Reggie live in Houston.
My sister called earlier the day of the show and said my niece had left her ID card in Houston and probably couldn’t get in, my disappointment was palpable. I decided to get some food with Najah Monique and our friend Judea at Iron Works BBQ and relax. Did I mention that you can cut the brisket there with a fucking plastic fork? Yes, that’s a thing and it’s very real. I had already set myself up to be bummed out about my family being negligent that night and it hurt pretty bad. I decided to focus on the performance and put myself in the “preshow zone.” By the way, the food there is next level.
As we waited to go on, the rush of nervous energy filling my body I saw a familiar face in my peripheral vision, it was my sister! Sure enough as I glanced around rushing over to meet her I was greeted by the faces of my niece, Diamond and my very own mother. I fought the tears of joy as they started to fill my eyes. I was not going to waste my Huda, Ruby Obsessions palette! I gave my sister a kiss on her forehead and a strong embrace. “I love you, Sophie.” I whispered.
As Najah Monique and I ushered in Mirrorgloss’s first song I could feel the anticipation of the crowd that had gathered. I looked out to see my sister, niece and mother all up front. When I belted out the chorus from the song, “I Wonder” I could immediately hear my sister and mother cheering me on and that was all the motivation I needed. My confidence soared through the roof as they chanted affirmations and accolades from across the room. My family were lending there support and for the first time in my life I realized just how important it was to have it, I truly felt validated!
I moved all the way to Washington in a sense to find Najah Monique who would become my new family not knowing if I had just given my biological family half the chance I could have had the support of two families this whole time. Though part of me regrets not having asked for there support earlier, I feel like now I’m in a place where I am truly grateful and am able to fully receive it.