By Lisa Respers France, CNN
Lately, the female singing trio Brownstone has been all about the “re.”
“We’re reinventing, we’re refreshed, we’re renewed, we’re revamped,” member Teisha Brown told CNN in a recent interview. “Now don’t get it twisted: you still are getting Brownstone, but we are giving you a little bit of a new feel.”
That “new feel” is their single, “All I Want,” their first new music in more than 25 years.
The group first burst onto the scene in 1994 with their hit single, “If You Love Me.”
Much has changed in the music industry since then.
“Songs are not as long,” Nicci Gilbert, a founding member of Brownstone, said. “Back in the day it was songs, it was bodies of work. I think now the industry is more about a vibe. We’re listening to a lot of short form content. Everywhere we look is like a TikTok video that’s a second and a half and that’s really working.”
Music is now more digestible, she said, and the trick is to maintain artistry while adapting.
So while they are leaning into change, they are doing so from the foundation of being a beloved R&B girl group.
That love helped when original group member Charmayne “Maxee” Maxwell died in 2015 at the age of 46 after an accident.
Brown and Gilbert have a new member, Arin Jackson, who they say reminds them a great deal of Maxwell, not only in terms as her talent but also her mannerisms and personality.
Jackson, for her part, said she’s thrilled to be a part of Brownstone.
“I get a rare opportunity you don’t get in this industry to learn from the living legend Nicci Gilbert, and on the other side of me I have what I consider the most talented woman in the world, Teisha Lott Brown,” Jackson said. “And I get to bring my talent and my showmanship to this group to blend and to keep Brownstone’s legacy alive.”
The trio are dedicated to putting out stellar R&B. Brown pointed out how popular ’90s groups continue to resonate with audiences through “old skool” tours that are making the rounds.
Gilbert said that’s one of the reasons you see their contemporaries, like SWV and Xscape, also making new music.
“We’ve come to a place where things are so hard that people are looking to lean on really talented people and great songs and great music, because I think it speaks a universal language,” she said.
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