SBS Covid Relief
Interview with Rockie Brown
SBS: Let’s make sure we’ve got everyone on the same page – who are ya? How long have you been doin’ this music thang and what’s the story behind it all? What separates you apart from the rest?
ROCKIE: Hiya! I’m Rockie Brown, a British/Filipino indie artist from Las Vegas. I’ve been writing songs since I was a teen and I’ve been working professionally in the music industry for over 14 years. I started taking my original music seriously after college and formed my first original project. Since then, I’ve released 2 full-length albums, an EP, numerous music videos and just released my latest single “Party’s Over.” I’ve also signed multiple sync and licensing agreements for 8 major shows and networks, performed for Life is Beautiful festival, Vegas Music Summit conference, and was supposed to play SXSW which was canceled due to Covid-19. Indie Pop/Rap is a generic label I’ve heard to describe my sound but I find it hard to compare. I’m a singer/rapper and my songs are anthemic with powerful vocals over modern electronic production. I’m currently focused on writing message-driven music with pointed lyrics about current affairs, equality and women’s empowerment.
SBS: How has this time in lockdown/quarantine affected you and the music you make? Positives? Negatives? It’s obviously a crazy time for everyone, but certainly musicians throughout the independent scene as well…what have you been doing to make sure the music is still flowing somehow at this time?
ROCKIE: I never thought something like this would happen in my lifetime. It’s been up and down for me… the inspiration isn’t always there. Having your career ripped out from under your feet is unsettling. The first month was a shock, the second coming to terms, now it’s time to figure out the next move. We have been focused on finishing up existing projects like creating the video for “Party’s Over” as well as wrapping up another body of work. Moving forward I’ll be hitting the pen & pad. There’s a lot I want to write about. We’ve even made a few stupid parody and comedic videos just for laughs and to get through. I think creating has been helpful during the monotony of quarantine. It’s essential for artists. It’s our outlet, especially right now.
SBS: Is there a lesson to be learned in all this Covid-craziness? If so, what do you think it is?
ROCKIE: There’s a lot I’ve learned during this madness. We are fragile. This country is fragile. It’s crazy to observe human behavior during this pandemic… there’s such a range of emotions. Myself included. I thought it would bring everyone together, but it seems there will always be a divide. Honestly, I’m pained by the overall response. I’m tired of the greed and selfishness yet I’m not surprised – this is nothing new. We need a lot more compassion, and we need to take better care of the people in this country. I think it’s been made clear during this time that Americans are overworked. They are sick, stressed, living paycheck to paycheck and deserve a better quality of life. We need more time with our families and better systems in place.
SBS: What is the most key thing that people can do out there to support musicians during this time?
ROCKIE: There are a lot of live streams going on via social media. Donate. Stream our music. Stream our videos. There are wonderful organizations called MusiCares and The Actors Fund. If you perform for a living, these charities have been assisting thousands of performers with grants to pay their bills. I received aid from MusiCares waaayyy before getting a cent from the CARES Act. I will be donating to MusiCares organization for years to come when this is over. So very grateful!
SBS: There are some that say there’s ‘no going back to normal’ and others that still think that’s a possibility after all is said & done and we’re allowed outside again…what do you think? Let’s ballpark it…let’s say it’s…September 2020, that’s not too far away…what does the world look like at that point?
ROCKIE: I think the old normal is gone for a while until there are more testing and a vaccine. Social norms are out the window. I think masks are not just a trend but a closet staple moving forward. Not for all. There’s a lot of people that don’t give a fuck about it and are acting like it’s a hoax. Vegas will be down for a while in my opinion. This city is built on tourism and entertainment. I think we’ll see some casinos come back by fall, but live music and shows? I doubt it will be soon. Entertainment is always the first to get cut when occupancy is down and in this case, it’s probably gonna be last to come back. When huge entertainment companies are closing up shop, I start to lose confidence. I’ve made my living primarily as a singer the past 14 years, so it’s pretty tough to digest. I think 2020 is a wash for performers in Vegas. Time for us to get “real jobs” in the meantime.
SBS: What do you miss most during this whole lockdown? What’s the first thing you plan on doing if/when things find their way back to normal, and why is that the most important thing to ya?
ROCKIE: I miss hugging my friends and family. I miss going out to eat or grabbing a late-night drink at our neighborhood bar. I miss rocking the fuck out in front of an audience. Those are at the top of my list.
SBS: Open floor! Anything else you want to say to the people out there?
ROCKIE: Be kind, be well, and please follow me on all platforms. I’ve got a lot of new stuff coming out hella soon! Mucho love y’all <3
We’ve extended the deadline & we’ll be accepting submissions to the SBS Covid Relief interviews in written, audio, and video forms until the end of May – find out more about how you can get involved right here.
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