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Interview:
Phredley Brown leaves (Bruno) Mars for home town show
 

By GARY GRAFF
Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

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The last couple of times Phredley Brown came home, it was in front of sold-out crowds at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

But the Lathrup Village-raised Brown, a graduate of Roeper Schools and the musical director for multi-platinum star Bruno Mars, has no problems doing something smaller.

Brown will play his own show this weekend at the Jazz Cafe in Detroit's Music Hall Center, playing plenty of his own material as well as appropriate selections from Mars' catalog (he co-wrote the 2013 hit "Treasure"). "I'm just excited to play," says Brown, who was born Fred Brown, Jr., and turns 30 in January. "It's been five, maybe almost six years since I've performed my own show in Detroit, and obviously a lot has happened since I moved to L.A.

"I've been doing a lot of writing in the meantime, with no real outlet to test these songs. So I'm excited to come home and be able to do a show in an environment with people who have supported me since way back when, and also some people who have never seen me before but know who I am because of what I've been doing."

Brown, whose mother Natalie was a music teacher in Southfield Public Schools, will be joined by his sister, Alesha Nicole, and girlfriend Onnie Median, who both sing, and longtime friend Paul Loos on drums. He expects to unveil "at least six or seven songs that nobody's heard before" and which he says will sound understandably different than what he was playing before.

"When I was playing around Detroit I was kind of an acoustic, soulful songwriter," Brown recalls. "Then, as I got a band behind me, it developed a soul-ish rock edge to it. So what I'm doing now is an evolution on that; it's rock-ish, songwriter-ish. It's soul and I know the structure, the pop structure, and I just try to write catchy lyrics and hooks.

"To be honest, I like working that way now. I think it's going to sound really, really fresh and organic. The players I'm working with are extremely capable and have a lot of fresh ideas, so I'm going to be as new to the music in some ways as the listeners as the show, I suppose."

Brown isn't sure what he'll be doing with these songs in the future -- or when he'll have a chance to do that, either. Mars is wrapping up his touring in support of 2012's Grammy Award-winning "Unorthodox Jukebox" and Brown expects to have some time to "just be in writing and producing mode, trying to generate as much material as I can." He also hopes some of that will be done with other artists who have become aware of him thanks to his raised profile in recent years.

"I do have a lot of people wanting to work with me and establish a relationship, whether it's to wrote or producer or perform together, or just hang out," Brown says. "Being on the road like I've been, it makes it hard to be involved in the production or writing scene, especially when it's happening back home in L.A. when I'm never there.

"So I'm excited to re-establish that part of my life and work with as many different people as I can and just be out there and see where it takes me."

Phredley Brown

8 p.m. December 28.

The Jazz Cafe in the Music Hall Center, 350 Madison Ave., Detroit.

Tickets are $10.

Call 313-887-8532 or visit www.jazzcafedetroit.com




Web Site: www.jazzcafedetroit.com

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