In 2005, fans and critics alike were enthralled by music sensation Brooke Valentine aka B. Valentine. It was her dynamic single, “Girlfight,” featuring Lil Jon and Big Boi, taken from her debut full-length project, Chain Letter (Subliminal Entertainment/Virgin Records), that helped propel album sales to 2.5 million copies worldwide. Now, she is back, simply as B. Valentine—with a new focus, a higher sense of purpose, and most of all, exciting new music!
B. Valentine is ecstatic about the release of her long-awaited album and its upbeat title track single, “Forever”—her first collection of all-new material in four years. The album is a celebration of life, family, and B. Valentine’s new-found freedom. She does not completely shed her sexy and fun-girl image, but the tragic loss of a family member, taking time to focus on being a new Mom, and a long battle to be released from Virgin Records certainly have affected her perspective.
With total balance and commitment to both family and her music career, B. Valentine is BACK! And this time, Forever!
UrbanBridgez.com recently spoke to Brooke about her hiatus, new album, becoming a mother, why she left Virgin Records and much much more!
UrbanBridgez.com: Let’s start with the new album you’re finishing up since it’s been a minute, what can you tell fans about it?
Brooke Valentine: I can tell the fans I’m excited about it. The more I listen to it, the more I fall in love with it and that’s a great thing because I’m a writer. Sometimes we get so deep into writing, you get tired of being fast. It’s like okay, but with this particular album it’s gets better every time I listen to it. I’m like wow, I love it even more. Alot of the songs on the album were in my heart from the past, like they’re not new. It’s like this was apart of me and it’s kind of timeless because I still feel the same way now I felt then. So it’s exciting!
UrbanBridgez.com: Who are some people you worked with for this album?
Brooke Valentine: On this album, I know alot of people ask me that question. Because in the past I’ve done alot of features, alot of great features. I’m kind of known for features. So it’s like who is she going to work with this time? This time around I really wanted the album to be organic, I didn’t want to go into it like who do I want to go in with or who do I want to put on this. I just kind of created the album…just me. I feel like if we’re going to do features, we should do it remix style. Like a remix or different versions of a song, so I can’t say right now. Everyday I’m on Twitter I’m like I want to tell them but ugh I can’t yet. I have to let it be a surprise, we’re still working out some details. I can say they’re going to love it and they’re going to be excited once they hear who’s added to the song that they will hopefully already love.
UrbanBridgez.com: What would you say is the overall vibe of the album, “Forever” gives us a taste but what else can we expect?
Brooke Valentine: I call it ride or cry music! That’s what I do, that’s what I create. And everybody that I’ve given a taste to like my girls, they be riding to it like ayyy out the window! Or they’re crying and it’s like a healthy cry. Not an oh my god I just want to throw myself out the car right now (laughs). When I catch my girls, brother or anyone get emotional about a record, I’m always like what’s wrong? I ask them how it’s making them feel and they say it’s like I’m reading their mind. Like you’re speaking for me, I couldn’t of said it better myself. So again it’s like a healthy cry, it’s like an outpour of yourself. So I’m just happy that I can create music that makes people feel like I’m their mouth piece! Like thank you Brooke for saying that, that’s what I was thinking but I didn’t have the courage to say it. That’s what makes me feel like a complete artist.
UrbanBridgez.com: When is the target date you plan to have it out?
Brooke Valentine: Around July, that’s what I’m going to say. I don’t like to do dates, I let the team do that. I like to stay in the creative zone. Because if Brooke starts looking at that calendar, I’m like one of them people that’s like don’t even tell me what time it is. I’m always like, It’s what! I’m one of them people that like every night I’ll freak out that the day is about to be over. It’s like no I didn’t do this, this and this. And my friends are like go to bed, it’s going to be another day. So me and the dates, umm no don’t do that (laughs). But I am sure you will get that information from, let’s just call them the “others” (laughs).
UrbanBridgez.com: What have you been up to since your last release, I know you had a baby?
Brooke Valentine: Well..I’m going to give you the phrase, to make a long story short. I had to take a life break! I was getting away from myself, I had lost myself. At some point after Chain Letter, I just kind of flew out of there. I feel like one of those flights I took, I took off. I lost myself and kind of never returned, I was auto-pilot. I was just like what’s the next city, what are we doing, let’s do it. Let’s hit the stage, get off, hit the plane. I was like a little robot and I didn’t wake up till I was back in Houston. I went back home I had just got there and had this sick feeling. Like what is on my mind, I was uneasy and sure enough I found out my cousin was murdered that night. My little cousin and oh my god it’s like if anything is going to wake you up & snap you out of it, it would be something like that. So just having to go to my Uncles house and being there when they broke the news to him, just to hold hands with my family and hold them, touch them and cry with them. That right there just slowed me all the way down. It was like you know what, just cancel the shows I need to take a break I need to deal with this right now. So I just stayed home and kicked it with family and slept on my Grandmothers couch. I cooked, went to the park and just really chilled. It felt really good, to just be a kid again almost. You know, I even went to Chuck E. Cheese I was like let me just chill (laughs). I did my grocery shopping again, I was like I’m not gonna have a personal assistant do this, I’m going to pay my own bills this month. I was grinding since I was like 13 album and came out with my album when I was 19, I needed to just go grow up. I needed to see what life was all about. During that time, I had my son which is such a blessing! During labor, I has post partum hemorrhage, I almost died. I almost lost my son, he had a stroke at birth.
Brooke Valentine: Yeah, it was really a trying time. It’s like it turned something so beautiful into something so scary. I remember being on my way to the hospital like oh my god I’m finally going to have my son. So happy, then being there and wondering if we’re going to go home. Like are we going to make it out of here and leave the hospital? So once I got my son home and with all of that, everybody was like so do you want to put this album out now? I was like no, honestly I didn’t. I was still creating and working with other artists, writing with alot of new artists. Helping develop them and sharpening their craft. However as far as me putting out an album at that time, that’s not where I was. I was more about taking care of my son and family and keeping things together. I felt like I wasn’t ready yet, I needed more development personally. Before I did this business thing, luckily my son loves music so much, he kind of brought me back to it. He made me look at it a different way and now I know I’m doing Forever for my son. To show him not to give up or get carried away from your dreams. You gotta keep things in order. The best way to teach him that is to show him. So that’s basically what I’m trying to do now, I’m trying to spread my little love all over the world. One kiss, one hug and one wave at a time (both laugh)!
UrbanBridgez.com: Well we are happy you’re back! “Girlfight” was so huge for you!
Brooke Valentine: Oh my god, that was such a fun song! Now that monster, I call Girlfight a monster! I knew I was in trouble when I went to this big Church, I’m not going to say which one because you will know what pastor I’m talking about. So I’m in there and just really trying to be in the cut in the back. Then he said, I see my girl back there, it’s about to be a what…I was like noooo! Did the pastor just say that (laughs). So that’s when I knew and the album was really fresh out. So I’m thinking some people know and some people don’t, so I knew then the song was a beast. Then I remember the video for Girlfight, from everybody who came out like the celebrities. Like everybody was out there jammin to the record and knew the words. That song was bigger than me, it was just like wow. I still can’t believe it, like when I look at pictures and me and my dancers tell stories. Like girl, did that really happen. they’re like yeah it really happened! It went down, we partied hard (laughs).
UrbanBridgez.com: You mentioned having to fight with Virgin Records to be released from your contract, where did it go wrong for you at that label?
Brooke Valentine: You know, it’s kind of no secret that Virgin Records just kind of…you know. It’s like what happened, like everybody knows something happened but it just kind of crashed! They revamped, fired everybody and got all new staff. Then it’s all the artists on the roster saying, like who’s my product manager now, who’s my this and that and my new media now? They were just like, oh we’ll let you know, we’ll let you know. So with just all of the uncertainties and meeting people who was working on your project and honestly some of them just didn’t care. Like their heart wasn’t in it, it was just a job to them. Alot of the things I’m saying alot of artists don’t talk about, this is like a forbidden fruit! It’s like don’t talk about the real, but if you ask Brooke, she’s gon tell you the truth! Alot of these people at these labels just sit behind their desk and they do their job. They don’t really care if you pay your rent, they don’t care what really happens with you. They just need to meet their quota, look good doing it and then once it blows up, they want to be like yeah I was behind her. No you was not, you was just doing what you was told to. My name was on the calendar on your desk and you was like well let me do this right quick. So you know with that, I was just not feeling them honestly. I just felt like their hearts wasn’t really into it, I felt like it was alot of button pressing. One day I got this email and it had who they were going to put me in the studio with and they was going to have me go on a date with this person for publicity. I was like whoa, I just pulled the plug! I was not going to turn into one of those people, I wasn’t going to do no fake stuff and mislead my fans. I wasn’t going shopping with ole girl to make it seem like we were best friends (laughs). It just got real plastic for me. I’m not a good liar, so I don’t do it. And I was like my fans are going to read me right away and say she’s fake. I couldn’t let that happen, so before it did I just quit! Along with what was also going on with me personally with my family, it was the perfect time to say no more. Once we were going to create Physical Education, which was the title of that album going back listening to it…the features on there and everything, everybody would be surprised it wasn’t released. It was a good album, but I call it a paper album. Again from them like this is who you’re working with, this is the sound we’re going for, etc. Although we did get great music out of it, I like it I just feel like it could be way more organic. Way more real, I like to just float into the studio and hang around and create. When I’m tired I leave or if not, I’m staying for like 3 days and just jammin out. With that album, it was none of that. It was 9 to 5. Like we start at 9, end at 5. I said all of that to say…it was time to go! That relationship was over, I didn’t feel the love. To tell you the truth, I wasn’t happy what they did with Janet! Her album came out before mine, I watched that whole thing happen like what this is Janet Jackson! I’m like y’all need to pull up and get it together. Once I seen that, I was like I am not turning this album in (laughs). I never turned the album in and what happens then is there is no album to put out.
Brooke Valentine: Yeah, and I apologize to the fans because they were just simply waiting for it. And they never got it, so for that I apologize! But now I am happy to set the record straight and to let everybody know and that it wasn’t I fell out of love with music. It was the system that I fell out of love with. I needed to just regroup!
UrbanBridgez.com: Tell fans who you’re signed with now?
Brooke Valentine: I’m still with Subliminal Entertainment imprint who was a joint venture with Virgin. They’re still partnerships out there for a new joint venture. I’m just taking it slow. That’s like life though, like if you get married and it don’t work, you’re just going to go get married to someone else? So I’m taking my time, somebody is going to have to take me on some dates, I need some chocolate, I like cup cakes. I’m going to need some lie detector tests, some blood work & more to get married again (laughs)! You know what I mean, I feel like you’re feeling me (both laugh).
UrbanBridgez.com: Oh yeah, I do more than you know (laughs). Who are some artists out right now that you are really feeling?
Brooke Valentine: I have learned when you have kids that you watch what they watch and listen to what they want. Or you got an unhappy kid. My son loves Coldplay! He’s feeling Robin Thicke, he be in his car seat jammin. It’s like he’s been here before. Adele is dope, she puts my son to sleep every night. I feel like everybody say that now, but I was into her before everybody else got into her like now. I was telling people about her and now they know. Before I wasn’t listening to alot of music, when I’m in creative mode I have to turn the radio off. I have to find me and if you’re riding to something you might create something like that not trying to. I call it false advertising, like is that really you and what you want to say or is it a reflection of a song you like. I did listen to some Sade, some Lauryn Hill and Anita Baker. Those are my classics, they never come out the CD player. So I just tried to stay in my creative mode. Now this is crazy and my friends think so, now I will get in an elevator and ride that thing up and down the building and I think. People get on and people get off and I’m still on thinking. I would encourage people to try it before they call me crazy (laughs). Before you call me nuts, try it and you will be surprised by what happens on the elevator. So many conversations, so many different people you come across, some are singing with headphones on or off, some telling their business, some got something to scratch (laughs). Just the things you hear and see on them you will be surprised, I did alot of creating and thinking for this album on the elevator. Don’t check me into the hospital, it works (laughs).
UrbanBridgez.com: I won’t yet, until I try it (both laugh). What’s next for you outside of the album?
Brooke Valentine: I was going to say the album, you know people ask me that and I’m like my album duh (both laugh). But the traveling, performing and all the stuff that comes with that. Outside of that I want to start more parent support groups. I’m working on a message board to work with parents who are going through things with special needs children. I’m a big part of that I spend about 15 hours a week or more with special needs situations like physical therapy and dealing with stuff like that and supporting the parents. I mentor alot of teenagers, so I’m looking to spread that love and looking to start that in every state. Then out of the country. I got this new found love to make people smile and be happy. Just to remind people what’s really important in life. Worried about going to the club and meeting their boo and that’s your boo for like two months and you all wrapped up in them. You’re ignoring your friends and then your boo is gone, then you’re like nooo, call me check on me, I’m hurt. It’s like but you dissed me when you was with your boo! That’s when Brooke comes in and says no, no, no don’t get carried away and make sure you remember what’s really important! That’s me right now, I go around spreading my little love. People may say I’m corny, but I’m going to be corny till the day I die, because I love it. When I mentor my teenagers them girls are smiling and I have parent support groups and they walk out all happy and smiling and uplifted. That’s everything to me! Even if it’s corny, I like it (laughs).
UrbanBridgez.com: That’s all that matters!
Brooke Valentine: Exactly!
UrbanBridgez.com: Any last words for your fans?
Brooke Valentine: I just want to say that I love you! Anybody that takes the time to like a status, retweet something, like, follow or anything! From buy the single, come to the shows, spread the word about a song they like from me. I appreciate every second someone takes to think about Brooke and what I have going on. I just want to boomerang that love right back out. So I want the fans to know I see you, I see what’s going on and I try to keep in touch with everyone and connect. I appreciate everything and I appreciate you Aries for taking out this time to have this conversation with me. I just look forward to making big things happen!