Call it her parents’ prophetically-ordained choice of first names for a baby girl or divinely inspired coincidence – as per textbook definitions which encompass everything from “a bit daring” and “ready to face and endure” to “without showing fear” – singer/songwriter/SAG-AFTRA actress BRAVE WILLIAMS has been nothing less than courageous, spirited, determined and dauntless in her whirlwind rise to notability within the worlds of music and entertainment over the course of the past few years.
Having quickly and effectively established herself as that simultaneously “sultry and edgy while everyday relatable” songstress whose “Oooh Luv Ya” and “Road Trippin’” 2015 singles set off buzzworthy online presence and fast-growing download support, in definitively brave fashion, BRAVE WILLIAMS more than lives up to the meaning of her name as she precedes her audacious, anticipated self-titled full-length debut set (a Brave New World/SRG ILS/Universal Group release) with the recent release of her oh-so-sultry R&B beat-ballad latest single, “Don’t Tell Me No.”
With her now signature self-assurance paired with a heavy dose of vocal temptress; the lovelorn, “old-school-slow-grind-meets-slinky-paced-modern-R&B” flow of “Don’t Tell Me No” finds the vocalist noted for championing her girls actually addressing the fellas this go ‘round, all while examining relationship “goings-on” and vulnerabilities both genders can easily relate to.
“It’s completely relationship-driven,” Brave explains, upon sharing the inspiration for the song, “based on conversations I’ve had with my sisters and best friends. Men always have this idea that they have to be strong and powerful with whatever it is that’s going on. And men are just as scared as women to fall in love. So to me, it was like a declaration to men like ‘I know you’ve been through some things that have your protective wall up, but don’t let that heartache or disappointment become your permanent identity. You can still be open to fall in love, but fear will keep that blessing from happening.’ Because there’s so much noise happening – like politics, the social climate and things on the news – I want people to be reminded that love can slice through all of that…and kill all the noise. I want that to be welcomed, and I want people to be invited to always go back to love despite everything’s that’ going on.”
Though attitude-laced, ladies’ anthem-styled singles like 2017’s bouncy, head-boppin’ “U Tried it” and early 2020’s deep-bouncin’ “Options” may have empowered the ladies, she’s ultimately a fair and equal opportunity (musical) communicator. “I am so pro-women, like I am always here for my girls,” she ponders upon the mention of feminism, “but I never want anyone to think or take my interpretation that I’m anti-man, because I’m not anti-man. I love my men, which is why I wrote ‘Don’t Tell Me No,’ because I wanted to speak to my men like ‘I know you’re scared. I know that you can be feeling some type of way about love and relationships. But let’s do this together; don’t tell me no.’”
As it turns out, the seeds for her talent and penchant for storytelling can be traced to her early Baltimore, Maryland-based childhood…more specifically in the back-seat of her Mom and Dad’s red Chevy, on a day she vividly recalls hearing legendary rapper Tupac’s “Keep Ya Head Up.” “I remember it like it was yesterday; I was mesmerized,” Brave recounts. “I know that I had heard hip-hop before that moment, but that was the first time that it really resonated with me and I started writing. I really just started writing poems. I had no idea I could sing because I started out rapping.” Always quick to showcase her rapping and spoken word skills at open mics, she confesses that she stumbled onto the notion that she could sing upon trying to turn one of the raps she’d written into a song. That epiphany spurred a newfound exploration and appreciation of the R&B of her generation (“I love Faith Evans, Jill Scott since her first album and ‘What’s the 411?’ by Mary J, because she was like the perfect marriage of hip-hop and R&B”), as well as more classic R&B from the likes of Stevie Wonder, Bobby Caldwell and one of her idols, 80s singer/songwriter/musician Patrice Rushen.
In the meantime, music listeners can also rest assured that same exact level of creative passion was invested into every song that comprises her curiously-awaited Brave Williams debut collection.
“I wanted to be transparent in my moment and that was the moment of writing this album and reflecting on everything. I want people to relate to it. I want to be able to inspire the people who hear the songs. And if they’re in that type of relationship at that time, they can use some of my records as navigation on how to handle what they’re feeling. My whole purpose is to inspire.”