WINNER OF OPEN MIC UK 2013
The name Heidi Brown may not be one you are familiar with yet, but all that is all about to change. Heidi is receiving much wider exposure since winning this years Open Mic UK, having beaten over 8000 applicants in January’s competition to win the grand prize. This young lady is a gifted singer/songwriter with a serious musical heritage. Her songs are melodic thoughtful and fun and have a complexity in their construction which surpass others in her peer group. She is yet another great talent that Open Mic UK can add to their growing alumni.
When I spoke to Heidi she seemed to still be in a daze about how her life and career have suddenly taken a surprise turn. After years of struggling to break out into the music industry, Heidi was days away from starting a job as a bilingual secretary for an Engineering Firm before being crowned the winner.“It's been a pretty crazy week. I’ve been constantly on the phone doing interviews, going into different studios. I've had the BBC round my house interviewing my Mum, It's been mental!” Whilst being caught up the in whirl of the press, she's had to come back down to Earth to make some choices about where she was heading. She explains, “ I was on the brink of giving it up because I'd been writing music for 15 years and I'd recorded two albums...but I'd reached a plateau with it. When you don't have any contacts, a manager or an agent it's quite difficult to reach the level I'd like to be at. It was pretty much impossible. The doors were shut and then I win a competition. I've had to reignite my drive and go 100% for music again.”
Heidi strikes me as someone who is intent on taking her music seriously and for all the right reasons. Perhaps having a father who is a successful professional musician along with a grounding and supportive mother, has led her away from the glamour and glitz of the pop charts and towards creating a serious body of musical work. Of course being in her late 20's has also had an impact on wanting to be taken seriously as a writer and musician. Heidi says she's love to perform on The Jools Holland Show, Bob Harris Show and Radio 2 live sessions and eventually go on to become “a well respected writer of albums.” She adds “it's important to get validation for people who are respected within the music industry.” This is something she is already receiving a great deal of from the likes of Tom Robinson on BBC 6 Music and singer/songwriter Thea Gilmore.
Heidi is also a self taught multi instrumentalist and says she has always had a desire to communicate through music. “I love performing a song and the connection with the audience.” I've always written stories and it just developed when I was a teenager and you have all this emotion; stories weren’t enough and a diary was too intimate, so I turned it into a song.” Her approach to writing music is more of an intuitave one rather than being bound by notation and music theory. She says that her dad's musical collection has been an influence and has taken her inspiration from such luminaries as The Kinks Annie Lennox, Sting and Corrine Bailey Rae.
Heidi certainly likes to keep herself busy creatively. Having studied History of Art and French at University, she also runs a life drawing class and an open mic night locally along with teaching languages. But for now the soul focus is on her music. She’s in the process of recording a third album, and also re-recording some of her earlier tracks too along with planning some gigs and festival dates for later in the year.
Heidi Browne really is a talent to watch out for in the future. Not only is she charming and humble she writes some good songs too! We wish her all the success for what will surely be a great career as a musician and songwriter.