BRITTANY CAMPBELL: RENAISSANCE GIRL
PHOTOGRAPHY // JINGYU LIN
STORY // ANGIE PICCIRILLO
STYLIST // LAURA GORDON
The anecdote “master of none” comes to mind when you hear of someone who is good at everything — but for singer and actress Brittany Campbell, she truly is good at everything. This beauty has done everything from a Netflix series (She’s Gotta Have it) to releasing her new album, “Stay Gold,” last month — oh, and she’s also currently performing in a little show called Hamilton in Chicago. Safe to say that not only is Brittany a renaissance girl — dabbling in all areas, she’s also slightly an overachiever.
With her sound being described as “the future of soul,” this isn’t a label Brittany takes lightly. She in fact, wanted to make sure her “sound” was different from anything she’d heard before, “I became too fixated on making something that would be successful and it was affecting my writing. “Stay gold” was an attempt to get back to the music that I instinctually write. I’m not a person that respects the idea of genre — I grew up listening to too many things to really care or for that restraint/discipline to be natural. I wanted to get back to writing things that felt good to me,” she says.
In the past, people have known pop stars and singers to be the product of their makers — but Brittany wants to do it all herself, and not because she’s a control freak. She recently animated her own video for “Stay Gold”, saying simply, “I had to do it myself because I understand the concept better than anyone else would — The video is all in my head.”
Even more interesting — the video for STAY GOLD was inspired by none other than her dancer friends who grace the stage alongside her in “Hamilton”, “I was inspired and am inspired by the people around me and wanted them to help me tell the story through movement. I’d animate over it to abstract and heightened emotion, [to] turn moments into fantasy….”
Check the video for “My Garden” here (Animated by Brittany herself), and read our Q&A with Brittany below.
Silk Jacket (worn as top): 1940s Vintage c/o Saffron Vintage // Gown: Peter Copping for Nina Ricci c/o Saffron Vintage // Shoes: Haider Ackermann
What inspired “Stay Gold”?
Brittany: Stay Gold first started as a self inflicted challenge where I’d write about 24 songs and release them as EPs in 4 parts. I wanted to do this over the course of a year. For better or for worse (even though I didn’t end up writing 24 solid songs) I think I achieved my goal… More than anything, the album ended up being some of the most honest music I’ve ever achieved.
Some have said you are the “future of soul,” how do you feel about that?
Brittany: When I think of the use of the word “soul,” apart from talking about the genre, I think it inherently means music that feeds the spirit; Music that nourishes our inner life; That’s all I ever mean to do — So I’m happy that my music has been felt so deeply in whatever capacity.
You’re currently in Chicago performing in “Hamilton” — how has that experience been and how is it different/exciting/weird compared to singing your own material?
Brittany: It’s definitely been a learning process, and really, at the risk of sounding completely cliché, it’s been humbling. I’ve never been a part of something so huge — It’s such a cultural phenomenon and hits people so deeply, I’ve never witnessed anything like it — and for that I am grateful. It’s taught me things that I have yet to understand. The unique job that I have, being the Schuyler sister standby, has been so fun because I get to experience and sing the music of all the female leads, who are vastly different and complex women— I’ve had to stretch in ways that I’ve never had to before.
You are also an actress on a few TV series, What is your favorite thing about acting?
Brittany: My favorite thing about acting is the process of connecting and empathizing with the given character. If I am able to connect through empathy that means the audience will be able to connect through empathy. The more similarities I can find between myself and the role that I am playing the more exciting it becomes; The deeper; The Richer; The scarier, sometimes.
The video for “Stay Gold” you animated yourself, how did you do this? Why did you want to do it yourself?
Brittany: I did animate “Stay Gold.”I was inspired and am inspired by the people around me (dancers of “Hamilton”) and wanted them to help me tell the story through movement. I’d animate over it to abstract and heightened emotion; Turn moments into fantasy. I had to do it myself because I understand the concept better than anyone else would — The video is all in my head. As much as I hate how long animating takes, I really do live for the end result. Animation, without a doubt, is a true love of mine.
You are seemingly a “renaissance” girl — you dabble in all areas of art, of all the art you do — which is your favorite/most inspiring?
Brittany: Music… It will always be music… Music moves through me… It is in every molecule of me… It’s everywhere… There is no silence in my head… It informs everything about me…my mood, my love, my life, my hate, my fears, my whole existence.
What’s next for you?
Brittany: More of this… More creation… I’d love to tour this coming album in the fall with my band. I’d love to animate a few more videos. But time will tell… I’m a one woman operation after all.
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