“When I was 8 years old I heard my parents playing the cast album for Les Misérables. When the young girl came on singing ‘Castle on a Cloud’ I begged my parents to let me audition,” says singer-songwriter and actress Brooke Moriber.
She landed the role, starring on Broadway as “Young Cosette.”
Historians refer to it as manifest destiny, while others call it divine providence. By the time she was 15, Moriber was writing original music, music featured on Nickelodeon, network TV, and movie soundtracks. Soon she was sharing the stage with The Gin Blossoms, Cindy Lauper, and Alan Cumming, all while continuing to star in shows on Broadway, TV, and movies.
Eventually she hooked up with Nashville producer Fred Mollin, resulting in her new album, Cry Like A Girl, on The Orchard/Sony. Explaining the title, Brooke says, “I named the album after one of the lead tracks because that particular song has such a clear message that embodies the collection as a whole. It’s a statement about self-discovery and the strength that comes with embracing your emotions and allowing yourself to heal and grow.”
The video for “Cry Like A Girl,” directed by Elizabeth Lippman, depicts the rewards of being human and expressing emotion.
I sat down with the multi-gifted Brooke Moriber to discover the secret to her vast talent and success.
How would you describe yourself?
Singer/ songwriter, native New Yorker and proud bunny mama!
What’s your favorite song to belt out in the car or the shower?
“Hunger Strike!” (The Chris Cornell part).
Who is your favorite music artist?
Hard to narrow it down to one but I will go with two: Linda Ronstadt and Billy Joel
How did you get started in music?
I actually got started as a kid performing on Broadway. I booked my first professional job playing Young Cosette in Les Miserables. I started writing pop music when I was 15. A composer I had met through theater became a mentor to me and my manager at the time and my music got placed on a few Nickelodeon shows.
What’s the backstory there?
Well my parents were going through a pretty brutal divorce at the time so I needed an outlet. Just performing wasn’t enough. Writing was the cure and has been ever since.
What musicians influenced you the most?
Linda, Billy, Sarah Bareilles, Rachel Platten, and Eddie Vedder for always inspiring me to give my best live performances — he leaves it all out there every time.
How, if at all, do your musical influences shape and impact your music?
Linda is my vocal idol. I grew up hearing her voice and have always strived for a clear, distinct, emotional tone combined with power. She’s always been my inspiration on how I approach music as a singer. As a writer, I think it all mashes together for me — life experiences and the artists in the soundtrack of my life, combined, inspire me.
Where do you find inspiration for your music?
Good days, bad days….I just want to write about them all. It’s my therapy.
Your new album, Cry Like A Girl, was recorded in Nashville. Why Nashville and not, say, Los Angeles or New York?
I had been back and forth to Nashville a lot for co-writes and found the music community out there so welcoming. It has become a second home to me. The funny thing is I met my producer Fred Mollin through a gig I had performed in LA. His brother lives out there and saw me perform and recommended I reach out to Fred in Nashville. Since then, Fred and I have become very close — he’s like having a dad out in Nashville. Always feeding me!
I wanted the album produced with live musicians and just a few sprinkles of electronic effects. That is Fred’s specialty and it was the perfect fit for this LP.
What was the inspiration for the title track, “Cry Like A Girl?”
I have become so sick of people saying things like “fight like a girl” in a negative way. It’s cool for a girl to act like a man — tomboys are cute and a girl who can fight in a Kung-Fu movie is considered hot — but female attributes are always given such a negative connotation. I believe understanding and embracing your emotions makes you stronger. If you can be brave enough to face the problem and allow yourself to feel the pain, you can then pick yourself up and start over as opposed to pushing it all down, holding on to it and being “manly” about it and never heal.
What is your song-writing process? Lyrics first, or music first?
It’s always different. Sometimes a melody comes to me in my sleep and I wake myself up and put it down on my phone in the middle of the night. Sometimes it’s a subject or a feeling I want to express and I just sit crying at the keys or guitar. Sometimes I write lyrics first and then put it to chords and come up with a melody.
Most artists like to believe their music is evolving. Is yours? If so, is it moving more toward country, or rock, or pop?
I definitely think my music is evolving. I have been writing so much since this album! Probably 20 new songs at least. As I evolve as a person the music does as well and I’m becoming more confident in a very different way: I am realizing that people really do appreciate and relate to me for who I am and the things I have been through. That I don’t need to put on a facade to be loved. It’s opening me up as a human being and a writer in so many ways. No more sugar coating, pure honesty even if it’s a little brutal. I wouldn’t say it’s more one genre but deeply open. I’m very excited for the next chapter.
What’s next for you musically? Any plans to tour?
Yes! Our album release party is this Wednesday June 12 in NYC at Rockwood Music Hall. July 20 I will be at the Jones Beach Bandshell, and more to come! For anyone who would like updates, you can subscribe to the mailing on my website.