Defying Description: Marietta Artist Blends Multiple Musical Genres on Latest CD
8/9/2013, 6 a.m.
It’s artists like Brooke Alford who keep reviving the question of whether success derives from talent that’s been nurtured, or natural curiosity that’s matched with ambition.
The classically trained musician was raised in a Marietta home where her parents – both artists and educators – encouraged experimentation with different forms of expression. And her fierce determination to succeed, whether it’s performing her unique style of music or competing in fitness competitions, shows no limits.
Alford’s second CD, “The Viosocalist”, has just been released. She’ll celebrate the follow-up to her debut CD, “Expressions” with a release party and performance on Thursday (August 15, 8 p.m.) at the Karma Bistro in Stone Mountain (1179 South Hairston Road).
Her sound is hard to categorize, and that’s the way Alford prefers it. She seamlessly fuses aspects of jazz, gospel, techno-funk, classical and R&B music into her compositions; often within a single song.
She seeks to be identified as “an artist of the violin,” rather than a violinist. She chose “Viosocalist” as the title for her new CD because it conveys the sentiment behind her style of play.
“My approach is to bring a fresh experience to the instrument, and bring a new voice to the world,” said the 20-something Alford, who commutes frequently between metro Atlanta and another home in New Jersey that’s nearer to performance venues all over the East Coast.
“When I’m on stage, that’s like home to me,” she added. “I love performing before an audience and I have all my life; ever since my first dance recitals as a three-year-old. When I’m playing I’m at peace. It’s like going into a zone where nothing else matters.”
Music has been a driving force in Alford’s life since she was five and began taking piano lessons. In middle school she switched to playing the oboe, and then (briefly) to the upright bass.
“Then, one day, I saw some kids on television playing violins,” Alford recalled. “I loved how they sounded, so I went that way. I was fascinated by the way the instrument looked and the way it was played. I began making my own out of sticks and string. Once my mom saw how much I loved violins, she bought me one and got me lessons.”
Alford’s violin virtuosity earned her master classes from members of the Atlanta Symphony Orchestra and a scholarship to the Florida State University School of Music and the FSU International Program in London, England.
Since becoming a professional musician, she has performed with a list of all-stars including: Regina Carter, Najee, Will Downing and James Ingram.
A self-described fitness fanatic, Alford is such a staunch advocate for exercise that she even created a popular YouTube video titled, “Who Takes a Violin to the Gym?”, in which she goes through a complete workout while playing or balancing her instrument like a bar bell.
The physicality of her style of play onstage is part of what makes Alford such a crowd-pleaser.
“A musician can do whatever they want in their career,” she said, “as long as they stay healthy enough to keep going.”