Brooklyn Michelle is a Texas-based artist who uses her music and art to cope with troubles in life since she was a teenager. Her debut album Lithium was written about her mental health issues and most importantly living with bipolar disorder. At the moment, Brooklyn is ready to release her next album Placebo this Fall, which defines her personal experience with mental health and relationships. She is also a strong supporter of a cancer fund, practices art, directs and edits her own music videos as well as her upcoming single “Come Here”.
Hi, Brooklyn! Thank you for joining us today. What do you mean about being a kid?
I have always said I am a 7th grader at heart. If I could go back to relive any time of my life, it would definitely be then. I was making YouTube videos with my friends, riding Ripstiks, playing tennis, and going swimming all the time. School was even fun. We got to play four square, I had a new crush every week, and all my teachers were pretty chill. And on top of all that, this was the prime Modern Warfare 2 era. I’d do anything to go back.
How did you end up writing and performing at the age of twelve?
I got my first guitar at this age and started learning a bunch of cover songs from the radio to play for my family. Once I got many simple chords down, I wrote my first song, “Shining Star,” and I was so excited to show my mom. I eventually started bringing my guitar to early release days at school and would play it for kids in the gym. Guess what grade that was?
How would you define your music in three words?
Spooky. Tingly. Mesmerizing.
Tell us more about your latest track, “Come Here”?
I wrote “Come Here” when I was having a fling with someone I definitely shouldn’t have. I’m not the type of person that can handle the whole casual hook-up relationship, but I was pretending that I could because I liked someone so much. I intentionally made the love interest never show up in the music video to try to get that point across. But my best friend, Nick, plays the bellhop that ended up hanging out instead, haha. So everything always works out for the best. Our friends got our backs when we’re down.
How did you come to realize that you have untreated bipolar disorder?
Unfortunately, most people don’t know exactly what is going on with them until they have a major manic episode. This was the case for me, and a trip to the ER was my wake-up call. I’ll spare you the details, but I’m thankful for surviving, and it led me to get help. My life has become so much more peaceful since I’ve finally gotten my medication right and sought therapy. I’m finally able to focus enough to reach goals I’ve been planning for years.
Do you think music and figurative realism are some kind of therapy for you?
Music absolutely is. Before finding a therapist, this was my only way of coping and getting through any trauma in my life. I like that I’m able to turn an ugly situation into something beautiful, which eventually makes me thankful I was able to grow from it. As far as painting goes lately, it has become more stressful than relaxing. However, I’m about to move to a better location for my work schedule and will get a better routine down. Thankfully it’s more commissions coming in than I can keep up with right now, so technically, good problems.
You are a board member of Pancreatic Cancer Action, do you support any mental health charities as well?
Not currently, since I’ve only recently gotten my own mental health figured out, but this is something I definitely want to look into.
Could you tell more about Purple Palooza?
Purple Palooza is a charity music festival I started after my grandfather passed of Pancreatic Cancer. I have many local artists and vendors come out to perform and raise money through ticket sales for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network. Or as we call PanCan. We took a break from it in 2020, but as COVID is seeming to get under control, I am excited to start planning for the next one.
By the way, your art is amazing! What inspires you to paint?
Thank you! Honestly, the only reason I started painting was because I wanted to make a tribute painting of ScHoolboy Q’s dog Figueroa after he passed. Super random, haha. I could never find a good picture of him to reference, but eventually, I’ll get to make that for him. I started doing dog portraits anyways for a lot of people and realized I was really good at it. I eventually moved onto figurative realism, and this has become my favorite style. I’m doing really fun paintings now too. My favorite one I’m currently working on is a still from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.
When did you start assisting and helping dogs in need?
I started this in high school when I was just dog sitting for side money. I eventually started making business cards, and it turned out a lot of the clients that needed me were dogs with illnesses or recovering from surgery. I take some dogs to PT for my clients while they’re at work or out of town. I keep up with their medication schedules, give any shots they need, and of course, lots of love.
What is your ideal evening?
Simple, playing Call of Duty with my buddies.
Tell us about your upcoming EP – When do you plan on releasing your brand new album Placebo? What can fans expect?
Placebo is a story of a failed relationship and how it made me hit rock bottom basically but forced me to make a huge turning point in my life and grow from it. I could not be more thankful for this wake-up call too. I have the entire album written already, but like my painting issues, it’s the location I work in that has hindered me from finishing producing it. Luckily I get to move soon and can go into my creative hermit hole. I tend to produce really fast when I have the time and space to just be alone and work consistently. I’ve managed to produce many of my songs in one night from just pulling all-nighters. So this should go by pretty quickly once I’m settled in. I’m expecting late 2021. Though, I have some singles to release in the meantime as well.