Regarded by many as one of the most talented up-and-coming artists in the business, DARIEN BROCKINGTON is proving that he truly is one of R&B’s brightest new stars. Those familiar with Darien’s work know him from his appearances on projects from The Foreign Exchange (Connected) and numerous album and mixtape projects with Atlantic Records hip hop group, Little Brother. Darien’s memorable contributions to those projects have won the hearts of fans all across the world. Drawing from a wide range of influences like Donny Hathaway, Faith Evans, Daryl Coley and Sandy Patti, Darien’s music is a reflection of both the past and present. His music speaks of life, love, faith and so much more. Darien has worked with a host of talented artists, having toured with gospel great William Becton and R&B star Jaheim. He has been featured on projects by hip hop legend Pete Rock and UK “drum & bass” pioneers, 4Hero. And of course Darien has recorded extensively with Little Brother and the rest of the Hall of Justus family. At last, after buzzing around hip-hop and R&B’s underground, Darien has surfaced with his long-awaited debut album, Somebody to Love. Clutch was able to catch up with Darien during his tour with Little Brother to find out more about this up and coming star.
Clutch: Most of us were introduced through your numerous collaborations with Little Brother. How did that relationship come about?
Well, I’ve known LB since we were in college at NCCU. We had a couple of classes together and we ran in some of the same circle of friends. So, they were more like associates. That association changed when I ran into Pooh a couple of years after college at the bank where I was working. We did a quick catch up on what we were up to over the last couple of years. Of course, that conversation turned towards music. During that conversation, we decided to do a collaboration together that ended up on his Sleepers album. Tay heard the record and wanted to put me on the Pete Rock and Foreign Exchange projects. And the rest is history.
Clutch: With you being from North Carolina was it hard to break into the industry? Yeah, very much so. Truthfully, there isn’t a music scene in the area. NC has a local mentality. I know the only reason why doors were opened for me was because of my association with LB. If I had not known them, I probably would have had to move. Honestly, even with the association it’s still difficult. At times, I still consider moving.
Clutch: You’re slated to become the next big artist in R&B/Soul. How does that make you feel?
I think those are big shoes to fill, but I gladly accept the challenge. I think it’s really cool that people see that type of potential in me. However, at the end of the day, I just want to be heard, so I guess I’m fine with what expectations are thrown at me. Realistically, the only standard I can live by is my own. As long as I’m happy with the journey I am taking and where it takes me, I’m good!
Clutch: How would you describe your sound?
Simply put…R&B with a lot of soul.
Clutch: You are currently working on your new album–when is it dropping?
Yes, I am currently working on one. I haven’t determined a name for it yet. I’m still in the beginning stages. Tour has slowed down the process, but when I get back home, I’ll be picking up the pace. The plan is to have a release in the summer or fall of next year. It’s coming though.
Clutch: What are some of your favorite songs on the album?
On Somebody to Love? Well, I would have to say “I Miss You;” “Think it Over,” and “More and More.” Really, I love the whole thing, but sometimes those three stick out more than others do.
Clutch: Who are some of your musical influence?
Well, there is Faith Evans, Brandy, Stevie Wonder, Donny Hathaway, Daryl Coley, Kim Burrell and Commissioned. The list is so much longer, but that’s who pops off the top of my head.
Clutch: What artist are currently in-rotation in your iPod?
Honestly, right now I’m listening to tracks trying to figure out what’s going on this next album. If I’m not listening to that, I’m probably listening to some old Brandy or Faith.
Clutch: You’re currently on tour with Little Brother. Do you have any crazy groupie/fan stories? Ha, Ha… What happens on tour stays on tour. Seriously, there’s nothing to report so far. I still got a month left though!
Clutch: Is there anything else you want us to know about Darien B.?
Well, if you want to know more about me, look me up on MySpace. That’s www.mysace.com/darienakadbrock. Other than that, I think you covered it!!