BRITTANY HOWARD jamie LP
As the frontwoman and guitarist for Alabama Shakes, Brittany Howard has become one of music's most celebrated figures. The band has won four Grammy Awards and topped the Billboard 200 with the Gold-certified Sound & Color, the follow-up to their Platinum debut album, Boys & Girls. In between albums and tours with Alabama Shakes, however, Howard grows restless. "To me, there is no time off – I'm a creative person and I need to create, or I just feel weird, not fully human," she says. She's channeled that relentless creativity into her solo debut Jaime, her most revelatory work yet.
Howard recorded Jaime after a cross country drive that took her from Nashville to a small house in Topanga, CA – a rustic Los Angeles county town wedged between the mountains and the beach. She titled the album after her sister, who taught her to play the piano and write poetry, and who died of cancer when they were still teenagers. "The title is in memoriam, and she definitely did shape me as a human being," explains Howard. "But, the record is not about her. It's about me. I'm pretty candid about myself and who I am and what I believe. Which is why I needed to do it on my own."
While Howard admits it was daunting, stepping out alone from her work with Alabama Shakes and revealing so much of herself, it was a necessary step. "I turned 30 and I was like, ‘What do I want the rest of my life to look like?'" she recalls. "Do I want to play the same songs until I'm 50 and then retire, or do I do something that's scarier for me? Do I want people to understand me and know me, do I want to tell them my story? I'm very private, but my favorite work is when people are being honest and really doing themselves."
Lead track "‘History Repeats' is as much a personal song as it is a song about us as a human species. Our times of success may propel us forward, but our repeating failures hold us back from evolving into harmony," notes Howard.