[UPDATE 3/12]: Brittany Howard’s March 18 concert at The Arlington Theatre has been postponed to August. Goldenvoice released the following statement:
“As part of the Governor’s recommendation on suspending large gatherings, we must confirm the postponement of Brittany Howard at the Arlington Theatre. The rescheduled date is planned for a weekend evening in August yet to be announced. All previously purchased tickets will be honored at the new date. Refunds may be issued at point of purchase. Thank you for your continued support and understanding.”
The original story follows:
With the 2019 solo release Jaime, Brittany Howard stepped away from her role as lead singer of Alabama Shakes and into a new phase of passionate self-invention. For Jaime, which is named after an older sister who died tragically at age 13, Howard wrote all the songs, played all the guitar parts, and pushed herself to become an even more adventurous artist than she was on the Shakes’ groundbreaking Sound & Color in 2015.
Weaving together a wide range of influences — vintage soul, as always, but also Prince, hip-hop, acoustic ballads, and psychedelia — Howard nevertheless made something concrete and coherent out of a life that has been changing rapidly for a decade. When she arrives at The Arlington Theatre on Wednesday, March 18, she will come with a great band, awesome back-up singers, and a renewed sense of purpose that makes all of the music she’s playing right now sound joyful and heroic. The Independent caught up with Howard by phone a few weeks ago. The transcript below has been edited for length and clarity.
What did it mean for you to make this record, and how does it relate to how you came to be an artist? I think this record was a really personal dive into how I even got here in the first place. It’s like a lot of different chapters: my life from childhood to now. And my sister has always been a big part of my life. Even though she isn’t here, you know, she’s right here. And I’ve always been really aware of that.
How does it feel to take your power and put it onstage? What’s it like to look out and see four or five thousand people and then use your voice to bring that group together? It’s really hard to put into words, actually, because sometimes I’m so present with the emotionality of performing. And the songs that I’m singing, I mean, I’m present with everything, like, why I’m hitting this note or how hard I’m hitting this note and what next moves I’m going to take. Everything is so alive that sometimes I forget that I’m there. It’s kind of hard to talk about what it feels like because the feeling is so overwhelming, almost like a rocket ship blasting off or some sort of animal or something.
That’s a degree of presence that’s beyond simply being focused or paying attention — when the self kind of goes away. That is what it feels like — the self does go away. And then there’s just all of this energy and all these people, but I don’t see them. I feel easy. When I’m right with all this like rocket fuel, then I’m just out of there.
Is that a rare experience, to be in that state? Everybody has that power. And everyone can feel that calling to just be in their power and be in the present moment and feel things for a second. I feel like in this day and age, people don’t connect to that as much because they have other ways. They think that cell phones, computers, watching or distracting them or whatever is fulfilling, but this connection is a necessary thing, and that’s why I do what I do.
The last few years, maybe even just the last 18 months, you’ve made a lot of personal decisions: You got married, you went solo, and you moved to a new place. How has it been to take control of so many aspects of your life? I feel like I’m finally living. I feel like, oddly enough, with all the wonderful things that were happening to me, I was like, “Oh, look what’s happening now.” … It’s so amazing. But I never really stopped to think, “Well, what do I want?” Because I was like, “I love what I’m getting, this is wonderful.” But then once I realized I can steer the ship, and I started participating in my own life more, it made things challenging. That’s really what I’ve done, is made everything just kind of more difficult for myself, but in a good way.
4•1•1 | Brittany Howard will perform on Wednesday, March 18, 8 p.m., at The Arlington Theatre (1317 State St.). See thearlingtontheatre.com.