Erica was contacted by Living Blues Magazine Contributing Writer and Blues Legend Deitra Farr for an interview for a “Blues News: Artist to Artist” article for the September 2021 issue of the magazine. The Artist to Artist section spotlights Blues Women worldwide, and Erica is honored to be among that number!
Erica Brown has been selected for a chapter in the newest Chicken Soup for the Soul Series, entitled “I’m Speaking Now: Black Women Share Their Truth in 101 Stories of Love, Courage and Hope”. Erica’s story was selected from thousands of entries, and she is thrilled to be included, and now a member of the Chicken Soup Family! The book will be on sale June 1, 2021 at bookstores nationwide, and at the Chicken Soup website, https://www.chickensoup.com
Erica Brown and Theo Wilson in ‘Honorable Disorder.’ Photo by Celia Herrera/URBN Brands.
The new Emancipation Theater tackles the difficult issue of how we support our veterans when they return from war
MEET ERICA BROWN
Erica Brown, who has been called “Colorado’s Queen of the Blues,” plays Nancy Foster, mother of a Denver military veteran struggling with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in the new play Honorable Disorder. This is the inaugural production by the new Emancipation Theater Company, and is being hosted at the Cleo Parker Robinson Dance Theatre. Brown, namesake of the former Erica Brown Band, has worked with some of the finest artists in the world, including B.B. King, Al Green, Delbert McClinton, Tab Benoit, Kenny Neal and, most recently, Todd Park Mohr of Big Head Todd and the Monsters.
- Hometown: Sikeston, Mo.
- Home now: Denver
- Training: Degree in Management from the University of Phoenix
- What’s your handle? @ericabrownenter on Twitter and @ericabrownentertainment on Instagram
- Website: ericabrownentertainment.com (photo at right by Steve Mack)
- Twitter-sized bio: Nerdy girl who loves the blues, history, reading, African-American science fiction and romance — and her family.
- One role you were completely miscast for: Hasn’t happened yet. I’ve been uniquely suited to every role I’ve played so far.
- Bucket-list role: It doesn’t exist: I’d love to play a lead role as a magical teacher-mentor — who also just happens to be a witch or a sorceress — -n a Harry Potter-style stage play with black characters fighting the forces of evil in America. Black women are not heralded enough for their lives as wise women, crones, witches and Curandera in American theatre and film, and such a production has never been put on, as far as I know.
- What’s playing on your Spotify? Any old guard blues woman such as Koko Taylor, Big Mama Thornton (pictured right), Memphis Minnie (or Erica Brown )
- What’s one thing most people don’t know about you? One of my original passions in life was to be a librarian, because I so love history. I would have made a great museum curator. I love old things.
- One time you saw greatness play out in front of you: When my truly stage-frightened daughter stepped up to the musical plate and slayed an audience of 6,000 people singing at her first real gig — at the Telluride Blues Festival!
- One thing we should be doing to foster the next generation of theatregoers? Let’s engage them in difficult conversations through theatre. Our play Honorable Disorder has strong language and situations, but we should not necessarily shelter our youth from the realities of life. One of our attendees last weekend was a young teenager, and she absolutely loved and understood everything about our play.
- What is Honorable Disorder all about? Honorable Disorder, written by pioneering local hip-hop and spoken-word artist Jeff Campbell, tells the story of DeShawn Foster, a native of Denver’s Five Points neighborhood and a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Following the loss of his commanding officer and father figure, DeShawn struggles to hold on to his “Soldier’s Creed” back home in Denver.
- Why does Honorable Disorder matter? Because we are tackling the difficult issue of how we support our veterans when they return from war. It also explores the difficulties the families of returning servicemen and women face, and the scarcity of support they receive. We also talk about and portray homelessness, drug addiction and poverty. These are important conversations that should be at the forefront of how we care for and about ourselves as a nation.
- What do you hope audiences get out of seeing Honorable Disorder? A sincere desire to go back into their communities and make real change happen for our vets and their families and support systems. The conversations and help must be real and ongoing. They’ve been there for us, now it’s time for us to step up and care for them.
- What do you want to get off your chest? Let’s all just try to love each other without anger, rancor and violence, please. We can do it!
Denver Center Teaching Artist Devon James, left, and Erica Brown in ‘Honorable Disorder.’ Photo by Celia Herrera/URBN Brands.
Honorable Disorder: Ticket information
- Presented by Emancipation Theater Company
- Written and directed by Jeff Campbell
- Performances through April 29
- At Cleo Parker Robinson Dance, 119 Park Avenue West
- Tickets at EmancipationTheater.com
or email firstname.lastname@example.org
- 8 p.m., Friday, April 20
- 8 p.m. Saturday, April 21
- 6 p.m., Sunday, April 22
- 8 p.m., Friday, April 27
- 8 p.m. Saturday, April 28
- 6 p.m., Sunday, April 29
- Theo Wilson, Erica Brown, Chet W. Sisk, Corey Rhoads and Devon James
Erica was contacted by Grammy-nominated Bluesman Carl Gustafson, (Blinddog Smokin’ Blues Band) and was asked to contribute vocals to a project he was producing, along with 2017 and 2021 Grammy Winner in Traditional Blues, Blues Man Bobby Rush. That project has blossomed into the epic music novel “Rush Through History”, the story of Rush’s family, the Ellis Family. Along with Rush on harmonica, other musicians on the project include Blues Woman Teeny Tucker (daughter of Tommy Tucker, writer of the 1963 Hit “Hi Heel Sneakers”), Ms. Tata Vega (the “musical voice” of the character “Shug” in the movie The Color Purple), gospel vocalist Linda McCrary, vocalist Natalie Cadet, famed gospel, rock, blues, jazz and funk B-3 organist Cory Henry, along with Mississippi Hill Country blues (and sons of R.L. Burnside) brothers Gary and Duwayne Burnside, Blues Guitar master Lightnin’ Malcolm, African Folklorist and master Djembe player Weedie Braimah, Cuban drummer Pedrito Martinez, and guitarist George Dez. For more information on the project, go here: https://www.facebook.com/Rush-Through-History-610241262506160/
In January 2016, Erica attended and Co-Emceed the National Women in Blues Celebration in Memphis, TN as a part of the Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge Week. While there, superstar photographer Danny Clinch (along with Journalist Toure’) was photographing the event for a Smithsonian Magazine article on the Blues, and asked Erica if he could take her photo. She agreed, and out of that short photo session, one of those photos has emerged as the two-page splash for the September 2016 article, “Black and Blues” as part of the Black In America series, written by Toure’. We send our thanks to Michele Seidman, CEO of National Women In Blues for the opportunity to be a part of the celebration, Danny Clinch for the stunning photo, Toure’ for the wonderful article, and of course, Smithsonian Magazine!
In early May 2016, Erica was approached by Todd Park Mohr, also known as Big Head Todd, of Big Head Todd and the Monsters, and was asked to “Lend Her Blues” to a track of Todd’s latest project for his Big Head Blues Club. The track was cut at E-Town Studio in Boulder, CO, and, along with Todd, also in attendance recording that day were Blues Giants Grammy Winner Billy Branch, Mud Morganfield (son of Muddy Waters) and Chicago’s favorite son Ronnie Baker Brooks. The resulting effort, called “Way Down Inside-a tribute to Willie Dixon” is available on Pledge Music and iTunes! The resulting tour in Fall 2016 was a huge success!!
For the last year or so, Erica and MJ have been adding their support vocals to the band to the band “Tracksuit Wedding” Called “A Band on the Move” by the Denver Post, Tracksuit has played Red Rocks with Dwight Yoakam and Big Head Todd and the Monsters, and shows with such stars as Beth Hart and William Topley, and festivals such as KAABOO and Bumbershoot. The brainchild of Libby Anschutz and Lead Vocalist Ali Pashel Frankfurt, this band is a soulful stew of Rock, Blues and Good Times!!