Despite what you may be going through in this COVID-19 era, remember to take time to appreciate the simple pleasures, says Bahamian songstress Brettina Robinson who over the course of recent months has released the singles – “Bop Baiye” and “Simple Pleasures” to tide her fans over until she releases her full album under the title “New Day.”
“It’s about appreciating the simple things in life,” said the Los Angeles-based Brettina of the single “Simple Pleasures” which she co-wrote with singer, songwriter, vocal producer and dancer, Tricia Battani in 2019.
She said 2020 was the perfect time to release the song owing to the unprecedented times.
“It feels like most of us are ever so grateful of the little things – I know I am. I’m hoping this song can ease the minds of those who may be having a bad day or season, those who can’t change the outcome but can live with it … or just be grateful for being alive.”
“Simple Pleasures” is a follow-up single to the hip-swaying “Bop Baiye” on which Brettina seamlessly fuses traditional jazz with island tones while remaining true to her jazz influences on the single that is about regret and/or whatever a person has encountered in life that they’ve gone through, learned from and they’ve overcome and they’re stronger than ever.
Her long-awaited sophomore project ventures into classic jazz, world music and island rhythms.
As for the title of her yet to be released sophomore album “New Day” – Brettina said she chose the title because it feels like a new beginning to her.
“I feel more fearless, more honed into my craft and have shed the hurt and pain that once was. Now, I laugh at the hiccups and mistakes and continue to learn to be better.”
With an ever-changing music industry, Brettina said she hopes “New Day” sees the light of day. If it doesn’t, she said her fans can expect nine singles to be released.
“The music industry seems to morph into something new every six months or so. I’m hearing that it’s all about putting out singles and albums are becoming a thing of the past. If this is true, you’ll have nine singles releasing – starting spring of 2021.”
But she says she is a lover of albums which are a story-journey that she likes to take the listener on.
“I’ll stand strong for an album, [but] if you get all singles – just know I tried.”
“New Day” would follow her freshman CD “Brettina” and her first single “Bahamian Girl” which was released a decade ago.
She said she has hundreds of songs to choose from, written throughout her life, and going back to her youthful days growing up on New Providence for material. And she’s added to that collection through COVID-19 which she said helped rather than hindered.
“The only hindrance is I’ve developed ‘demoitis’.” Demoitis is said to be what happens when you listen to one version of something so much that when it’s properly recorded it’s difficult to accept.
“I’ve lived with the recordings for too long, so now when there’s a slight change I freak out,” said Robinson. “It’s to the point where my producer won’t respond to me. I don’t think he wants me to take him on my neurotic ride. I’ll get through this – I hope.”
Brettina’s self-titled debut album “Brettina” took listeners on an intimate voyage through the journey of her life, and her sophomore project emerges as a bolder, slightly edgier one in which she reveals more of who she is as “the new face of jazz.”
It’s taken Brettina almost a decade to release her sophomore project because she found herself in a complicated contract for which she said she would have had to compromise the integrity of her image/music or she could get out of it by biding her time and sitting out the length of the contract.
She decided to sit out.
“It was the best thing I could have done,” she told The Nassau Guardian.
“I learned so much more about the music business and I was able to weed out the people who did not have my best interest at hand. It also allowed me to really woodshed and hone my craft. I honestly believe that it wasn’t until I removed my hands from the steering wheel…I realized that God was steering the entire time. I just needed to trust his process which has led me to an amazing Grammy Award-nominated and multi-platinum producer G’harah Degeddingseze and co-writer/vocal producer Tricia Battani.”
Whatever the process she had to go through, it’s good to get a piece of Brettina again. Her jazzy tones make you yearn for a cold day so that you have every excuse in the world to don super comfy clothes, curl up in a big armchair with a good book and sip a cup of java or tea while you have her in the background on constant rotation or even just to be still as her sound flows in and out of you. As we’re in The Bahamas – it’s like waves washing over you. The originality of her refreshing sound will appeal to both jazz purists and younger audiences drawn to more contemporary mainstream music.
Brettina grew up in a show business family – her mother is gospel singer Leona Coakley Spring, and her uncles are Theo and Kirk Coakley of the popular 1970 funk/soul group and R&B band T-Connection.
At the age of five, her family identified her singing talent and began nurturing her skills.
Brettina has said that while many children watched cartoons, she studied her uncle’s performances on Soul Train and began developing her own craft. By the time she finished high school at C.I. Gibson, she had already penned hundreds of songs.
Her family relocated to the United States after she was awarded a scholarship to the University of Washington in Seattle after winning the Miss Bahamas Talented Teen competition.
She counts Nancy Wilson, Shirley Bassey, Lena Horne, Sade, Adele and LIRA amongst her influences.