Brittany Howard is best known as the lead singer and guitarist for the American rock band Alabama Shakes. The band formed under the name "The Shakes" when Howard and bassist Zac Cockrell began playing covers and original songs together with drummer Steve Cockrell. Guitarist Heath Fogg later rounded out the lineup, and the band began playing shows at bars in Alabama and recording their debut album, Boys & Girls. They went on to sign a record deal with ATO Records, and released Boys & Girls in 2012 to critical acclaim and multiple Grammy Award nominations.
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Our latest album "Sound & Color" is available now: http://smarturl.it/shakes-scitunes
Catch us on tour! http://www.alabamashakes.com/tour/
Watch our performance of "Joe" on COLBERT from earlier this week: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7APKju97GJg
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I heard you guys used to do Black Sabbath covers. Which is your favorite?
Fairies Wear Boots.
Great question. Thank you.
saw you at Bonnaroo this past summer and you guys kicked asssssssss. My personal favorite part of any Alabama Shakes song is in "You ain't alone" when you hit the second 'take me away' note. gives me chills every time. you have a truly beautiful voice.
But my question is about Bonnaroo: what inspired your little speech before your set this year? it sounded extremely heartfelt and sincere. also, did you get a chance to check out any sets after/before yours? if so, who? thank you!!
I was overwhelmed by how many people were out there. It was emotional to see how far we had come from the last time we played. I did check out kendrick lamar for a bit. But, then i split to get some rest. I was tired. It was the last night of tour.
What's your dream collaboration?
My dream collaboration is:
Alive: Probably would like to work with Bjork and Prince
I was fortunate enough to see your set at Lollapalooza this past summer, and I have to say it was one of those sets that changed my life. Then, when you showed up on stage with Sir Paul, I nearly died frome excitement! I was in awe just being able to see a Beatle, so it must have been completely unreal for you to perform with one.
So I have two questions:
1. How did your performance with Paul come to fruition; what was the series of events that lead to that happening?
2. Which performances in your life have been the most memorable and why?
Paul's managers reached out to us a few weeks before and asked if I would be up for it. I guess it was because we were playing on the same stage back to back. We then discussed which song, went through some options and landed on Get Back. It was quite the experience. They treated me really well. I won't forget it.
My most memorable show is the first time in Boston and played the Paradise. It wasn't a big show, but the crowd was so alive and loud. It felt like everything was on at that point. I also remember the show in Dublin, we met a shaman who said a hindu prayer for us and it led to an amazing show.
Thanks for joining us. In your young career so far what performance/moment/venue/award/whatever stands out as the biggest holy shit! moment?
Playing at Prince's house. Holy Shit.
What's your favourite planet or moon to perform on so far?
Neptune for sure
After hearing Sound & Color on the Mr Robot finale I listened to all your songs and your voice is amazing. Do you have a song of yours that's a personal favorite?
Over My head
The first time I saw you was at the inaugural Bottlerock festival and you were far and away my favorite performance of the whole weekend. Do you find that you enjoy playing at live festivals more than regular shows? It felt like you truly loved every second of your set, which is something I can't say after many larger festival performances. Thanks for what you do, it's clear that rock and roll is still alive and well.
Thanks for your kind words. My favorite thing about performing is a great audience so I am happy either way. Could be a theater show, club show, festival stage, when the audience is great I get super into it.
On the Shakes' last release 'The Greatest' at 1:20 is that considered a time sig. change or tempo change?
Great question. It's a change of rhythm, still in 4/4
Brittany! You rock so hard.
Can you tell me something awesome or interesting about each member of the band?
Zac is really good at math
Steve is really interested in primitive survival
Heath is a great artist
Me, i am good with names
You worked for the US Postal Service. What is your favorite commemorative stamp?
Martin Luther King, Jr. Big hero of mine.
Hey! So who is your favorite EDM artist?
Fellow Alabamian here. Congratulations on ya'll's success and I love the new album.
My question: With the recent success of Alabama based musicians and bands (Ya’ll, St. Paul & the Broken Bones, DBT, Jason Isbell etc…) Who do think will be the next Alabama based act to "break through" in terms of commercial success? Who is the best Alabama act no ones heard of? I'd also like to know your thoughts on Lee Bains III and the Glory Fires and your thoughts on The Dexateens...
We are big fans of Lee Bains and Dexateens. I haven't been home enough to see local music. Let me get back to you.
What's your favorite venue to play and why?
When did you start to realize you had a lot of traction with people as a band? Was there a particular moment that stands out or did it kind of creep up?
My favorite venue is the Greek Theatre in Berkeley.
It crept up. Back in 2012, when we started touring in far away places and there were a lot of people there. It felt a bit surreal, like how do these people know about us. I remember one time specifically at the Belly Up in San Diego. There were 600 people in line. I was like "Wow".
What was the moment in your music career where you said "Wow, this is it."?
Also, as an Athens resident, what is your favorite place to eat and why is it the taco truck?
Sabor Latino, the best torta i have ever had in the entire world. Beyond amazing, 800 hwy 72 west.
Hello Brittany. My question to you is; who were your biggest musical influences growing up?
Growing up, Chuck Berry or Elvis Pressley
If you could create your dream festival lineup, what 5 acts would you book?
Side note, was so sad to have missed you guys in Toronto last month but had a wedding rehearsal dinner.......so hurry back!!
Open the day with a performance by Sly & the Family Stone, and then relax the mood a bit with Simon & Garfunkel, next up Buena Vista Social Club, then of course Led Zeppelin and then close with Queen.
You sing with the most soul I've ever heard from an artist. When you began performing in front of crowds of thousands, how nervous were you? Did you have any specific (maybe funny) things you thought of to calm anxiety?
I am like anyone else, i get nervous in certain situations. i try to not think of things and just remember that we are all human beings. It is great having other people on stage with me and to think that we are all going through the same thing.
Who designs your dresses?? They are amazing!!
Thanks. It is Christian Joy. Besides being a great designer, she is just an incredible human being.
Hey, I just got into you guys this summer, because of your song "don't wanna fight". Checked out your albums and totally fell in love, then saw you guys on YouTube, and then had to buy tickets to your show in Toronto.
How does that feel knowing that you have fans all over the world at this point. Is that weird that people all over the planet now talk about you? :)
It is surreal. I am just an ordinary person like anyone else. It is pretty strange now that you bring it up. It is really great.
Has Bo Hicks ever not been the coolest person in the room?
He always is the coolest. Duh. He is the mayor. Vote Bo 2016.
What advice can you give a 25 year old who is just starting to play guitar? Is it ever too late?
It is never too late. My advice would be to only play what you are interested in playing because you will stick to it. Don't follow fads. When your fingers start hurting, give them time to heal, but don't take too much time off
How bizarre was it to sing "The Weight" on stage with the likes of Elton John, Mavis Staples, etc at the Grammys a couple of years ago? I watch the video quite often, amazing tribute.
That was a lot of fun. Surreal, but fun.
Brittany I love you so much! You make all of us lady guitarists/songwriters proud.
My question is this: What is one piece of advice you'd give to other females trying to break through in the music industry?
Forget you are female. Music does not have a gender.
Do you still go out to eat, put gas in your car, stuff like that?
In bands of your size who handles finances?
We have accountants and I do everything myself. I actually just got up to sweep my porch for a second.
Brittany, i've noticed that you and your band are very involved with the community, especially when performing event's in their town (i.e. volunteer for an event where you perform and get to watch you for free). What inspired y'all to do this? And will you do this again?
Also thank you and your band for Sound and Color. I can tell the hard work y'all put into it, got me through some tough stuff this summer. You write my soul.
Thanks for the kind words. Our community is the world to us. We will definitely be doing more of it.
I've recently got into your music over the past week. I dig it! Can yo recommend me some tracks by other musicians to check out? Maybe some of your favorite songs?
Ave Maria by Aaron Neville
Like the morning dew by Laura MvVula
I'm Sorry you're sick by Ted Hawkins
Ain't no stopin' by Sister Nancy
Hot Dreams by Timber Timbre
Pizza or tacos?
Hiya gorgeous! How does it feel to be in the musical spotlight? Do you ever wish you could go back to the days when you weren't as widely known?
That is a good question. Yeah, sometimes i do quite frankly. I am really proud and happy with our success, but i also do love going home and hibernating and being normal Brittany from Athens, not Brittany Howard from Alabama Shakes.
Hey! Love your work! I saw you at Red Rocks this summer and the emotion was insane. Keep rocking it!
Okay, questions. Answer all or answer one, your pick:
1) What is your plan for Thunderbitch? Do you plan on keeping it a side project? How big do you want it to grow?
2) Is there any chance Thunderbitch might make a guest appearance at a Shakes concert?
3) I heard you really like Bowie (and you can tell through the Sound and Color video). Have you met him yet? What song would you love to cover by him?
4) What band or person, in all of music history, would you love to make an album with?
5) If you had to make a concept album, what would be the concept?
Bowie question, Five Years
Would be interesting to make an album with Brian Wilson
Hey Brittany! I remember watching you in a talent show at EL several years ago, and just marveling at how gifted you were way back then. You guys have come such a long way, and I just wanted to stop in and say how proud we are of you and the band. It's great to see local folks be so successful! Congrats, and I wish you continued success in the future.
Also, do you think you guys may play a show in the Huntsville area in the near future?
not in the near future, but probably down the road. Thanks so much for the support. I can't tell you how much the support from home means to us.
Hey Brittany! I think music has the power to teach, and change lives. You guys are perfect examples of that!
If you could teach the world one thing, what would it be?
To be more understanding
Hi Brittney. What are your favorite pizza toppings?
pineapple and pepperoni and onions
Hey Brittany! What's your go-to sandwich?
a nice patty melt
Should I make my fiancee dinner tonight or take her out to eat? She has been working long hours and I want to treat her nicely.
cook her dinner and bring her a nice bottle of whine
What about the next year's show in Buenos Aires?
We are looking forward it!
We are excited too. Love Argentina and all of South America.
What song makes you cry and do you see sounds?
I see sounds as colors. Little Green Apples by Tony Joe White
when did you realize that you wanted to be a musician ?
when I was 11 and I saw my first live concert in our high school gym
What are you listening to these days? Favorite artists out now?
Laura MvVula, harry Nillson, Gregory Porter
Hi Brittany! The performance of Joe was amazing! It instantly brought me back to the same emotional experience as when I saw all of you in concert. Do you have to do anything to prepare before a performance?
I just try to relax and try to focus and get in tune with what the rest of the band is doing on stage.
Hey Brittany. I actually saw you walking in downtown Florence when you played for Billy Reid. I was gonna run and say hey but I didn't wanna bother you. I wanted to tell you that I love y'all's fucking music and your words helped me out a lot when I first heard it. Hang Loose, Hold On, Goin To The Party. Dunes has the greatest melody ever. So anyways yeah thanks for going out and doing what you do.
Question: Been listening to any new artists?
Laura MvVula and Gregory porter, Delsondes. Hiatus Kaiyote