We had the good fortune of connecting with Brettina Robinson and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Brettina, can you tell us more about your background and the role it’s played in shaping who you are today?
I’m originally from The Bahamas, Nassau to be exact. I come from a very music infused lineage. My grandmother had ten kids, so my grandfather wasted no time honing their voices and musical skills. The women were known as The Upsetters and my Uncle Theo was the self taught pianist. He accompanied them with Classical, Rhythm and Blues, Jazz and Rock. He later went on to form the Funk and R&B group T-Connection, who was signed to Capitol Records and posted Billboard hits in the 70’s and 80’s. Now they are considered Bahamian Treasures. My mother is a Traditional Gospel Singer with reminiscence of Mahelia Jackson. She has supported Aids Ministries and Homeless Centers worldwide through her music. I also grew up listening to my father practice his saxophone, as neighboring kids and I played and climbed fruit trees in the backyard. When I could no longer hear the music I knew that I had roamed too far from home. Music has always played a part in my life, a life that has not been an easy climb but well worth every step.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I’m a professional Singer/Songwriter. I’ve been singing for as long as I can remember. Music is my life! I couldn’t imagine a world without it. Influence from many musical genres has sculpted my own eclectic sound. From my love of straight ahead Jazz, modern, classic and smooth to music from my Bahamian homeland, Calypso, Rake n Scrape, Reggae and African Tribal Beats. My first album titled “Brettina” was more or less a traditional, smooth, gospel Jazz album. It was a blessing to have all live musicians. There was a live string section and I even got to work with with an African vocalist who taught me a little Zulu for the song titled “One”. Everything seemed to be going perfectly. I was on schedule for tours and Summer concerts. But as quick as the celebration started..it ended. I won’t go into too much detail but like a lot of artists, especially musicians, I had to weigh business versus integrity. I had to decide whether I’d sit out 6 or so years (while my contract expired) or go on being the “someone” that I genuinely wasn’t. I fearfully chose to sit out. That decision changed me. As an Artist you just want the world to hear and appreciate what you create. I always hope to touch someone with this thing that I love so much, that I’ve poured so much of myself into. And I suppose I thought those around me wanted the same. I just had to learn, maybe harder than most, to balance the business with the passion. And I had to learn who I could love and who I could trust. Sitting on the sidelines of such a promising debut was scary. I was afraid that I’d be forgotten, that my time would expire, or that future investors would balk at the false start. I learned so much about myself during this period. I learned the real business of music. I thought I was grown but realized very quickly that we all continue to learn and grow until our eyes close. I also realized that fear is a very powerful drug! If you’ve never experienced it, you’ll walk through the fire with no hesitation. If you have, It holds you close and reminds you what fire really feels like. I thought, If I forgot about music, stayed busy with other jobs, with different charities, that maybe I could forget about my love for music and fear would release me. I was constantly trying to pull my heart away but music always found me. I remember hearing words to a song one night and I wrote it down, prayed, woke up the next morning and it just flowed. The next week I stumbled across some awesome Investors. A few weeks later, I was introduced to my Producer and Co-writer. The song that pulled me away from fear is my current single “Bop Baiye“. I think the lyrics say it all. If fear is stagnating your dreams, goals, your life.. then it’s time to write a new song!
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
This is tough.. I have to admit, I’m a hermit. If she is my best friend then she’d beg me to make Bahamian Food… everyday! It would be Boil Fish and Johnnie cake for breakfast, Seafood Fritters with a salad for lunch. And for dinner I’d make Curry Chicken or Lemon Chicken with Plantains and Coconut Rice. The following day, We’d pack a bag, jump in the convertible Mini Cooper and drive to San Diego. First, we’d make a quick stop at Alfred’s Coffee shop for a vanilla latte, (1 shot of espresso) with oat-milk and a touch of vanilla. I’m sure she’d be hooked like I am now. We’d enjoy the drive down, listening to some instrumental Jazz. When there, we’d ask the locals for great places to eat. And since neither of us are drinkers, I’m sure we’d find an organic juice bar and order a protein shake with extra blueberries and a dash of ginger. I love to drive so we’d drive some more. She’d have to listen to me ponder on whether to adopt another dog (my dog Passed in 2015) from the East Valley Animal Shelter or wait a bit longer. The next day, of course, she’d want to do all the touristy stuff so I’d pretend to be excited about showing her that side of L.A. I’d probably talk her into trying an awesome Vegan restaurant called Sage/Culver City but she’ll insist on Roscoe’s Chicken and Waffles. She’ll feel guilty the next day and beg me to find a detox bar. We’ll walk up Runyon Canyon. And that’s it, she’ll have to fly out the following day because I’ve got work to do. I’m hoping I’ll be gearing up for a tour😊
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I’d like to shoutout The Black Lives Matter Movement and the young people who continue to peacefully march. They are our future!! I’m so optimistic for the new safer tomorrow, for our people, for my young black son! This movement has brought most of us together as human beings with new awareness and strength. We are watching and making history. I’d like to thank my mum, for teaching/showing me how not to give up. No matter how long and tough the journey. I’d also like to thank my private investors for giving me the opportunity and trust to just be me!! To my old, new and in between fans… Thank you..thank you for supporting what I love so dearly!! Thank you Tricia Battani and PK for co-writing and producing this sophomore project. ‘New Day’ To my awesome team-Team Brettina💕 And to this platform for showcasing different voices to be heard.
Nominate someone: ShoutoutSocal is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.