LISTEN TO NATHAN BROOKS SONGS
NATHAN BROOKS VIDEOS
When defining his sound, local songwriter and musician Nathan Brooks mixes existing genres to fit his creative credo: “soul rock.”
“Soul has the motion and emotion, and rock brings the energy,” Brooks said.
His music is simple, but deliberately so. Brooks’ vocals, melodies and messages merge to create a legato blend of warm tones and soul-soothing dynamics.
But almost everything that Brooks does musically depends on his choosing the right words about life, which he composes from his experiences and the experiences of others as he perceives them.
Brooks is launching his new album “Dream in Truth” Friday night at a concert at the Ritz-Carlton Golf Resort.
He said he’s become “a bit obsessive” about creating songs “that matter.” That authenticity has become his self-ascribed mission as a songwriter, musician and vocalist.
“I think there’s something more captivating for me ... to create something from nothing,” Brooks said. “And the challenge for me is to continue pushing myself with the story and the music side of it.”
Brooks, who was born and raised in Kansas City, Mo., has been playing the piano and bass since he was in elementary school.
Music wasn’t always thrilling to him. When Brooks had to practice on his mother’s piano at home, he’d grow tired of having to play the same simple songs over and over again.
“I didn’t like practicing ‘Mary Had a Little Lamb.’ I would try variations of (it) ... and (my parents) would be upstairs so they would never know,” Brooks said.
Even though Brooks was becoming familiar with the piano at home, at school he gravitated to a much different instrument.
“I desperately wanted to play the big bass in the corner,” he said.
Although his instrument of choice wasn’t as convenient to carry around as a harmonica would have been, Brooks’ parents obliged him.
“We had a (Ford) Taurus in elementary school. We would shove the bass in the back seat of the car and the scroll would hang out of the window,” he said.
Because Brooks can play three instruments — guitar, piano and bass — he said he considers his songs from multiple musical perspectives before he ever touches an actual instrument.
“It helps me think about where I’m writing from. I can conceptualize what that song sounds like, what the base sounds like, what the keyboard sounds like,” Brooks said.
Sometimes his lyrical vulnerability means he has to be very candid with his private emotions.
Last December he and his wife, Stacy, suffered through a miscarriage, and one of his songs shares their struggle.
“It’s amazing when looking back at the moments and how hard it was,” Brooks said.
The couple has gone from that season of pain to a season of hope. Stacy Brooks is now about six months pregnant with a son whom the couple expects to be born this December. The couple have lived in Naples since 2007.
Brooks believes that sharing their previous tragedies and present joys with listeners allows him to connect with others who have been through similar situations and who may have no where to turn for comfort.
“Unfortunately there’s so many people that haven’t (talked about it). I think it’s a great thing to say, ‘I’ve been there, and I have a baby on the way,’ ” he said.
The thoughtful lyrics Brooks has composed, combined with his vocal and musical styling choices, have earned him a national, and increasingly more global, fan base.
On Reverbnation.com, a website that markets music for about 500,000 artists around the world, Brooks’ music is ranked among the top 30 artists globally in the Christian and Gospel genre.
His faith, which stems from his childhood and his own personal commitments, is reflected overtly in some of his Christian worship songs, but is more subtly threaded into his songs about heartbreak, love and social justice.
“I think it’s a mainstream sound and ... I think that people that didn’t grow up in a church can connect with and feel it,” he said.
Brooks said he gets Facebook and Twitter messages every day from fans who say his music has made a difference in their lives, which he believes validates his hard work.
“As the music is getting out there ... the people that are listening have that connection. There’s a missing segment of songs that can ... bring people to their faith (by) using lyrics,” Brooks said.
Since the release of his first album in 2005, Brooks has gone from playing anywhere that would let him on stage, from churches to coffee shops, to hosting the launch party for his latest album, “Dream in Truth,” at the Ritz-Carlton in Naples.
Still, he doesn’t want to get caught up in the milestones.
“I really want to be humble about it ... and focus on the important part, which is writing songs, being true to myself as a person, as a husband and a child of God, and to be able to use (my) talents and gifts to do something great,” Brooks said.