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Courtney Brooke is a freelance composer, arranger and top-line writer based in Phoenix, Arizona. Her experience has come from pursuing a B.A. in Music Composition and minoring in Piano Performance at Arizona State University, as well as working as the Executive Composer in SoundWaves Productions. With her studio experience, she gained credentials by working with different artist, one including writing a arrangement for an American Idol contestant of 2015, Chloe Santos. Amongst her position with the studio, Courtney is involved with her own personal project currently writing two albums with her band, UltraVirus, a grunge-rock Radiohead-like inspired band. She is soon to tour across the US.
Courtney's interest in music expands through all genre's. In 2015 she dabbled with DJ's across the valley writing Top-Lines, as well as collaborating on a Electro-Swing like pieces. Becoming involved with the DJ culture, she has meet and work with DJ's such as Feed Me and Designer Drugs. In regards to Courtney's involvement, she was inducted in 2016 as Classical Revolution Phoenix the Event Curator.
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Interview with Courtney Brooke
Q: Describe the most common type of work you do for your clients.
A: My work and experience variates in all genres. My strongest genre would be orchestrating, classically and because of that I can write in any particular style.
Q: What other musicians or music production professionals inspire you?
A: It depends the type of work I'm doing mainly for inspiration wise...My band for instance, UltraVirus, I would say the three artist that inspire me the most would be Radiohead, Queens of the Stone Age, and Muse.
Q: Tell us about your studio setup.
A: I have two keyboards, Fantom X8 as well as Yamaha S08. My equipment for recording is Logic Pro X3 as well as Sonar X2 Studio Edition. I use Sibelius 7 for notating my scores.
Q: What's your typical work process?
A: I will usually sit at my piano first when writing a melody, and then as far as directions of where I want to go, what sort of emotions I want to provoke and how, I start writing notes down. Usually by the first day I'll have the main melody developed, then I start diving into counter melody as well as how that will tie into the climax. I don't just write and keep writing it, I'll work on different sections and then find a way to bind it all together.
Q: What do you bring to a song?
A: I have a specialty for making things eerie. Of course it's easy to write something happy but I've been told I have a way of provoking a unexplained emotion. Eerie is the word how most describe, but what I believe that means is I've touched on a emotion that someone just can't really explain if it's happy or sad, but they've felt something impactful.
Q: What's your strongest skill?
A: Writing quickly and efficiently is my strongest skill. I make it a point to write three songs a day. I constantly am practicing, even though I've always had a natural talent for writing, it's true the more you practice the easier it becomes.
Q: What type of music do you usually work on?
A: I work in all types of music, from EDM, to heavy metal, to orchestrating scores.
Q: Can you share one music production tip?
A: Don't try to edit your midi all the time. Sometimes imperfections give it your character and style. Having things quantized doesn't necessarily mean it's going to be perfect. Perfect sound can come through imperfections.
Q: Which artist would you like to work with and why?
A: I would love to work with Jared Leto. He has such amazing vocals that can range in so many different styles.
Q: How would you describe your style?
A: Epic, Emotional and Eerie.
Q: What was your career path? How long have you been doing this?
A: I've had this dream since a young child starting on the piano at 6. When I started writing my own compositions at 8, I knew there is nothing else on Earth I would be doing for the rest of my life.
Q: If you were on a desert island and could take just 5 pieces of gear, what would they be?
A: Keyboard, Drums, Laptop, Mic, and a power generator.
Q: What advice do you have for a customer looking to hire a provider like you?
A: Give as much detail as possible so I can paint your picture of sound to the best of my ability.
Q: What questions do you ask prospective clients?
A: Most important question: what three artist inspire your sound the most? I can get a very good description of what their personal style is with that question.
Q: What's the biggest misconception about what you do?
A: Being broke all the time. A lot of it is due to putting in so much work on the art side, and not enough time on the business side. It's possible to be an artist and not broke.
Q: What questions do customers most commonly ask you? What's your answer?
A: How long does it take you to get a piece done? Depending on the detail of the piece, like a top-line for instance, takes me shorter than a day, and a full orchestral 7 minute piece can take me two weeks. I'm honest with my answer when I say I can write fast yet still withhold the same amount of quality.
Q: What do you like most about your job?
A: I love the fact I am in charge, I run my own business, and I have so much freedom of expression. Never do I have to put on a business suite and fake a smile. I'm me, and that's all I want to be in life.
Q: What's your 'promise' to your clients?
A: I promise I can make your vision come to life. I am easy to work with, and I care about my final product to you. I will always listen to your input and criticism with open ears.
Q: Analog or digital and why?
A: Digital. I like the convenience much more.
Q: Is there anyone on SoundBetter you know and would recommend to your clients?
A: This is actually my first experience on SoundBetter. I haven't ran into anyone on here that I am familiar with, but when I do I'll be sure to add that here.
Q: What are you working on at the moment?
A: Currently working on Top-Lines for a few different DJ's, my bands album as well as some collaborative work with another film composer!
Q: Tell us about a project you worked on you are especially proud of and why. What was your role?
A: I really am proud when I wrote the arrangement for Chloe Santos American Idol contestant last year in 2015. I wrote an arrangement of Tori Kelly's Eyelashes, and it turned out to be a full string and piano jazzy and dark sound vs. the original, a happy bubbly acoustic sound.