Michelle Brooke acknowledges that most of the songs on her upcoming EP Let the Light In are "pretty heavy, emotionally." But the Nashville-based singer-songwriter approached "Get Away," premiering exclusively on Billboard today (April 2), with a different kind of mission in mind.
"I was going through a time when I wanted to write nothing but sad songs, so I wanted to escape and get away," Brooke, who co-wrote the track with Renn Anderson and Guthrie Brown, tells Billboard. "We started riffing on that [idea] and were like, 'What if we wrote, like, a fun, funky upbeat song that you could just escape to?' I want people to know I do gravitate towards emotional themes, but I do have this fun, eccentric personality I thought would come out in this fun song."
"Get Away" also let Brooke channel one of her influences as well. "I had a tambourine in my car; I always wanted to learn how to play it 'cause I idolized Stevie Nicks. I brought it into the write and that gave us something to vibe off of as well."
The six-song Let the Light In, coming out April 10 and produced by Mitch Dane at Sputnik Sound, is the solo artist debut for Brooke, who was raised in suburban Detroit and aspired to a musical theater career, including six years as a Carnival Cruise Lines performer, before moving to Nashville during 2016. She's been part of the Music City Toppers House Band at Acme Feed and Seed, which helped her build a community of supporters -- both other musicians as well as fans.
"I'm always scared and nervous about new things, but I tend to run towards the fire 'cause I love the challenge," notes Brooke, whose father, a retired physician, still plays in a Detroit area covers band.
"It was humbling to move [to Nashville] and be around so many talented people and to have to try to stand out and fit in at the same time. But I got really lucky; I was brought into a network of people who are extremely kind and giving and believed in me and fought for me. It really has become my community."
Though all performing possibilities are on hold right now, Brooke is still excited about Let the Light In's release. And after some radio support for her previous single, "Storm," she's looking forward to letting people hear even more of her musical makeup.
"It all started with Motown, with me falling in love with melodies and with Aretha Franklin and Otis Redding," Brooke explains. "Being from Hitsville, that's definitely in my blood, but I take from musical theater as well. I'm a very emotional and theatrical person; I wear my heart on my sleeve, and I’m not afraid to say how I feel. I think all of that comes out in my music."
Listen to “Get Away” below.