Harpist Brandee Younger Defies Musical Stereotypes

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Brandee Younger is a classically trained harpist based in New York. She has worked and recorded with world renowned musicians and producers from jazz (Jack DeJohnette, Ravi Coltrane, Wycliffe Gordon, Charlie Haden, Reggie Workman and more) to hip hop (Common, Talib Kweli, Cassie, Ryan Leslie and Drake). She also composes her own music; her debut EP titled Prelude was released in 2011. Known as the hybrid harpist, Younger defies genres and labels, bringing a special versatility to the often forgotten instrument.

Brandee even recorded a song in support of Trayvon Martin. Purchase He Has a Name (Awareness, for Trayvon).

Here's a short video profile of the artist. 
I'm Brandee Younger. I'm a harpist based here in New York City, and I'm originally from Long Island. The Bible mentions harps and trumpets, so those are like the heavenly instruments, but sometimes we can not be so gentle. You have to ask God why it's my chosen instrument. I'm just doing what I'm here to do, but harp is interesting because it's an instrument that you have to make physical contact with in order to produce your tone. I think that that's cool. You're in complete control. Church was my introduction to music. I sang in the church choir and I took piano lessons early on. I don't think my church background -- I'm baptist -- I don't think it really reflects in my playing like I would want it to because after school I studied strictly classical and nothing else for so long that it took a lot time for me to even begin to break out of it. There have been plenty of jazz harpists, well not plenty, but Alice Coltrane, Dorothy Ashby, Casper Rearden. And here in New York I used to go out to clubs all the time and they used to say "Do you know Daphne Hellman." She was from New York and she used to play at the Village Gate. She used to play every Tuesday night. It was Daphne Hellman and Hellman's Angel's. I like to see whenever any harpist is doing something that's not just expected. Take your classical training and apply it to all different genres. Because so many of the jazz clubs have closed uptown. Any opportunity to do music there is a good one. I'm all for doing what you feel without feeling external feeling from what you think people think you should be doing. If you can take all your influences portrayed in your music, then I think you're doing the right thing. 

Watch her perform below:

Purchase her debut "Prelude" from iTunes.


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