members do actually share a house together in south London, but that’s where the similarities between this new UK R&B group and the similarly named Channel 4 TV show end.
Comprised of three girls, Cherise (19), Dion (21), Nadia (22) and three boys Flawless (21), J-Rock (23) and Skillz (25), Big Brovaz unique theatrical fusion of hip hop and R&B is set to make them one of the most original UK R&B groups yet. Indeed, such are their talents that the band are already being talked about as the UK’s own answer to the likes of Outkast, Arrested Development and The Fugees.
Certainly, with their musicianship and emphasis on good time party vibes, particularly on stage, the group are a world apart from the myriad of gritty street orientated UK garage collectives which have formed in the wake of the So Solid Crew’s success. Big Brovaz debut single “Nu Flow” encapsulates their appeal totally, with its quirky waltz time beat providing a platform for the group’s six members to flex their skills both individually and together.
Big Brovaz were brought together by band member Skillz, one half of a budding South London production team, who already used the name Big Brovaz. “They called themselves that because they were always watching what was going on out on the streets,” says Flawless. This is hip hop with a twist, and not since the days of Soul II Soul has the collaboration between producer and band been such a force to be reckoned with in the UK.
The various members talents singing and rapping saw them asked by the Big Brovaz production team to feature alongside other underground London R&B/hip hop artists on a compilation album they were putting together called “Big Brovaz - Watching You”.
On the compilation album, rather than giving individual artists a track of their own, the producers decided to feature various artists on the same track. This soon created a unique sound and the chemistry between the different performers which worked so well that slowly Big Brovaz turned from a compilation album into a group, “We decided rather than having all these fragments we’d put it all into one group and named it after the production house that put us together,” says J Rock. Thus the Big Brovaz collective was formed.
Once out on the street “Big Brovaz - Watching You” compilation would cement the reputation of both producers and artists alike. Putting on live shows to promote the record, the album would eventually go on to sell over two thousand copies just on the street.
A track from the album featuring the West London R&B singer Cherise also came to the attentions of the organiser of the annual Mobo Unsigned talent competition. Asked to compete in the competition, Cherise walked away with the first prize.
Indeed, the tightly harmonised and arranged vocals of Cherise, Nadia and Dion are one of the defining elements of the Big Brovaz sound. Here, as in all aspects of the group, it’s the differences between the individual girls which create something new when put together. “It’s going to be different from other people because we all like different things and we’ll incorporate that all into one song,” says Dion, who grew up singing in Church and listening to among other things her parent’s collection of Country & Western.
Given the differences within Big Brovaz, the group’s forthcoming debut album will be a varied affair with a variety of different musical flavours: from the Latin feel of the song summertime to a rock edged track called Global. “We can vibe anything” says Nadia, confidently.
One of the group’s personal favourites is “Favourite Things”, a hip hop/R&B version of the famous song from the legendary musical The Sound Of Music. When their producers first put the idea of doing the track to the group they were dubious until they played them the backing track they had created. “Then soon as we heard that beat,” says Cherise. “it was like the biggest vibe that we’ve ever had. We just danced around the studio. It just felt great already. So then we just laid it down."
J-Rock thinks the group’s album will have a wide appeal. “The album is like a very worldly album. Everyone can get with it,” he explains. “I think different parts of the world will like it. Being that we’re from different parts of the world ourselves, we brought that to the table. So, for different people to get it will be the ultimate goal for us and then to be rewarded with a load of record sales – we’d be extra grateful.”
With innovative British artists such as Black Twang, Miss Dynamite and Mis-teeq already breaking through, the time is surely right for Big Brovaz, as well. “I think the doors really opening and we’re just slipping in at the right time,” says Cherise.