Brittany Butler is a r&b/jazz/pop singer-songwriter/musician. At the age of nine she met and sang with the pianist for Saturday Night Live, a Berklee alum. At his suggestion, she auditioned for Berklee City Music and received a scholarship at age 11. Brittany even toured with the City Music Rock Ensemble through four cities. Most recently, Brittany was a contestant on NBC’S The Voice. Her blind audition got both Gwen Stefani and Pharrell Williams to turn their chairs, and she ultimately chose to join Pharrel’s team. While on the show, Brittany received a coaching session with Alicia Keys.
Berklee City Music reached out to Brittany and asked her to discuss her experience both with City Music and The Voice:
When did you first get involved with Berklee City Music?
I first got involved with City Music when I was about 11 years old. I went through the mentoring program, the high school academy, and was eventually awarded a full tuition scholarship to the college through City Music. I first found out about the program at age 9 by Tuffus Zimbabwe, a Berklee and City Music alum that I met when he was performing with a trio at the Hyde Park Library. I remember I couldn’t wait to be old enough to audition!
What about City Music has been most effective in your music training?
I think the ensembles, and theory classes have been most effective in my music training! The ensembles helped me to become so much more comfortable performing with a band. And, I was able to apply what I learned in my theory classes to the work we were doing during rehearsals. It made it so much easier to follow along with lead sheets and whatnot and figure out melodies instead of just sitting there kind of unsure of myself.
How has your experience with Berklee helped prepare you for The Voice?
My experience with Berklee has been completely invaluable. I’ve been involved with Berklee now for half of my life, and it’s helped to shape me into the performer and artist I am today. I consider myself to be a much more knowledgeable vocalist and musician today, which I think made my time on The Voice a lot smoother and more enjoyable. I learned a great deal of vocal technique through Berklee/City Music, I ended up not being as worried about the technical aspects of my performances as I thought I would be. Because of that, I felt like I was able to enjoy the moment better!
The work I did in ensemble classes helped so much, because I got to work with The Voice band, who’s members are some of the most incredible musicians in the business. The Drummer actually happened to be a Berklee alum! So, that was cool! Like, I mentioned before, those ensembles really helped me feel more confident during band rehearsals for the show. I was able to communicate my ideas clearly with the band, and I just think it helped everything to jell better overall!