BY JULIA CIRIGNANO
Erinn Brown is living proof that if you work hard enough you can become a successful musician. Singer/songwriter Brown has released three records with The Erinn Brown Band: Road Signs To The Sun, Don’t Forget About It and Ruled My Life with The Erinn Brown Band. She currently plays gigs around her hometown of Salem, Mass., and also teaches private music lessons to a variety of different age groups.
Brown is a gifted musician herself yet she still loves teaching private home and studio lessons, private lessons at Endicott College in Beverly, Mass, and will soon be teaching the Modern Band Project at Endicott. She is beyond happy with her current musician career. She loves being part of both the Salem music scene and the Endicott College community.
Brown attended Berklee College of Music where she majored in Professional Music with a concentration in Performing and Songwriting. She uses many of the skills she learned there when she teaches music lessons and also when she writes her own music.
Brown has been teaching private music lessons for younger kids for eighteen years and teaching at Endicott College for over five years. At Endicott, she teaches piano, guitar and voice lessons.
“I started working there because the music and arts program decided they wanted to implement private lessons as an option for students,” Brown explained. “I was asked if I wanted to teach there privately. It was exciting for me to get involved in that because it’s a different level. I had been teaching little kids so it’s nice to have the adult students.”
After being part of the Endicott College community for such a long time, Brown was recently asked to teach the Modern Band project at Endicott for the Spring 2017 semester. During these fifteen weeks, she will be helping several students form a band and prepare for live performances on campus.
“I was just asked to fill in this coming semester to teach a class which I’ve never done before,” Brown said. “I’m really excited about it and I’m really nervous.”
Brown fits perfectly into the Endicott community, especially the performing arts family. She looks forward to her new, additional role within the community.
“I feel very lucky to be part of it. I think it’s a really neat program,” she said. “The people who I have been working with there are creative and fun and thoughtful. I feel a good sense of community and that’s comforting.”
Brown has been pursuing her own music with The Erinn Brown Band for over ten years. She plays many local venues with her band and also as a trio, duo, and solo act. Brown has grown both through her experience teaching and her work with her band.
“The Erinn Brown Band with all the different musicians has been inspiring to me,” she said. “I will always appreciate their input. It’s similar in the way I’ve grown with my teaching. I’m always learning from other people.”
Brown has worked with many different local musicians, yet her current band consists of Steve Peabody on drums, Sven Larson or Bryan Sheehan on bass, Randy Leventhal on lead guitar, and Brown on rhythm guitar and lead vocals. Brown has known Peabody the longest and talked about how he became part of the band.
“I worked with my drummer in college,” she said. “We were in an ensemble together and we wound up taking a couple classes together. We were good friends.”
While Brown and Peabody drifted apart after graduation, he ended up finding her on MySpace in 2005.
“At that time, the drummer I had been working with had just passed away so it was perfect timing for Steve to contact me; both as a good friend and being supportive and also he’s a great drummer,” Brown explained.
Brown’s work within her band is very near and dear to her heart. Her music is personal since her writing is so raw and honest. Brown has been a writer her whole life whether she is writing for herself or songwriting. While themes such as relationships may have first inspired her writing, she has also pushed her some towards more mature and controversial topics.
“I think I wrote mostly about my relationships in the beginning then expanded,” Brown explained. “Relationships are always a big part of my writing but I tried to, I mean didn’t necessarily try it just came out, but to be more political and socially aware in my writing. On my second record I wrote a song called ‘And In The End’ and that was very driven by the politics at the time. Feeling a split between political parties and others, kind of what’s going on these days.”
Brown has always written music that is very real and true to herself, to the point where she sometimes finds it hard to sing her own lyrics. She only writes about events and feelings which she has experienced, so recording and performing these songs can sometimes be very emotional for her.
Brown is currently working on some songs for a new record with various political themes. Keep your eye out for a new Erinn Brown Band record that will hoping be coming out in 2017. Brown has also written some songs with her drummer Peabody which she said will definitely be on the new record.
While Brown is dedicated to her band, she sometimes plays shows as a solo act, and some as a trio. She also plays many shows with her guitarist/boyfriend Randy Leventhal. No matter what the setup, Brown loves the community of musicians and friends she has acquired since moving to Salem.
“We play at In The Pig’s Eye in Salem frequently. It’s like a second home to me,” Brown explained. “When I first moved up this way, I first started playing guitar in front of people at this place. Before, I was a singer who just fronted bands. The Pig’s Eye was always a place that I enjoyed going to and hanging out with people there. Of course, the clientele changes but it always feels comfortable there and it’s really nice to feel that comfort with my friends; my best friend Randy on guitar and my friend Steve on drums.”
Brown plays at many other venues around the Salem area. While many of them are now closed, she still enjoys playing at Brodie’s Seaport since they have a big enough stage for her whole band to perform. She also plays at many venues in Somerville, such as Sally O’Brien’s.