FB: Johnny Brooks II
Nothing unusual or amazing seems to be going on in the Nation’s Capital today, except there is….
Downtown, inside the Warner Theatre, rehearsal is taking place for a dynamite show featuring Gladys Knight. However, the reason why I find myself in these historic, hallowed halls is not for Gladys, but for her background singer and newly discovered talent.
Enter Avehre – a native Chicagoan who possesses an appreciation for music and old soul well beyond his young age of 27. In talking with him, I see vibrancy not usually possessed by someone just breaking out on the solo scene. A great deal of this spirit comes from the rich musical tapestry of his hometown that the singer-songwriter describes as a training ground for musicians. Beginning his journey in church singing with his family and local choirs, Avehre knew music was the career for him. As he describes it, music was “a great outlet for him” and “the universal language” to express feelings and emotions.
“You can get so much from other genres and apply it to your music to give it a different flavor.” This statement also bodes true when it comes to his love of songwriting, gaining the interest from being a poet and touring with a spoken word troupe called “Verbal Remedies”. It was here that the father of one learned how to speak his truth and put it in its most raw and authentic form. That truth would be spoken for artists such as Lil Mo, Dawn Richard of Danity Kane and Dirty Money, and even his mentor Gladys Knight through the song “Just a Little” which debuted on VH1 and BET Black Girls Rock earlier in the year.
Authenticity, quality, and truth are recurring themes that ring in my mind when hearing him; it’s the seasoned poise and passion for his craft that has him generating a buzz since being discovered by the legendary Ms. Knight. The encounter, as Avehre would tell it, almost didn’t happen. Avehre stated he received an inquiry for a male backup singer for Gladys Knight. He never saw himself as a possible candidate for the job so so he reached out to his colleagues to see if they were interested. When the response wasn’t immediate from his peers it was then that the artist threw caution to the wind and decided to submit his own material. The submission would lead to an audition, which would lead to more auditions, which would lead to singing backup and apprenticing with one of the most world renowned singers; a tutelage that Avehre is truly grateful for and uses as his creative muse.
Realness and vulnerability is what Avehre aims to convey in his upcoming EP, “Reconciliation”, a body of work that the singer himself describes as one of self-discovery, honesty, forgiving yourself, finding your way back to happiness, and standing for truth. This is heard in his latest single “Diamonds” a catchy track that details the pitfalls of putting materialism over love. “What’s from the heart, reaches the heart” as he tells me. If his offerings so far are an indicator of what’s to come then we should all look forward to getting more acquainted with Avehre.
Check out more of him at www.iamavehre.com and on IG and Twitter at @avehre