Musical layers of intrigue

SINGER Sophie Brous has emerged as one of Melbourne’s finest new vocalists. She has performed in cities across Australia, in New York, London and Los Angeles, where she joined leading jazz singers in concert.

Brous recently launched an eponymous EP, Brous, leading with the track Streamers, a psychpop melody shimmering in old-world charm.

While the single is a trip into the peculiar, with the lyrics offering images of nymphs hanging from the air, Brous says she seeks to communicate issues of the day beneath the layers of mystical intrigue.

“That was me trying to express some levels of ambivalence with the way we relate to each other,” she said.

The five tracks on the EP journey to the romance of the female voices of 1950s jazz era.
Despite the self-titled EP, Brous is quick to acknowledge the many figures of the burgeoning Melbourne music scene who have collaborated and supported her.

She offers budding artists a platform at her shows, and creative friends from Melbourne production company Who By Fire a chance to film the starlet gonzo-style in the corners of a Melbourne pizza parlour.

After a month-long national tour late last year, Brous is now working on a new album, for which she has used Isaac Bashevis Singer’s The Slave as one source of inspiration.

Brous is the sister of Raphael Brous, 29, a student of law, neuroscience and immunology and author following the publication last year of his novel, I Am Max Lamm.

She points to her family as the source of their bubbling creativity and a Polish, Austrian and Czech ancestry that includes rabbis, doctors, painters and sculptors.

“I was brought up in a family where buying a CD wasn’t the end point of loving music or going to see a movie simply wasn’t enough … we were encouraged to interact with the things that we liked,” she said.

She was a student at King David School, then moved to Wesley College and studied music and law at the Victorian College of Arts. This was only a prelude to what would be colourful music education at the New England Conservatory in Boston.

Returning to her home base in Melbourne three years ago, Brous was quickly snapped up as the executive director of the Melbourne Jazz Festival – at 22 she was the youngest person to have filled the position.

“We take opportunities as they come. I jumped into it, loved it and learnt a great deal, but it was a central consuming presence in my life for the past three years and now, I have decided to give all of myself to my music,” Brous says.

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Photo of Sophie Brous