'Welcome Table', would be the first song in the soundtrack of my life,” says Josephson, “It’s an African American spiritual, my mom taught me when I was little. I still have a recording she made of me singing it when I was maybe 4 years old. She bought an old upright piano at a garage sale for $200 and found a local piano teacher so I could take lessons and I started singing at school and in church when I was about five. My mom meant well, but she was a child herself when she got married and had my older brother and I right away and then became a Christian shortly after. She was obsessed with raising us on a diet of church and censorship, so music became my life raft."
Brooke’s first encounter with "secular music" was at a classmate's Birthday party, when she heard Madonna’s, “Material Girl.” "It was like a drug. I actually missed out on the cake, trying to memorize the entire song before my mom picked me up. I didn't know then that the sound I was so drawn to was less about Madonna and really the work of Nile Rodgers. I've become a big fan of his." After that party, Brooke started finding ways to get her hands on anything other than Classical or Christian music. “At one point, my mom even took DC Talk’s ‘Jesus Freak’ album away cause my older brother and I had been playing it so much and it sounded too, I don’t know, ‘worldly,’ I guess.” Josephson would get her fix at track or basketball practice or on the school bus, “friends and teammates would hook me up with mixtapes and I’d lock myself in my room listening to U2, Springsteen, Tom Petty, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Annie Lennox, Beck, The Pretenders, Alanis Morissette, Green Day, The Cranberries, Aerosmith, you name it.”
She quickly discovered a love for babysitting, “cause when the kids would be napping I could watch MTV, which we didn’t have and I’ll never forget the moment I saw Nirvana’s ‘Teen Spirit,’ and the sudden rush that ran through my body and I just burst into tears, cause I was struggling with the constant push pull of being 'the good girl’ that’s got it together, when I was falling apart inside processing the anger and confusion over the truth about my family’s double life, where we would slide into our church pew on Sundays like the All American, ‘Leave It To Beaver’ Christian Family, and as soon as we would get in the car to drive home, my parents were either picking up where they left off mid fight on the way there, or no one spoke, and it was pretty much a roller coaster of fighting til the following Sunday. I tried to talk to one of my best friends during that time, and she wouldn’t believe me, she thought I was making it up; we had gotten so good at the show.”
Her parents eventually separated while she was in high school and music became even more of an escape. “My mom broke out her ‘pre Jesus day’ Vinyls and would belt along with Carole King, Carly Simon, Joni Mitchell, James Taylor, The Eagles, Harry Chapin, and Simon and Garfunkel, as therapy, which I guess made it okay, even though we would still get grounded if we got busted listening to U93, which was the KIIS FM of northern Indiana. To this day when I hear those artists, I have this visual burned in my mind of her with her old record player and how cathartic their music was for her. While she dealt with the ‘D Word’ in her way, my Dad just buried himself in work, and I started singing in the church worship team and getting into the school musicals to disappear, not only into the music, but in a character, which was a safer place emotionally than being at home. My poor brothers suffered through our mom in the basement singing with her Vinyls, while I was practicing ‘The Music Man’ or my songs for service on Sunday."
Brooke’s parent’s philosophy on college was, “graduate high school and good luck.” So she worked to earn a scholarship for Vocal Performance, and ironically ended up at a Christian College, where she had the opportunity to perform ‘Handel’s Messiah’ with her college choir at Carnegie Hall in New York City and toured to Northern Ireland and throughout the midwest with the all girls Contemporary Christian group, “Agape.” "But after three years of trying to find my way through a bubble of judgement and politics in the name of Jesus, I eventually dropped out a year early. I didn’t have a plan, I just knew there was something more, something real outside of that scene. I moved off campus and picked up extra shifts at Starbucks.”
Within two months she got a call from “The Round Barn Theatre” and signed her first professional theatre contract. “My boyfriend at the time, was a youth pastor, and bless his heart, he would wait outside after the shows and tell me I was ‘living in sin by acting,’ we eventually broke up." Once her contract ended she made the move from Indiana to New York City, where most of her fellow cast mates were from. “Somehow I survived living on a sketchy block of Harlem where I was nicknamed ‘Snowflake.’ I didn’t think twice about the occasional gun shots, rats, crack whores and drug dealers under the stoop. I was desperate to move on and too busy juggling jobs between shows to make rent."
She was exposed to more than just Sondheim during those years. “The Jamaican tenants on the first floor had these window sized, Herc Style speakers that pumped old school hip hop and reggae that created a vibe on the street that made whatever bad business was going down, seem almost cool, while my next door neighbor’s walls would compete by blasting southern gospel at random hours to mask her cookin’ meth, and then there was me, this mid-western white girl, rehearsing for auditions and gigs, it’s truly a miracle I not only didn’t get clipped, but they actually accepted me.”
After pounding the pavement for 6 years, she landed the job of Amy Adams’ stand-in on the Disney film “Enchanted”. “I saw that job as my chance to finally have health insurance for the first time on my own. I was a big ‘do not disturb’ sign on set; headphones on, with my nose buried in a book, or writing between takes.” But during the course of filming, she met her husband and her life took another turn.
From the outside looking in, Brooke’s life appeared to be an “Enchanted”, Harlem to Hollywood story, but the next challenge she had to face was being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s Disease after her daughter was born. “The world around me was playing out like a movie, but my symptoms made me feel like I was trapped inside my own body.”
She once again turned to music.
Brooke’s vocal coach encouraged her to produce a one-woman show, “Living Proof” to a packed crowd at ROOM 5 in LA, CA where she shared her life through songs by other artists. After her very intimate performance, Brooke was approached by several people in the crowd who were moved by her transparency. “People thought the songs were mine and wanted to know if they could buy a CD. And that’s when I knew it was time to record my own songs.”
For two years Brooke dedicated herself to completing the Berklee School of Music Masters in Songwriting Program and dove into the studio shortly after to self release, a piano rock driven debut EP, "Live and Let Live", featuring her single, “No for an Answer.”
Josephson shares, ‘Live and Let Live’ was my first attempt, I’ve definitely grown more than I anticipated in the past couple of years," She smiles, “I have to laugh that I envisioned recording my second EP while pregnant with our son, but 9 months of migraines set me straight.” She pauses, “Ya know, as insane as it sounds, I’m actually thankful I didn’t get my way, because a whole new set of songs and a new sound came out of what I’d call the, ‘meetin’ what I’m made of' phase. It certainly wasn’t fun at times, but it was all worth it. I’ve found that every setback just magnifies what matters. I’m madly in love with my kids and blessed to have a partner as passionate about parenting and my growth as an artist.”
Brooke is currently in the studio, set to complete her sophomore EP in 2017.