Brighter Light Brigade is a music collective founded in 2020 by Amyliza de Jesus, who is a mom, music therapist, social worker, songwriter, and musician. As the collective evolves, it will feature a rotating roster of artists, whose intention is to create songs and music that connect, heal, and inspire.
Brighter Light Brigade's debut EP, Feel It All, was released on July 8, 2022 and features Amyliza de Jesus, Marla Vannucci, and producer extraordinaire Dean Jones.
Good vibes, fun melodies, and variety. You'll find all of that and more on a Brighter Light Brigade album. I dare you to listen to "I Lost It" or "Pancakes on a Sunday Morning" without tapping your toes and bopping your head. The grooves throughout this album are reminiscent of 70's R&B groups like The Doobie Brothers or The Spinners. I know this is children's music, but I could listen to these tunes on repeat without my kids around or throw them into any one of my 'grown-up' playlists and they would fit right in.
Brighter Light Brigade has done an incredible job of turning feelings and moments into songs. When you listen to their music, you are pulled right into the emotion of it and you're listening to a feeling. They capture a mood and pull you right in to live it with them and it's truly magical.
Congratulations on the release of your first projects with the Brighter Light Brigade, Traveling Together & Feel it All! 2022 has been a busy year for you! What inspired these projects and how did you manage to get them released in the same year?
We released “Kindness Is King” in late 2020, and it generated some interest on what might be next for Brighter Light Brigade. My co-writer on that song (dear friend Marla Vannucci) and I knew we wanted to collaborate more in the future, and this interest lit a fire to write and record more tunes. Since we’re both mental health professionals, we knew we wanted to write songs from that angle - for families to enjoy and spark conversations about socio-emotional health. When we recorded the songs with Dean Jones in the summer of 2021 (13 total), we weren’t sure if they were going to be released as a whole album or 2 EPs. 8 Pound Gorilla Records helped us decide to release them as two projects during the summer of 2022, anchored by our two summer singles, “See You in the Summertime” and “Goodbye Summer.”
Your background in music therapy shines through in your songwriting and the themes that you showcase in your music. Do you find inspiration from other areas as well?
I think it’s really easy to find inspiration from my son, my perspective as a parent, and general life experiences as well. “See You in the Summertime” was inspired by the pandemic, “Kindness Is King” was inspired by the state of the world / divisiveness in 2019, “I Lost It” was inspired by the death of my mom in 2020, “Rufus the Rooster” was co-written with a music therapy client reminiscing a funny family story, and “Different” was co-written with a local elementary school student - her lyrics were so powerful, and I was inspired to put music to them. Marla is a clinical psychologist, and I know she also draws from her own family and from the families she works with.
You've worked with quite a few artists already! How do you choose who you are going to collaborate and create with?
Marla was a natural pick for this first Brighter Light Brigade project, as she was my very first bandmate! “Kindness Is King” was actually written by us as a co-writing exercise for a songwriting retreat hosted by Thinking Outside the Blocks… so BLB really unfolded in an organic way. I’d previously worked with Dean Jones on Keep On (the joint album I did with Little Miss Ann), so we reached out to him to produce “Kindness Is King,” and he really knocked it out of the park! (Especially with us working on it virtually over the pandemic.) It was a no-brainer for him to produce the other songs we’d written once they were ready to be recorded. I think Dean has an intuitive sense about the direction the songs should go - and he’s such a joy to record with in the studio. He keeps it really fun and inspiring - Marla and I truly felt like we’d gone away to summer camp :) As for looping in Mista Cookie Jar, Dean had recently worked with him for another project and suggested him for the “See You in the Summertime” rap - he was such a perfect fit. For future projects, I envision collaborating with artists who have a similar mission with their music and interest to see where our collective music strengths might take us…!
Pancakes on Sunday Morning is a total JAM! Love it! When you are working on a new song, how do you know when it's finished and ready to be shared with the world?
Pancakes is my jam, too!!! Marla actually wrote this song on the plane on the way to Dean’s studio, and finished it during our “camp” week! I really love it so much. Knowing we’ve gotten to where we want to be with a song is really a collaborative effort. Marla and I can get really detail-oriented when it comes to listening to mixes / getting them ready for mastering… and Dean is so great at helping us see the big picture / figuring out when something’s at a good stopping point / ready to be released. So I chalk that one up to our producer :)
What's up next for Brighter Light Brigade?
In 2023, I hope to play more local shows here in Nashville, and I hope to release a single or two as well. Marla and I have talked about more collaboration ideas, and we’re also both excited to explore other partnerships too - maybe together and also individually. Stay tuned!
What music are you listening to at home when you're not making your own?
Lately, I’ve been listening to Questlove and Norah Jones’ podcasts, which have led me down some rabbit holes of artists’ catalogs (e.g. Judee Sill, as well as revisiting everything A Tribe Called Quest - my absolute all-time favorite hip hop group). I also saw some great shows towards the middle-to-end of 2022 and am still flying high by listening to those artists’ respective albums: Santigold, Danielle Ponder, Tuba Skinny, and Too Many Zooz. Marla tells me she’s been listening to Steve Lacy, and she’s loving how he pulls together old and new sounds in a really engaging way. Otherwise, she’s listening to whatever her newly minted teenager puts on - he does not relinquish control - but she gets to hear artists she wouldn’t have found on her own. Through YouTube, my son has discovered 80s Saturday morning commercials, and it’s been fun to revisit those iconic jingles from my childhood.