Singer-songwriter Brooke Moriber’s first-ever onstage performance was as Young Cosette in the Broadway production of Les Misérables. Her mom’s best friend noticed her singing at one of her birthday party’s and suggested getting a manager to book auditions. “My mom was actually an actress and a singer herself and at first, her reaction was I really don’t want her to have to go through the kind of life I had and all the disappointments and all the ups and downs. But I begged my parents. I wanted it so badly,” she tells us. She sang over the phone for a manager who got her the audition for the show and she booked the gig. “It was my first job at 8 years old which is an unbelievably thrilling way to get started and I feel so blessed that that was my first experience as a professional performer.”
Moriber grew up in Greenwich Village across from Washington Square Park, she’s a New Yorker, born and raised. “I was exposed to every single kind of music you can name,” she says. Her parents played Billy Joel and Linda Ronstadt through their house. As she grew up, she fell in love with the music of Jennifer Nettles, Sheryl Crow, Shania Twain, and Sara McLaughlin.
She did onstage gigs through her childhood and into her teenage years but she knew she was meant for a different path. “I always wanted to be a recording artist. I always wanted to not just play a part and hide behind a character,” she explains.
When she was a teenager she was diagnosed with a rare eye disease that stole her eyesight for four years. “That’s when I started writing music because I had no other outlet. It became my best friend,” she tells us. The treatments were intense and painful and Moriber had to take chemotherapeutic drugs and high doses of steroids. The doctors insisted she takes the medications because if she didn’t, she could’ve gone completely blind. Realizing mom and dad couldn’t fix her problems, or the doctors, she clung to music as her sole companion. “It was four years of having to grow up really quickly,” she says.
One day, she went for a regular appointment and to the surprise of her doctors, Moriber’s eye disease went into remission. All of the doctors were confused; the disease normally plagues people for the rest of their lives. “I truly believed music is what healed me and what got me through it,” Moriber explains. She vividly remembers the day she could see again after having cataracts removed. “It felt like three-dimensional. I was in a taxi cab with my mom and I was hanging my head out the window just like, ‘Look at the trees!’ and seeing raindrops and street signs.”
Moriber currently splits her time between New York City and Nashville. “Everybody was always telling me, ‘With your sound and what you write about, you should really go to Nashville,’” she says. Moriber was hesitant about going to Nashville but she ended up falling in love with the music city as soon as she got there. “I felt welcome with open arms. From the first day that I was there, from the first co-write that I had, I realized that this was home. It felt right,” she exclaims. Moriber is adamant about how both cities have shaped her by stating, “New York made me a strong performer and someone who could handle the business and then I went to Nashville and I figured out who I was as an artist.”
Her debut single “Cry Like a Girl” came out in 2018. It was produced by Fred Mollin who had produced music for one of Moriber’s idols, Linda Ronstadt. “Working with him was so incredibly thrilling,” she says enthusiastically. She wrote the track with Billy Seidman, a fellow New Yorker. “I always feel like people think that showing any sign of emotion is a sign of weakness but the song is about how strong it is to just get it out, cry, and move on,” she explains. Moriber wanted to exude a sense of female empowerment with the message.
Over the pandemic, she continued honing in on her skills. She released “In It Together,” a relevant track with a suitable message for the year 2020. She wrote it at the very beginning of the pandemic. “I had just gotten off the plane from Nashville, gotten to New York right before the tornado hit Nashville, and the pandemic hit Manhattan,” she tells us. “It was like both of my hometowns were being ripped apart in different ways.” The song came about during her first songwriting session over Zoom and the recording ended up being completely homemade.
Moriber recently signed with Reviver Music and her first release as a Reviver artist is, “This Town Made Us” which was released on October 8th. “I wanted to write a song that embodied the spirit that I was seeing in both of what I consider my hometowns,” she says with obvious excitement. “I was devastated because of what was happening, but at the same time, I was so inspired by the strength and resilience that both Nashville and New York were showing. I felt so much hometown pride.” She infused the “Nashville strong” and “New York tough” mindsets into the lyrics.
A few minutes before the Zoom write that created the song, Moriber saw an article about New York City being “dead.” “It broke my heart and made me so incredibly angry.” She told her two co-writers, Bill DiLuigi and Cassandra Kubinski, that she wanted to write a song that would act as a reply to the article. “New York City doesn’t die. We are the definition of resilience. You break us down, we build it back up bigger, better, and stronger,” she states.
Right after their Zoom meeting, she knew that what they had created was something special. The track radiates a feeling of triumph as Moriber sings in the chorus, “We get stronger every time they break us / That’s the way this town made us / Raise us up, brick by brick / Built us tough, skin is thick / Say what you want, you’re gonna love us or hate us / But that’s the way this town made us.”
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