AMERICAN IDOL'S TRUE SWEETHEART: BROOKE BARRETTSMITH TALKS TO MUSICAL RAMBLINGS
When American Idol began this year, we met a pair of sweethearts. Brooke Barrettsmith and her sister Leah auditioned in Chicago, and when they opened their mouths they won the hearts of many of us across the fruited plain. Brooke especially stood out that night, and the early buzz about her was that she was a lock for the Top 24. A great many blogs and websites had already posted spoilers claiming that Brooke made it all the way to live shows where America would vote on her.
So it came as a shock to most of us when she was cut from the Top 44.
Still, out of the many thousands that auditioned, placing in that high rank is quite an honor, especially when you consider that she survived at least 3 rounds of initial cuts and 3 more rounds of cuts in Pasadena.
How is the talented Brooke Barrettsmith feeling after the end of her run in the competition? Brooke was nice enough to sit down with me and answer a few of my questions.
M.R.: What would we be the most surprised to know about you?
Brooke: I'm a total homebody!
M.R.: What was it like getting up on that stage in Hollywood everyday? What kind of thoughts were going through your mind?
Brooke: It was almost too surreal. I couldn't believe I was actually there the whole time! Before each time I sang, all I could muster up to pray was, "Dear Lord, please help me! And please don't let me trip and fall on my face!"
M.R.: You looked like you took it harder than your sister when Leah got cut. You girls must really be close, right?
Brooke: My sister is my best friend. I believe in her talent and her heart so much. We are each other's biggest fans for sure.
M.R.: Were there any contestants (other than Leah) that you got to know or got really close to? Any interesting stories?
Brooke: I became close friends with Mandisa. We still keep in touch, but that's all I can say for now! Sorry!
M.R.: Any chance you could just lie and say you're from Memphis, since about all we've had to represent us here are those terrible Brittenum twins? You didn't have to suffer through them at all, did you?
Brooke: I would love to represent Memphis! I LOVE Elvis! I mostly heard the Brittenum's from afar. Actually, EVERYONE listened to them from afar! I think we were afraid to get too close!
M.R.: What was your initial reaction when you finally made it down the "Green Mile" and the judges said you didn't make the Top 24?
Brooke: I was shocked at first, but then completely thankful for the experience and the great exposure. The opportunities I have now because of appearing on AI have been amazing for me so far!
M.R.: A lot of fans have talked about you on message boards and in blogs, and the general consensus (except for Jaded Journalist) seemed to be that everyone thought you were going through and wanted you to succeed. As the least trash-talked-about Idol contestant this year, what would you like to say to your fans who supported you?
Brooke: I LOVE YOU ALL! I am so thankful for each of you! This wouldn't be possible without your continued support, and I know you are with me no matter what. So let's make some rock n roll music, shall we?!?
M.R.: Any trash talkin' you'd like to do right now on fellow contestants or judges?
Brooke: (laughs) You already know me better than that J.D.
M.R.: So now that Idol is over for you, are we going to see Two4One get back together?
Brooke: My sister and I are currently pursuing solo music careers. But we are completely supportive of each other's endeavors.
M.R.: Is "Open Arms," your previous CD, still available anywhere?
Brooke: Yes it is. It will go back on sale online eventually, and you can currently purchase it at any of my live concerts.
M.R.: What does the immediate future hold for Brooke Barrettsmith?
Brooke: A LOT of solo/acoustic shows and new demos. Maybe a possible record deal?!? You'll have to keep checking back to my website! I am also singing and writing with former Two4One band members in their new band "Goodbye". Any show dates with the band will be posted on my myspace in the future.
M.R.: I've seen that you play guitar, but what other instruments do you play?
Brooke: I play acoustic and electric guitar and piano.
M.R.: You've been pretty outspoken about your Christianity. A lot of people seem to feel that being a Christian and a pop/rock star are irreconcilable. What do you think about that?
Brooke: I am a follower of Jesus. I will write, perform, and become whoever He wants me to be. God always works out the details. I don't see myself as a "rock star". I'm just a Christian musician that loves to rock out and share from the depths of my heart!
M.R.: Former Idol contestants like R.J. Helton and George Huff have made a respectable career in Christian Contemporary Music. Do you think that's the route you'll be taking?
Brooke: Yes. I am currently pursuing a recording career in the Christian Rock/Worship music genre.
M.R.: What projects, if any, are you currently working on?
Brooke: I am currently writing and recording more songs for my first solo album.
M.R.: Where can we catch you performing?
Brooke: My next appearance will be on Saturday, March 11th in my hometown of Spring Grove, IL. Everyone is welcome and it's free. All the other details are on my myspace.
M.R.: Better yet, where can we go to buy hundreds of copies of your CD at at time?
Brooke: (laughs) Not even I can do that yet!
M.R.: Do you have any advice for any American Idol hopefuls for next year?
Brooke: Be strong, practice singing like crazy, and surround yourself with people that will encourage you to endure in your times of doubt.
M.R.: Is Aaron, your boyfriend, like the luckiest guy in the world or what?
Brooke: Aww! It's the other way around! I'm the luckiest girl in the world! He has given me amazing strength and support through every musical journey I've been on. He is the greatest man I've ever known and I love him with all my heart!
M.R.: If you could tell America only one thing, what would it be?
Brooke: There really IS a unique purpose to why you exist. His name is Jesus, and YES He loves you! You don't have to live in despair, defeat or hopelessness anymore! John 3:16 says "For God loved the world in this way: He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life." Jeremiah 29:11 says "For I know the plans I have for you...plans for [your] welfare, not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope." And also take inspiration from the story surrounding John 14:6.
Brooke, you're a total sweetheart, and I can't wait to see what you do next. Musical Ramblings will be following your career, and we hope you'll continue to do well (and continue granting us exclusive interviews when you hit the top!)
If you'd like to sample Brooke's music, and you should, you can visit her at www.myspace.com/brookebarrettsmith or her official website at www.brookebarrettsmithmusic.com.
Photographs courtesy of Brooke Barrettsmith and Stuart Keisman Photography