With memorable roles on TV hits “Desperate Housewives,” “True Blood,” “Necessary Roughness” and “Supergirl” under his belt, Mehcad Brooks has got a brand new bag. His debut Sony Red single, “Tears Away” is showing the heartthrob in a new light.
“I always loved music and understood that it is the most direct form of communication that we have as people,” said the Austin, Texas native who didn’t start singing until well into his acting career. “I remember being touched by movies and people’s performances but it was really Bob Marley. My mom would blast him like two or three times a week. I got this musical lesson by one of the greatest of all time who was actually saying something and in a beautiful way.”
Some really bad experiences, including a car accident that left him in a coma, and a murder in his family, moved Brooks to a personal truth — that his success as an actor wasn’t translating to his fulfillment or happiness.
“It made me realize that you really can’t [care] about what anyone thinks,” Brooks said. “And you really can’t [care] about what you think, if you really want to do something. Living your life to engage in the fulfillment of what you know your purpose is, that just makes you happy.”
He feels his music is not to be categorized but there is an unexpected soulful and folksy grit to Brooks’ sound that he describes as “a Gypsy vibe.”
“I go to Burning Man and it’s a big part of my life,” he said about one of his most beloved gatherings. “I want to bring cool spiritual consciousness and take it to the main stage.”
You’d think his popularity would have made the path to recording easier, but Brooks said it was quite the contrary.
“Everybody ripped me off,” he said candidly of the project seven years in the making. “[Producers and recording studios] saw this paycheck coming in the room. I went broke over this whole thing at a certain point in time. It was really tough, not just because I was taken advantage of, but also because of the amount of the intransigence or disbelief I got when I showed them what I was doing.”
“When you first start, you’re not great,” Brooks added. “There were times when I was paying people to help me produce music and sing and they would run out of the studio laughing. It hurt, but it’s really about looking at the roses above the rocks. So for me it wasn’t about December 2015. It was about where am I at in November 2017. I’m concentrating on the totality of who I am.”
ALL THE WAY UP: Rapper Remy Ma has signed a multimillion dollar deal with Columbia Records to release her first solo album since being released from prison three years ago.
Tasty Clips witnessed a fierce early morning set from the Bronx native just days prior at B.B. King Blues Club & Grill in Manhattan as part of a birthday party for hip hop pioneer Chuck Chillout. R&B singer Jaheim, DJ Red Alert, “Video Music Box” co-founder Ralph McDaniels, WBLS radio personalities Bugsy Bugs and Lenny Green, and DJs Funk Flex and De La Soul’s Maseo were among the many celebrants.
Ma gave testimony to learning about “fake family and fake friends” while incarcerated and was cool after an overzealous fan tugged at her a bit too hard. “If I fall down, I’m not going to bounce right back up like Beyoncé,” she cracked. A duet track with Lil Kim is said to be in the works.
DEEP DISH: Chef Mario Batali and his B&B Hospitality Group are making big moves in the coming weeks. Tasty Clips caught up with the restaurateur/TV star at his NYC eatery La Sirena, which like three of his other spots just received a coveted Michelin star for excellence.
The occasion was a gathering he called a “Family Meal,” that doubled as a fundraiser for those affected by the natural disasters in Mexico and Puerto Rico.
This weekend, Batali is opening Eataly L.A., a West Coast outpost of his popular food markets which celebrates regional Italian cuisine and local products. Afterwards, the star of ABC’s “The Chew” and Viceland’s “Moltissimo” has another project with the latter network that is mind blowing.
“I’m doing a show going into the kitchens of political figures to cook,” he revealed. Among the guests slated are the Clintons, Lady Gaga and Michelle Obama (with whom he created the Obamas final State Dinner menu), and — wait for it — Vladimir Putin!
CLIPPETTES: Danny Glover reprises his leading role in the Robey Theatre Company/East West Players revival of Philip Kan Gotanda’s “Yohen” directed by Ben Guillory through Nov. 19 at the Union Center for the Arts. Emmy award-winner June Angela co-stars in the interracial marital drama …
Ernie Hudson, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Glynn Turman, Art Evans, George Takei, Iona Morris, Wendy Raquel Robinson, Bill Duke and many other Inner City Cultural Center alumni host their 50th anniversary Awards Show & Celebration on Nov. 4 at the Nate Holden Performing Arts Center …
Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea, Jimmy Johnson and Donald “Duck” Dunn (posthumously) are to be honored at Bass Player LIVE! 2017 Nov. 4-5 with the participation of Alphonso Johnson, Andrew Gouche, Lee Sklar, Bunny Brunel, Steve Bailey and more at SIR Studios …
While the “Bad Boys” sequel remains in limbo, plans are moving forward to star Gabrielle Union in a NBC TV spin-off to continue her escapades as the Martin Lawrence character’s special agent sister …
ComplexCon opens at the Long Beach Convention Center for two days Nov. 4-5 with N.E.R.D., Gucci Mane, M.I.A., Young Thug, DJ Khaled, A$AP Ferg, Jalen Smith, J. Balvin, DRAM, Chloe X Halle and more …
Lionel Richie has acquired movie rights from the Curtis Mayfield estate for an upcoming biopic of the singer/composer …
Bootsy Collins celebrated his 71st birthday with the release of a new album “World Wide Funk” featuring guests Snoop Dogg, Musiq Soulchild, Doug E. Fresh, Stanley Clarke, Chuck D, Big Daddy Kane, Victor Wooten and the late keyboardist Bernie Worrell.
TC ON TV: Nov. 3 – “The Real” (Syn): “Brandy” cast reunion.
Nov. 4 – “Lavell Crawford: Home For The Holidays” (SHO): The comic returns to his hometown St. Louis for XXL laughs.
Nov. 5 – “The Real Housewives of Atlanta” (Bravo): Kim Zolciak returns to spar with NeNe, and Eva Marcille is new to the cast this 10th season. “The Girlfriend Experience” (Starz): Carmen Ejogo is featured as an abused former high-end escort in the Witness Protection Program. “SMILF” (Showtime): Raven Goodwin (“Being Mary Jane”) and Miguel Gomez (“The Strain”) are regulars in this new comedy series. “Xscape: Still Kickin’ It” (Bravo): A reality look at the comeback tour and tribulations.
Nov. 6 – “Independent Lens” (PBS): Denzel Washington narrates “Chasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary”
Nov. 7 – “Ellen” (Syn): Idris Elba, Maroon 5 “Big Freedia Bounces Back” (Fuse): In this hour-long season finale, some New Orleans drama threatens to ruin the performer’s rep and show before a big date in Las Vegas.
Nov. 9 – “Grey’s Anatomy” (ABC): Debbie Allen directs and has a role in this 300th episode. “The Late Late Show” (CBS): Gael Garcia Bernal, Jason Momoa
TASTY QUIP: “I can’t really worry about nuclear war any more than I can worry about the aliens coming. Everyday we’re here is an opportunity to do what we can to make the world right, to help someone close or far from us, to not get so hung up on what we can’t do, and remember what we can.” – Saxophonist KAMASI WASHINGTON to Pitchfork
As featured in the Los Angeles Wave and Independent, Tasty Clips is one of the leading entertainment newspaper columns on the West Coast, serving nearly one million weekly readers. To reach Bill Vaughan, send email to email@example.com or via Twitter @tastyclips.