The SoulBounce Q&A: The Brand New Heavies’ Dawn Joseph On Joining The Group, ‘Sweet Freaks’ & What’s Coming Next

The Brand New Heavies Sweet Freaks Shoot

SB: The Brand New Heavies are world renowned for their live shows, and you said you guys just came off tour in Japan. So will the group be touring  to support this new project and, if so, where and when will you all be hitting the road?

DJ: We’re just putting together a Sweet Freaks tour for the early part of next year, but we’ve still got a few dates this year. We’re doing Tony Blackburn’s -- he’s reviving his Soul Night Out he used to do back in the day, so we’re doing that and we’re also playing Jazz Cafe three nights in December [December 15th, 16th and 17th]. We do some of the new material in that, but like I said, next year is when we do a proper Sweet Freaks tour in definitely the UK and Europe. And we really wanna come to North America, it’s just the feasibility of it, you know.

SB: What is your personal favorite Brand New Heavies song to perform?

DJ: It’s a toss up between “Sometimes” and “Stay This Way.”

SB: I looooove “Stay This Way.” It’s one of my favorites.

DJ: [laughs] It’s such a great song. I love it.

SB: Okay, so hypothetically your iPod or your iPhone has run out of space and you can only fit one Brand New Heavies album on there, which one would it be?

DJ: I should be saying Sweet Freaks [laughs]. But I would put on Shelter.

SB: And why Shelter?

DJ: I just love Siedah Garrett’s vibe. She’s possibly one of the best songwriters of this time, and I love her vocals and it’s such a solid album. It sounds so expensive as well and it’s packed with such great songs and, I just love that album. It’s fantastic.

SB: I’m actually gonna have to steal “sounds so expensive.” That’s a perfect description. I love that.

DJ: It does. And it was expensive! [laughs] It’s just really solid. You know when you get albums now, you can choose which songs you want to download, but even if you have that choice, you want the whole album. I don’t get that often. I had that with Anita Baker’s Rapture. It’s one of my favorite albums because every track is a monster, you know.

SB: What else is coming up on the Brand New Heavies schedule?

DJ: We’re constantly talking about what sort of video we should make because “Sweet Freeek” over here is the single, and whether we should do some clever, fancy video. But we sort of like the video we did for “I Love It,” and I did another video for “Sledgehammer.” And I think that people like to see that, this natural side of artists, rather than something that’s scripted and acted. That’s all very nice, but I know when I was growing up and watching videos, I was obsessed with Live Aid. My mum bought the VHS and the making of video and the behind the scenes at Wembley -- that was my favorite bit. And still to this day, I can watch any concert, no matter who it is, Britney Spears or whoever, and I just love watching everything behind the scenes.

SB: And being that this is SoulBounce, we always ask this question. What makes your soul bounce?

DJ: I always say I’m a sucker for a good melody and I love a good vocal. Being a vocalist, a vocal has to speak to me. I remember when I first heard Mariah Carey’s “Vision of Love,” and thinking, “Wow!” I haven’t had that soft feeling since I first heard Whitney and I don’t think there will ever be another Whitney Houston. And then when I heard Mariah, and seeing what she looked like. She was really sort of girl next door and it made me -- because I grew up on a tiny island called Jersey -- and it made me believe that perhaps there’s a chance that I can make it because she was a girl next door. So a great vocal that touches me. And I don’t think you get that often enough these days. There are so many great, amazing, talented singers out there, but there aren’t many great artists that touch you, and as you say, make your soul bounce. I think Whitney, Aretha Franklin, Anita Baker, Ella Fitzgerald, Gladys Knight -- they are the people that I can have on shuffle all day.


Sweet Freaks is in stores in the UK now and will be released in the US on November 24th.

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