01 Jul Meet Performing Artist, Anitra Brooks!
What do you love to do with your children? How old are they? And what is your greatest wish for them?
I have two sons: Zafran is 5 and Indi is 7 months old. With Zafran I love to beat-box (vocal percussion) while he freestyles (makes up songs) about his toys over my beat. I am always astonished by what he can create and I just love to watch how he expresses himself through dance! We always have a blast making and listening to music together- it’s totally our “inside” experience where we really connect. Since Indi is so new to this world, he usually just enjoys watching and listening to whatever Zafran and I do together. My greatest wish for both of them is that they learn to use the power of their minds and voices to create the life they want for themselves. I also want for them to always know that they possess all of the answers to their questions; I want for them to always feel connected to the universe, to discover what they are passionate about and to make a career AND a lifestyle on that path, and to do whatever they choose to do with confidence and integrity.
When and where are you the happiest?
When I’m eating a peach pie from March Farms, sitting in front of a fire, in the recording studio, and whenever I hear sincere belly-laughs from my boys.
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?
So many places! I’d go back to New Zealand – where my husband and I honeymooned – but with my whole family. I’d go to Brazil to study music and play percussion all day. I’d go to Malta just because it’s beautiful and because Popeye was filmed there.
What quality do you most admire in a mother? And what woman has had the biggest impression on you?
I admire moms who have intuitive ferocity when it comes to protecting their children. Not in a sociopathic, enabling-bad-behavior way – more like a mama bear who is present to sniff out danger and be ready to defend her family but still lets her cubs learn experientially how to be bears. It’s a delicate balance. I deeply admire women/mothers who are confident with using their intuition to sense when something is/isn’t right and who are fearless about asking questions. The woman who has had the biggest impression on me is without a doubt my mother. I wish I had a less cliché answer, but the truth of it is that there just ain’t another woman like her. Linda Butts Brooks Miller is a one-of-a- kind, no-nonsense, whip-smart, solid chick with chutzpah for days. She expects nothing less than excellence in all areas of her life, and gets it.
What is your favorite book? Movie?
My favorite books are Philip Pullman’s saga “His Dark Materials” : Northern Lights (aka The Golden Compass), The Subtle Knife and The Amber Spyglass. All three books are mind-blowing, but if I had to choose one of the three it would be The Subtle Knife. As for movies, I can always watch the Lord of the Rings trilogy and never get enough. I can only choose my favorite of the three by the role a certain song played: at the end of Two Towers, as Frodo and Sam head toward Mordor with Gollum taking up the rear, a beautiful song sung by Emiliana Torrini begins. It is called “Gollum’s Song”, and its haunting tune, lonely truth, and the words “you are lost, you can never go home” tug at my heart every time! Another movie I cannot leave out is the brilliant Jim Henson’s The Dark Crystal, a movie that didn’t do so great at the box office in 1982 but changed my life at age 7. Because of this wonderful and under-appreciated piece of artistry, I became a lover of fantasy, and later became a puppeteer.
What personal achievement are you most proud of?
My music! I have enjoyed a professional acting career for over 15 years, but it’s the creation of my music that I am most proud of. I am blown away every day that just one thought in my head can blossom into a fully-orchestrated song that can be accessed by anyone. Most of the songs I have written have introduced themselves to me in my dreams, and upon waking send me scurrying through my nightstand drawer for my voice recorder. So it’s especially pleasing to me to see what my subconscious mind is capable of. Also, creating my website was a huge accomplishment for me since my artist-self tends to resist the marketing part of having a music career! You can visit www.anitrabrooksmusic.com to purchase my songs, get updates on my shows, listen to new music and see photos of performances.
What do you feel is your strongest talent?
Making miracles with my voice, whether it’s giving life to the characters in the books I read my children, toning and chanting during my morning meditation routine, doing a voice-over for a commercial ad, teaching others to sing or making my own songs. It’s all music, and music is miraculous. We were all blessed with the gift of a voice and I love what I can do with mine. Alongside my music-making, I am also a holistic vocal coach. My mission is to get everyone to discover the power of their own voices whether it be for singing, speaking or for healing. I see giving voice lessons as an opportunity to illuminate how the breath, the body and the mind are all connected, and that the entire body is an instrument, not just “the voice”. Singing is the birthright of every human being and I want musicians and non-musicians alike to embrace that. My company is called SoundSpa (www.soundspa.org) and I offer private vocal coaching for children and adults, and lead vocal improvisation workshops.
What do you like to do for fun?
Cuddle up with my husband and kids on the couch with a veggie pizza from Arcuri’s and watch Property Brothers on HGTV. And I love to hike, especially in the Northwest corner of Connecticut.
What is your favorite time of the day and why?
Sunset to twilight. Usually around 7:30pm in May and June. It’s just so gorgeous: the birdsong, the scent of the flowers, the warmth and thickness of the light. It’s like the Autumn of the day; the world’s swansong.
Where is your favorite place to go out in Greenwich? And what do you like to drink?
I love to eat at Le Pain Quotidien because I LOVE THE WAFFLES!!! Also Crumbs for the S’mores cupcake (I love baked goods). And of course Little Thai Kitchen. I don’t have a favorite drink other than water from my Kleen Kanteen.